Robin L. Owens, PhD, associate professor in religious studies, is a multimedia leader through the worlds of book publishing and podcasting. The latter, she admits, was with reluctance. Her popular podcast, “Leadership Purpose With Dr. Robin,” is rated in the top 10% of the more than 2 million podcasts globally according to Listen Notes, a search engine for podcasts.
“I believed I needed a social media presence but I wasn’t big on it,” she says. “But I remembered as a child having a dream of being on the radio. I realized that a podcast isn’t such a different format. I had an idea that a podcast would be a good way to provide support for high-achieving women leaders who are usually the ones who are supporting others.
“I thought it would be great to have women leaders share one tip or one helpful hint from their experience to help other high-achieving women leaders as they pursue their leadership purpose. The 50th episode of my podcast is coming up, and it has been inspiring to be on this journey.”
Owens’ book, “My Faith in the Constitution is Whole: Barbara Jordan and the Politics of Scripture,” (Georgetown University Press) will be published this spring. The title is an excerpt from one of Jordan’s most famous speeches that brought her into prominence in the 1970s.
“The late Congressperson Barbara C. Jordan used the U.S. Constitution as American scripture, as a rhetorical device in her speeches, much like many African American preachers use the Bible in their sermons,” Owens says. “It was fascinating to write a book that looked at the ways in which she used the Constitution in her speeches to negotiate political power. She did this as a way of promoting social justice and as a way of fulfilling her own sense of leadership purpose.”
A Decade of Meaning
Owens has been with Mount Saint Mary’s for a decade. She joined the University in 2011 because she found her life’s mission was similar to the missions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Mount. “Teaching at the Mount is a match made in heaven,” says Owens, who primarily teaches world religion. “Being a part of the development of emerging leaders and encouraging them to serve others in a way that is patterned after the CSJ philosophy of Serving the Dear Neighbor is empowering and gives me a sense of purpose.”
Two of the program that the Mount has participated in that resonates with Owens are Get on the Bus, in which faculty, staff and students worked together to help children whose parents were incarcerated by taking them to go visit their parents. The other is the President’s Day of Service when the Mount serves the Los Angeles community in different ways, such as volunteering at a local food pantry. “They’re transformative programs,” says Owens. “But whether it’s through a specific program or in everyday interactions and activities, there’s always a focus on the CSJ and Mount missions to develop leaders through service.”
Owens understands that many students can’t exhibit their best leadership if they aren’t guided in their transition to college and getting connected to the Mount community.
That’s why she has been a mainstay as an instructor in the First-Year Seminar courses and a as member of the First-Year Seminar Leadership Team. “It’s tremendously meaningful to help students navigate the first year of college and help them get connected to all that the Mount has to offer,” she says. “I encourage them to see themselves not only as future leaders but as leaders now, even at the start of their college careers. My hope is that they find their own sense of meaning and purpose as leaders.”