The mark of true humility is found in a sincere lack of boastfulness about one’s achievements.
When I met Anda Webb, upon congratulating her for her amazing career and achievements, she thoughtfully responded “I don’t know how impressive I am.” Anda Webb recently received the 2012 Zintl Leadership Award from the University of Virginia Women’s Center and has had a long and incredibly productive career here at the University. She sat on and chaired an almost innumerable number of committees, and maintained a strong presence at UVA events and in the community. This has all been done in with no desire for recognition or acknowledgment.
She currently serves as the Vice Provost and Chief Financial Adviser to the Provost, John Simon, but has also served as an associate dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the Academic Affairs Associate for the Provost, and even more roles than there is space for in this article. How does this happen to someone who majored in Computer Science after picking it “out of a catalogue”? Anda’s response to this question highlights her most admirable traits, her humility and her passion for developing relationships and seizing opportunities.
As we spoke, her narrative was peppered with references to those who have helped her. She admits she teared up at the thought of having to leave her first job working with her mentor and friend Kathy Reed, laughing that Kathy pushed her “out the door,” but with Kathy’s encouragement she started on a career path different to what she had imagined— the path that would lead her to where she is now. Anda states that Kathy “obviously saw something in me, because she hired somebody who had no business background to work on financial matters.”
This fact, like many others, speaks to Anda’s clear devotion to excelling through difficult situations and to her sincere humility. She could list dozens of other women she admires here at the University, and several of the people who supported her nomination point out that Anda in turn has embraced the role of mentoring staff here at the University. Her clear feelings of gratitude towards those who have helped her shine out in every anecdote about her career path, and remind us of the importance of making personal connections with those around us.
Anda’s history is inspiring for another reason— her path was not straight. In our society, especially for students, there seems to be increasing pressure to leave college and jump into your ideal career and stay there forever. That just is not realistic, as Anda’s many successes in different areas makes abundantly clear.
She majored in a field she would not spend her entire career in, she moved into jobs she was not certain she was a perfect fit for. She calls moving to Charlottesville alone (without having visited it before!) “a leap of faith,” the first major turning point of her career. What mattered in these situations was her willingness to learn and the support of those around her. “You don’t have to know it all,” Anda advises, and encourages U.Va students not to fear asking questions. She laughs about her lack of knowledge regarding budgeting when she started one of her earlier position, but she happily points out that her boss was there to ensure that she soon developed the firm footing in these areas that would enable her to succeed in her financial career, which most recently involves spearheading the new activity-based budget initiative.
Anda hopes to be remembered for her fairness; she frankly states that her greatest challenges come when she has to make decisions that affect other people, but she hopes that she will be remembered for making those decisions with honor and integrity.
- Lingerr Senghor