LifeBeat Follow-Up: Charlita Shelton
We’ve reached the final guest, Charlita Shelton, of the 5th episode of LifeBeat: Conversations with Purposeful Womxn (watch the episode) which took place in January 2021. Charlita was extremely pressed for time when I reached out to her, but she still managed to send her responses to the follow-up questions, and I’m so grateful for that. She experienced some professional changes which led to her busier schedule. Find out more in our email Q&A below; Charlita provided her answers on February 23, 2022.
Lizzie: The first thing I asked in our conversation was the first of three “lightning” questions. I asked where you would like to travel when it was safe again to do so, and your answer was Hawaii (Kauai, specifically). Did you have a chance to go there in 2021? If yes, how was it? If not, did you travel anywhere else?
Charlita: I was not able to travel to Kauai. At the time we were going to travel, it was still a “hit in miss” in terms of how they were managing travel into the state based on US Covid infection rates. Instead, my wife, Lynne, and I traveled to Willamette Valley Wine Country and visited the Oregon Coast. We had a fabulous time!
Next, we discovered your favorite thing(s) to do by yourself, which were meditate, pray, or read something inspirational. Did you develop any new solo habits over the course of 2021?
I did not.
In the last question to the group, I asked what you felt was one important skill everyone should have. You believe that being able to think strategically is that skill. That can be a hard skill to acquire. What are some ways you would recommend? (Certain books/classes?)
I would say that one should learn from leaders that they admire. Every fantastic leader out there needed to possess strategic thinking to accomplish a higher order leadership level.
As with all my guests on that particular night, you relayed your amazing personal story of your journey with education to your position at the time of the pandemic response task force chair at Gonzaga University. You have a new position at Gonzaga now. Can you tell us about it?
Yes…I serve as Chief of Staff to the president at Gonzaga University. This story, “Mastering Higher Education: Charlita Shelton,” (from October 2021) will give you and readers an insight in terms of my new role.
As the chair of the pandemic task force for Gonzaga, you had an up-close view of the challenges that your university faced. Over this last year, have you seen things get better, worse, or stay the same? What, if anything, has improved in the last year?
Things got tremendously better! Gonzaga never exceeded an infection rate of our 3.5 percentage of our employee/student population. We also held five different vaccination clinics during 2021. Our current vaccination rate of students and employees exceeds 94%.
Lastly, I asked what your one big hope was for 2021. You said it was mitigating the COVID-19 virus by getting 70% of the population vaccinated. According to statista.com,1 almost 75% have received one shot, but only around 27% have received a booster. I think many of us believe that COVID is something we’re going to have to treat yearly, as we do with the flu, but there is still a lot of hostility around vaccinations, mask-wearing, etc. Do you see things as better now?
Yes, based on the stats above.
What big hopes do you have for 2022?
To be able to provide value with respect to my role and continue to support Gonzaga University in the most positive way.
Thank you, Charlita, for taking some time to share your thoughts with us after more than a year. We’re so glad to know that things continue to improve at your university. Congratulations on your new role, and we wish you all the best in the future!
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