Leaders should tell the truth, be transparent and communicate regularly with stakeholders during a crisis, says Fitz Hill, a former college football coach and college president, in Part 2 of Arkansas Business' new video series on leadership.
Hill, the executive director of the Scott Ford Center for Entrepreneurship & Community Development and the Arkansas Baptist College Foundation, sat down with Online Editor Lance Turner for the first installment of Arkansas Business' "Foundations" video series.
The series aims to highlight key tools for success for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. The first four videos of the series, which will premiere over the next two months, focus on leadership and feature interviews with Hill, Gina Radke of Galley Support Innovations Inc. of Sherwood and Jon Harrison of VIP2.
In Part 2 of a two-part conversation, Hill talks about his time as president of Arkansas Baptist College, the challenges he faced there, and his new role leading the Scott Ford Center. The center, which launched in 2012, is aimed at developing a trained corps of entrepreneurs prepared to start businesses in underserved communities.
During his time as college president, Hill dealt with cash flow problems as the school quickly took on more students. Calling it a humbling experience, Hill said he learned that leaders must always be upfront with stakeholders and confront problems directly, even when the answers don't come easy.
"When that phone rings, answer it, and tell them what your situation is," Hill said. "Don't not answer the phone … don't delay calling them back — make the call first [that] you don't want to make."
An Arkadelphia native, Hill graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 1987. He received a master's from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1991 and a doctorate in higher education leadership from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1997.
Hill rose to become Razorback assistant head football coach before becoming head football coach at San Jose State University in 2001-05. He was executive director of the Ouachita Baptist Opportunity Fund from 2005-06. In 2006, he became the 13th president of the historically black, 132-year-old Arkansas Baptist College. He left the president's post in 2016 to lead the college's foundation.