Gilbert Allen is the director of clinical services for Shelter Inc. He trains, mentors and coaches aspiring clinicians and entrepreneurs. Allen’s inauspicious beginning did not derail him, it propelled his journey and he uses those hard-won lessons to help others.
Growing up in poverty, being unhoused and having an overall unstable childhood could have led to a bleak outcome for his life. With the support of his brother and a strong passion for education, Allen was able to overcome tough challenges and become a mentor to many young adults who require a support system that will lift them above hardship.
Rolling out spoke with Allen about the importance of higher education, his leadership style and the critical skills an executive must have.
Please describe your leadership style.
I am a transformational leader. I like to inspire my teams to think in new ways. My goal is to challenge others to grow as well as understand that we all have a gift. I often ask staff what is their why and what is their gift.
What is your mission statement?
We cannot change the world until we change ourselves. If we invest in our healing, then we will be able to achieve great things.
What three skills are critical for the future executive you hire for your organization?
Effective communication, which is essential in any role; the ability to be able to problem solve when issues come up; and the ability to display compassion for self and others are three critical skills a future executive must have.
How does having an advanced degree benefit you and your clients?
I personally feel that having an advanced degree helps with problem-solving and finding innovative solutions for clients and the greater community as a whole.
How do you utilize technology to benefit your organization?
Everything we do at Shelter Inc. is designed with technology in mind as we use Microsoft Teams for meetings and to provide services for clients as well.
Finish this sentence: The best way to recruit great talent is …
Through making other people feel valued. Most people feel valued when they are supported by their supervisors. I also believe in showing up to hiring events and talking with great talent to help them see value in our company and how we can support their development as a staff.
Finish this sentence: Speaking a second language is important because …
You have the ability to connect with different people and clients from all walks of life.
What are you reading now? Name your two favorite books.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown
What two favorite quotes motivate you?
“You cannot change the world until you change yourself.”
“When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.”