By Laura Andersen, LeadingX2

If you are reading this email, you know Dan Mulhern. Well, maybe you know Danno, First Gentleman of Michigan, Dan the Man, so-and-so’s father/brother/spouse/son/friend, or just Mulhern. However you know this guy, today I invite you to celebrate him as Professor Mulhern, Distinguished Teaching Fellow at one of the best business schools in the world.

Out of over 250 professors and lecturers, the Berkeley Haas undergraduates chose Professor Mulhern for the Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching this academic year. The online academic year. The online for the first time in his Baby Boomer life academic year. Amazing!

While it is actually the second time that Dan has won the Cheit Award, this year feels special. This award comes after a year of adaptation and Zoom straining to fully “show up” for his students – from his head to his collarbones – and be an excellent online professor.

To quote Dr. Maya Angelou, I’ve learned that ‘making a living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.’ Dan has made a living in public service and teaching, but he has made a life of showing up. Whether it is to listen, counsel, affirm, teach, learn or re-engage in a courageous conversation, Dan is motivated by love to be there and stay there for those around him. His presence as a professor is no exception. In the words a few of the students who nominated Dan:

  • “Dan involved me in several research opportunities after knowing about my experience in Data Science, and I find that he constantly does this with others to provide them opportunities through him and his connections.”
  • “Most of all, I consider Dan to be a mentor, spiritual guide, and genuine friend. Some time ago, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and was sent to the emergency room. With my family frozen in turmoil, I wrote an email to Dan asking for advice. He replied promptly, setting up a call offering advice on how I can employ leadership to guide my family through this turbulent time. It is with this in mind that I believe that Dan is an invaluable asset among the Haas community and my highest recommendation for this award.”
  • “Even though he doesn’t have to, [Dan] sets up weekly check-ins with international students to make sure that he is well-acquainted with the class.”

In response to the announcement, Senior Assistant Dean of Instruction Jay Stowsky chimed in: “Dan is a uniquely qualified person to teach leadership at Haas, because he so deeply embodies the defining leadership principles that characterize the particular style of leadership we intend to model: curious, prepared, humble, empathetic. Today’s students connect best with, and learn the most from, faculty members who care about nurturing each individual student’s innate capacity to imagine a better future, to repair the world. Dan demonstrates that care in every session of every class he teaches.”

We have shared a long year of collective struggle and suffering on many levels. Amidst that, I invite you to take a minute to honor the incredible effort Dan put in and the impact it’s had on the UC Berkeley community. Spend a joyful moment sharing the students’ gratitude for his loving, embodied leadership through a challenging year. 

A huge congratulations, Professor Mulhern!

Of course, you don’t have to stop there: do YOU know someone who strives to make a life? How can you let them know that you see their care, effort and impact? 

Don’t hold back! Words of affirmation and encouragement are a gift that is always available to give as you…

Lead with your best self. 

PS Of course, if the person who came to mind was Professor Mulhern, Dan, Danno, First Gentleman, so-and-so’s father/ brother/ spouse/ son/ friend, or just Mulhern, please join the celebration in the comments below. We would love to hear your stories. 🙂