Kayce Ataiyero is the chief external affairs officer at the Joyce Foundation, overseeing strategic communications, the journalism program and the community grants fund. She is also on the leadership team. Her leadership style promotes capacity building in order to leverage employee strengths and win as a team. Rolling out spoke with Ataiyero about collaboration, thriving and the importance of authenticity.
Please describe your leadership style.
I’m a collaborative leader who is continuously learning. I work alongside my team as a coach and thought partner, but the road to knowledge is a two-way street. I try to listen more than I talk and encourage the interrogation of my ideas because sound leadership should hold up to scrutiny. One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is being too busy knowing everything to learn anything.
What is your mission statement?
To help create space and opportunity in systems that weren’t designed with Black and Brown people in mind so that they don’t just arrive — but thrive.
Finish this sentence: Teamwork is important because …
A leader is only as effective as the team you have supporting you. If the boss is the strongest person on the team it’s a weak team. I’m fortunate to have a team that can both run my plays and draw up some great ones of their own. That dynamic makes for a winning team.
Describe your networking style.
I’m not really a networker. Transactional relationships have never been my vibe. I value genuine connection and am drawn to smart people with shared interests who enrich my life. I try to build real community with people. This approach has served me well, professionally and personally. I’ll always choose authenticity over ambition.
Name your two favorite vacation destinations to relax and recharge.
I can find peace on just about any beach. But I’m from the DMV, so I’m partial to towns on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Give me a clear day, a little spot on the shore, a bucket of crabs dumped on newspaper and an adult beverage and I’m in heaven.