Dr. Lynette Zelezny is a glass shattering leader who made history twice before ever stepping on campus.
Zelezny is the fifth president to lead California State University Bakersfield – the first woman to ever do so.
Her appointment, also known as the tipping point.
“I was invited to go to the senate floor in the capitol to be recognized as one of the women presidents and they said Bakersfield just made history, you are the one that tipped the largest system in the nation, the California University system, to majority women in leadership roles. That’s a pretty amazing feat for Bakersfield and Kern County,” said Zelezny.
If her first few months are any indication of what’s to come, CSUB certainly has a bright future ahead.
“I’m a servant leader and I’m here to serve and it’s what makes me very fulfilled and there’s meaning in that,” Zelezny said.
When asked about her career, the hardships she overcame, the drive that kept her going, she offered this wisdom:
“Women often times talk themselves out of their dreams and their goals. The research is very clear about this, it’s quite robust in psychology which is my area of study. Women often times will say, ‘I don’t have all of the qualifications, I have some of them or I have most of them,’ so they talk themselves out of moving forward. Be fearless and if you have a dream you should definitely go after it,” Zelezny said.
When asked what’s most important as she leads CSUB into the future her answer is one word – students.
“We are a campus that has a personal touch. We’re a family for students. Most of our students are first generation and they need to have that care and that extra attention and we provide that at CSUB. CSUB is a place that is a hub for intelectual captial. It’s a place for conversation. It’s a place for community. It’s a place that our best students want to go and will make our community proud because 70% of our alums stay in Kern County. If you want a campus where you’ll get that personal feel and you can thrive and grow, you want to come to CSUB,” Zelezny said.
The firsts don’t seem to stop with Zelezny.
She said she plans to launch the university’s first ever capital campaign in May.
She also invited all to join her for the presidential investiture May 3 when US Poet Laureate Juan Phillipe Herrera, the first Latino to hold the title, stops at CSUB.