Copy the Leader: Mykala Sandifer
Mykala Sandifer, c’15, is the Director of Inclusive Programs and Talent Development at the KU Alumni Association.

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Jayhawks in leadership positions are everywhere you look, including through the Jayhawk Career Network. KU Alumni, in partnership with SumnerOne, is highlighting Jayhawk leaders who are models for others in their industries with our “Copy the Leader” program.

What do you do in your work?

Mykala is the Director of Inclusive Programs & Talent Development for the KU Alumni Association. She leads Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging as a strategic partner focused on inclusive community building and engagement for KU students and alumni. Mykala is a culture architect who is passionate about organizational transformation through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. She is a thoughtful strategic partner committed to challenging traditional systems to build socially conscious, high performing and inclusive spaces for individuals at all levels of an organization. Mykala earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a double minor in business and communications from the University of Kansas, and her master’s degree in education, with concentrations in diversity & equity and human resource development from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

What are the qualities of a good leader?

Humility, curiosity, empathy, and purpose.

How do you practice leadership at your job?

I take a human-first leadership approach. It is understanding that your most valuable asset is your people. If they feel seen, heard and included, it will show up in the business/organization’s output — be that a product or experience. In practice, that looks like fostering relationships, building a culture of feedback and practicing empathy.

What makes a team or group successful?
  1. Alignment around a shared vision
  2. A commitment to preserving culture
  3. Continuous feedback
How can leaders in your industry help their organizations adapt to change?

I believe the pandemic has presented a new way for us to think about engagement and inclusion. From the employee experience, to the way our students and alumni feel connected to our Association, the pandemic has allowed us to think about who is impacted by what we do, in what ways can we be more inclusive and how we evolve and innovate to engage Jayhawks from all walks of life.

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Your membership in the KU Alumni Association is the single most powerful way to make all of KU stronger, including the value of your own degree. Through your membership, the Association: