Welcome to Fielding Books, an independent publishing company committed to stories that uplift African-American culture. We invite you to explore our literary fiction and non-fiction collection, and hope they inspire while encouraging dialogue.
Compared to What
That was the headline of the Detroit newspaper. Beneath the caption were two large color photos. The photo on the left was of Richard Gilliam, the Chief Financial Officer of A New Way Charter Schools, and the one on the right, was of Elaine Robeson, Principal of Ella Baker Academy.
Both were charged with misappropriating funds. Mr. Gilliam’s responsibility over the finances of all five A New Way Charter Schools provided ample opportunity for his swindling of over a million dollars in a three year span for personal use. Three years of Red Wings season ticket seats just behind the glass partition, a recently purchased, fully-furnished home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and other smaller trappings – a Rolex and a new red Lincoln Navigator – were evidence of Richard’s clandestine accounting practices. While he vowed to fight the charges in court, Mr. Gilliam’s attorney’s highest optimism lay in a gray area of hope between a plea bargain or some type of protracted restitution plan that would keep Richard out of prison.
The case against Principal Robeson was an entirely different matter.
In a two year span, Principal Robeson intentionally redirected nearly four hundred thousand dollars from technology related purchases toward hiring an additional teacher and sponsoring a catered weekend breakfast and tutorial program for the families of her impoverished students. Principal Robeson did not profit from her activity; yet in the court of public opinion, she was being vilified as Richard’s co-conspirator or worse, his puppet.
A Composite of Virtue
Over lunch one afternoon, my friend, Ran Walker, was encouraging me to write fiction. My reservation about writing fiction stemmed from uncertainty about my voice. I wanted some assurance that in a world of fiction writers, I would be unique. To which Ran responded, “Who are your favorite writers?” After I named a few, he replied, “Pretend they could all get together and have a baby. That baby would be you and your unique voice would contain elements from each of them.”
Ran was right.
As time has passed, I have realized that his point about my fiction writer’s voice being a composite of my favorite writers is also a framework for understanding who I am as a leader. Of the people and leaders I know, have read about, or observed, I have borrowed, co-opted, remixed, paraphrased, and otherwise adopted attributes and synthesized them into a leadership style. And so have you.
With Leadership Pieces, I will share a few of my influencers and an attribute I have adopted from them. It is my hope that this book encourages you to think about your influencers, attributes you have adopted, and the uniqueness of your leadership style.
In the News!
Sabin Prentis promotes his novel, Better Left Unsaid, on WDIV Channel 4 Detroit.