Student Profile: Don Gray – Master of Arts in Leadership

Don Gray

Greg Price, Program Director for the MA in Leadership (MAL), recently interviewed Don Gray, a student in the program. Don values that the MAL program is online as he is currently living in Alaska. He is presently employed as Director of QHSET (Quality, Health, Safety, Environment and Training) for his village corporation: UkpeAGvik iñupiat corporation.  At the time of this interview, Don is enrolled in the final capstone course in the MAL program.

The following is an excerpt from my interview with Don.

Greg: What was the deciding factor to enroll in the MAL program?

Don: At a personal level, I wanted to set the example for my daughters. I thought it was important that both girls saw their parents doing homework alongside them and that learning and growing is a lifelong endeavor. Professionally, I wanted to open some doors outside of my industry in case market conditions changed dramatically. I spent significant time researching Harvard, Kellogg, and the University of Washington.  The more research I did, the easier it was to find individuals with MBA’s therefore, a Master’s degree in Leadership, became a degree in distinction. That distinction and the fact that City University of Seattle gave me the flexibility to learn and study at home is what influenced my choice.

Greg: What is the biggest takeaway for you as you have moved through the program?

Don: What I wanted and what I got where two different things: I wanted to set the example for my daughters and I ended up becoming a better husband, a better father, and a better community member. At the end of the day I simply became a better person.

Greg: How does this takeaway translate into you become a more valuable employee?

Don: The program supported my learning and give me the tools to listen to conversations that are not actually spoken. It gave me the ability to step back and evaluate the maturity level of various departments, individuals, even organizationally to determine how, what, when and where to contribute. What you know and what leadership need next (vision) are often two different things.

Greg: Briefly, explain your capstone project.

Don: My capstone project is creating Commitment Based Leadership: a simple and effective Behavioral Based Leadership program that provides a means for individuals to make choices in ways that can bring out their personal best, achieve their leadership goals, and deliver optimal results. The power of human choice and personal commitment is huge to overall performance. The essence of Commitment Based Leadership is the individual – choosing, acting, learning, and celebrating their contributions together. A commitment is only a commitment if it meets five (5) key criteria:

  1. It is personal and chosen by the person who is committed
  2. It is a specific behavior
  3. It is measurable
  4. The committed person has a goal for the behavior
  5. The person is committed if they have a place to share their results to the commitment

 Commitment Based Leadership integrates the Plan, Do, Check, and Act cycle in leadership behavior.

 Greg: We are looking forward to you successfully completing project and seeing you walk across the stage at the City University of Seattle commencement in June, 2016.

For more information on this project contact:

Don Gray | Director of QHSET & Risk
UkpeAGvik iñupiat corporation

Published October 14, 2015



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