I like to say that leadership is about more than a title. It reflects experience, intelligence, an understanding of the business landscape, but also of human nature. In the 21st Century, with the diversity that now is America and our global environment, leadership requires something even more.
I’m reminded of what the poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “We need the whole society to [arrive at] the symmetry we seek.” Emerson saw the world as all leaders should. When he looked into a crowd, he saw not a crowd but a collection of individuals. He saw each person as limited and diverse in what and how they perceived things.
Every other year, Chicago United, a non-profit which promotes multiracial leadership in business, selects a new group of executives who make exceptional candidates for corporate board directorships because of their outstanding performance and leadership. The latest crop of Chicago United Business Leaders of Color see the world the same way that Emerson did. And, they understand what early American President John Quincy Adams said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I recently moderated a discussion on leadership, diversity and driving change with four of these exceptional business leaders . Check out the lively exchange in the edited video above.
Chicago United Business Leaders of Color panelists (above video, from left to right):
Cathy Peng, Chief Business Development Officer, Ethertronics
Ana Dutra, Chief Executive Officer, Mandala Global Advisors
Sunil “Sonny” Garg, Senior VP and Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Exelon
John Trainor, General Manager and Publisher, Hoy Newspapers
To watch clips from our discussion, click the video above.