October 3, 2018

#106 – Season 5 – Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley – “I’m here to teach what I learned in life not what I learned in the classroom”

By Tom Davidson

Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley, also known as the ‘Hip Hop Forester,’ is an educator, musician, and entrepreneur. Thomas serves as the Assistant Dean of Community Inclusion at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Prior to this, Thomas was the Director of Community Diversity at NC State University, where he also earned his doctorate of education. Dr. Easley earned his undergraduate degree in Forest Science from Alabama A&M University and a master’s in forest genetics from Iowa State University. In his role at Yale, Dr. Easley is a role model for students and a thought leader for staff and faculty, not just at Yale but globally. In addition to being a forester, an educator and a university administrator, Thomas is an Eagle Scout, a former pastor, a speaker and a hip-hop performer known as RaShad who helps budding hip-hop artists get their own starts. On today’s show, Thomas discusses how he got into forestry, how he inspires his students to achieve, and how the forestry profession can be more inclusive and diverse. “Have an open mind and an open heart,” he says, “when teaching students from different backgrounds than you.”

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:40] A quick intro about Thomas.

[3:25] How did Thomas get into forestry and natural resources?

[11:30] Thomas learned from another person with whom he shared identity about how to be more accountable to how he treats others and to be aware of how he views himself.

[15:15] Thomas shares his journey of how he ended up getting his Master’s Degree in Forest Genetics.

[21:55] Thomas credits his teaching ability to his Mom, who was also a teacher.

[25:20] What did Thomas teach prior to his role at Yale?

[33:00] What is Thomas teaching currently?

[38:05] If you try to make changes too quickly or too aggressively, you’re going to be driving people away instead of getting supporters.

[41:05] Thomas believes Yale wants him to help achieve a more inclusive environment.

[46:45] What advice does Thomas have for young professionals?

You’ve go to look inward sometimes to see where you can improve and be better. It’s important to take initiative and not rely solely on others to lift you up.

[51:30] What does the profession need to do better to increase diversity in the profession?

[53:30] You cannot change and grow while still staying the same. As a profession, we need to be open to growth and change

Mentioned in This Episode:
Thomas’ Music – www.Rashadeas.com
Thomas’ Website: www.rashadeasley.com
Thomas on LinkedIn: www.goo.gl/jjvTmY
Yale School of Forestry – www.environment.yale.edu

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