Leadership Spotlight - Dr. Myra Forrest

leadership Mar 21, 2023

Dr. Myra Forrest is the Education Advocate for the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. In her role, she advocates for educational funding equity for underfunded school districts, with special focus on Pottstown School District. Myra also advocates for both health and racial equity in the Pottstown Community.

Myra is active in several community organizations and serves as the Board Chair of the Pottstown Hospital, and the Chair of the Advisory Council for the Pottstown Campus of Montgomery County Community College which focuses on education but also on partnerships and has three subcommittees that are working on early college dual enrollment, the Challenger Learning Center, and Workforce Development. Myra is also a part of the Pottstown Ministerium which is an opportunity for Pottstown Clergy to come together.

A big part of Myra’s involvement in organizations includes facilitating partnerships and collaboration.

One example of that collaboration is the recent Community Connections Conversations on Wellbeing that were hosted by Creative Health Services, Pottstown Hospital Tower Health, and the Pottstown Ministerium. The collaboration was based on a need identified in the community to provide education and resources dedicated to mental health and wellbeing.

I had the opportunity recently to hear Myra share her incredible leadership journey of courage and resilience. I can say, if you’ve never heard her share a walkthrough of her career and professional experiences, I highly encourage you to connect with her, it’s a fascinating journey with tremendous examples of the importance of building trust, empathy, valuing people, and building relationships.

She has such a depth of experience at putting leadership into action, I asked Myra, how she learned about Leadership and she said through a combination of things, her parents were actively involved in community organizations and she was used to seeing her father in leadership roles including serving as President of several organizations, he was very much a role model for her.

Myra said, “Then when I started in my career, I watched people carefully. I learned what not do to by watching people and seeing what I didn't care for in their leadership style. I’ve also always enjoyed leadership books and attended conferences, throughout my career. So I guess it's a combination of all those different things that I've done through my life. And I did have a wonderful mentor, Dr. Frank Heifer, who was superintendent of Pottstown School District. He was an excellent leader and I learned a lot from watching him.”

Then I asked Myra what the biggest lesson is she’s learned on her leadership journey and she said, “If you ask someone's opinion then it’s important to really take what they say into consideration. If you’re not planning to pay attention to what they say, then don’t ask.“

The final question I asked Myra is what the biggest challenge has been on her leadership journey, and she said,

“The biggest challenge was when I had my job as superintendent and I needed to stick with the values I had and move forward with what I believed was right because I was a sworn officer of the state - and not doing what the people who had hired me or who were voted into office wanted me to do. You know in education you have 9 bosses. So to me, that was probably the biggest challenge. Sticking with what I knew was true and right and moral and not moving away from that no matter how much pressure there was.”

As a follow up, I asked Myra if it can be lonely sometimes as a leader, especially when you need to make difficult decisions, and she said, “Absolutely!” and shared the importance of having a trusted network of family or peers to be able to connect with.

Such valuable insight and so much that we can learn from Myra, from the incredible experiences she's had and from the important work that she does day in and day out to positively impact the lives of others!

If you’d like to connect with Myra, you can reach her at: [email protected]

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