Ragini Kapil, MEd’98

Ragini Kapil, MEd’98

Navigating Change

Ragini Kapil is a school administrator, stand-up comedian, writer, director, and producer. Here, she shares some words of wisdom on navigating change in her career.

What three words of wisdom, would you like to share with other alumni as they navigate their career?

Effort, Balance, Dream

Describe a situation where you have had to navigate change in your career.

When I became a principal after having been a teacher, I had to navigate through a number of challenges. As a teacher, I had always been an open, funny, engaging team player, and when colleagues followed my lead it was by choice. However, as a school principal it became my job to manage and lead. I had to find a way to engage and involve people by carefully and thoroughly learning the school culture and climate, then figuring out what would be accepted by the staff. The next task was to figure out how to approach people in order for them to become comfortable with change being suggested by an administrator rather than a colleague.

 What did you learn about yourself from that experience?

As an administrator, it was up to me to establish positive relationships. I learned to take time to thoroughly review issues from many angles, rather than making snap decisions with an expectation that people would jump on board. I learned to listen carefully and to accommodate varying viewpoints and concerns. I learned the most important sentence of my career: “I don’t have an answer for that at the moment, but let me find out and get back to you.”

Do you have any advice for someone who is experiencing change in their career?

The most important thing to do is to take time to learn, to listen, and to observe. Research the position and get to know the environment before making changes within your new role. Work hard to learn what you need to in order to do your job well. Find a good mentor. If you have been promoted within the same organization, be aware of the effect it may have on your former peers and colleagues. Take the time to navigate through the restructuring of those important relationships. In the end, the most important thing you can do is to do your best, while looking after yourself, and continuing to look forward.