Leading Alaska in light of COVID-19.

There seems to be an interesting phenomena in Alaska.

The Governor is very conservative. Broadly speaking, more conservative states were slower to respond and are quicker to reopen amidst COVID-19.

Here in Alaska, we were quick to close down, and while we are reopening, it is happening slowly and it appears to be a popular decision among both liberal and conservative politicians (and people).

What’s behind this appears to be the Governor letting the State’s Chief Medical Officer lead the state’s response.

What’s more, the Chief Medical Officer appears to be able to lead in this time and to earn the trust and admiration of citizens from all walks of life and political leanings.

I am sure there are some dissenters, but from my perspective, this appears to be the case.

During a Juneau Assembly meeting a couple of weeks ago, Assembly members broadly adored her. It was pretty amazing.

Who is this person?

Her name is Dr. Anne Zink. She is young, and she is bright.

While I have been hearing reports of positive shock and awe, I haven’t looked into her background in detail, but I recently came across her Twitter page. What struck me is her demonstration of leadership coming across in social media. She tweets congratulations and thanks to those in different areas on the front lines, including teachers. She doesn’t have to acknowledge teachers in her role. Indeed, she doesn’t have to use social media. People would understand if she didn’t. She is busy! And while I don’t know for sure, my guess is that as a State official, she is managing her own social media and not getting help from others.

She encourages people to stay distanced and explains why. In her tweets and videos, she appears to be honest, and real, and caring. She is stepping up in this time of need, in a way that we do not see often. And regarding something that while it shouldn’t be political, seems to be taking the shape as a political issue in other parts of the country.

What can we all learn from watching this rising star? I talk often about honest communication, and she seems to exemplify that. She steps up. And I am sure there is much more that I don’t know and see; but perhaps we can all learn a thing or two from this smart leader. We may not be in official leadership positions, but we can all step up and lead in areas of our lives where no one is telling us what to do and how to do it. She is inventing this role as she goes. She just happened to be in this role at this time. But she seems to be figuring it out and making our state better because of it; and we can all find a way to do the same.

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