For immediate release

Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic

by R. Barbara Gitenstein launched last week

Before a private gathering of leaders from various domains of leadership, Barbara Gitenstein shared lessons from her career trajectory on building ethical leadership

New York, NY (September 6, 2022) – R. Barbara (Bobby) Gitenstein marked the launch of her book Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic at a private gathering at the home of Marcia and Doug Bateson at 10 Gracie Square.

The guests were from a range of leadership domains– from academics to publishing to venture capitalists.

In her book Gitenstein examines leadership and the mentors who inspired her along her ‘angled road’ to success which culminated in her serving as the President of The College of New Jersey.

“I read a lot of leadership, management and power books and consider myself a student of leadership, and Bobby showed me helpful examples of good leadership through her mentors,” said Marcia Bateson, a real estate and hospitality executive.

“What popped for me is how she shares accessible vignettes about her mentors and then she tells the leadership lesson she learned,” continued Bateson who also chairs the board of NR international, a privately held real estate investment company.

An example: One of Bobby’s early mentors was Miss Lurton, the head mistress from her high school boarding school Holton-Arms. Bobby was called out of her English class to go to Miss Lurton’s office. “I gathered up my books and walked to the door.” When Barbara arrived at the headmistress’s office “she put an arm around my shoulders, and only then did I start to get worried. . . . Bobby, let’s sit down. I am very sorry, Bobby, but I have some very sad news to share with you. There’s no easy way to say it, so I’m just going to say it. I just got off the phone with your parents. Yesterday afternoon, your friend Cliff was in a car accident. He was killed.” After getting Bobby’s parents on the phone, Miss Lurton just walked out of the office and closed the door behind her.
Bobby’s takeaway: “Not until I became an academic administrator myself did I realize the power of this gesture from Miss Lurton. Miss Lurton could not make the loss go away, but her kindness and empathy certainly made the experience less painful.” P. 143.

Ms. Bateson continued: “Two things happened for me as a consequence of reading Bobby’s book: when I read the way Bobby tells these lessons: I related to the author because of her ‘beautiful’ writing then I related to the mentor ‘negative or positive.’ This flow makes sense to me and the lessons are something I carry with me.”

Leading from the periphery
Before entering Academe, Gitenstein learned to lead from the periphery, benefitting from exceptional sometimes surprising, and sometimes expected, mentors.
R. Barbara Gitenstein’s narrative captures the shock and the humor she faced when confronting the obstacles of being the only “whatever” in the room (woman, Jew, southerner, liberal).
Her parents moved from New York City to a small town in Alabama, where Gitenstein was born and raised. While Southern etiquette prevented most citizens from overtly anti-Semitic slurs, she knew from a young age that she just did not fit. When she left for boarding school in the 8th grade, she discovered that it was more than being Jewish and a Yankee that made her an oddity. She was an intellectual; she loved classical music. She survived painful loss and life changing challenges. In a chapter focused on her father’s impact on her life, Gitenstein writes of about how he taught her about running an ethical business.
Mary Davis, Davis Consulting Group. An Organizational Consultant and Biz owner, commented “Bobby did a super job of sharing with the audience the trajectory she went on to make her who she is. What sticks in my mind is how she talked about her relationship with her father and her family. The leadership skills I think she took from her father in particular were the importance of education, ethical behavior and trying to help everyone reach their potential.” Davis’s comments carry particular weight as she has consulted with some very high-profile leaders in higher education.
Also, at the gathering was one of Bobby’s cousins.
“As one who remembers many of the events she describes, I marvel at her ability to capture the moments so fully. I love that she achieved this in part by going through letters, photos, diaries and other memorabilia,” said Judy Gitenstein, a veteran of the book industry, having been on-staff in the editorial departments of Delacorte Press, Random House, Avon Book and Bantam Books and now an independent editor. “She has found the connective tissue and told the fullest possible story. What an inspiration this is for us all to find the through-line of our lives.”
Recently Bobby was featured on an episode of Back2Basics – Reconnecting to the essence of you!” podcast. Take a listen to the podcast interview with Leticia Latino about her new book ‘Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic.’

Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic
By R. Barbara Gitenstein
By Koehler Books
SOFT COVER: $17.95, 978-1-64663-751-5
HARD COVER: $25.95, 978-1-64663-753-9
EBOOK: $7.99, 978-1-64663-752-2
Publication Date: August 2022

Click here to purchase a book.

Photos:  R. Barbara Gitenstein, author; Marcia Bateson, host, a real estate and hospitality executive; both members of Holton-Arms Board of Trustees

Media Contact
Susan Assadi
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