CEO Corner: July 2018

Monday, July 30, 2018

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We have recently completed the season of graduations and inspiration – including Leadership Skagit and two graduations for the Sternlicht family.  Aside from pride, excitement, satisfaction, and hope, these events can energize us to work for improvements and greater causes for our communities.  I hope you will permit me some personal observations on this theme.  I found that kind of inspiration on attending my son David’s graduation this spring from the Haas Graduate School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.  The class was filled with the next generation of brilliant, hard-working people who want to make the world a better place.  Their consumer and work styles differ from previous generations, leading to a new focus on sustainability, responsibility, care for the environment and for disadvantaged groups, and shared experiences rather than the endless accumulation of consumer goods.

The Haas Defining Leadership Principles provide a model for general application:

  1. Question the Status Quo
  2. Confidence Without Attitude
  3. Students Always
  4. Think Beyond Yourself

These important principles teach us that we always need to question assumptions and re-examine whether the way we have always done things is still valid, or is currently the best way.  We must “champion bold ideas, take intelligent risks, and accept sensible failures….”  We need to have confidence in our decisions based on evidence and analysis, without swagger and without the need to show we are better than someone else to have that confidence.  This is leadership through trust and collaboration, which helps us to build one another up.  We are students always if, no matter our age or experience level, we still understand that we always have more and new things to learn.  Finally, the only way we can make our community better is to lead ethically and responsibly, understanding that we are as individuals but a small part of it – thinking beyond ourselves allows us to understand the greater needs and how we can contribute as part of a team.

These principles also correlate perfectly with Leadership Skagit, whose hardworking participants completed their year-long journey last month as well.  Leadership Skagit has alumni ranging from college-age to retired, from every sector of the economy, and representing diverse backgrounds.  The Leadership Skagit program and its 500 alumni epitomize lifelong learning, humility, care for the community, and courage to explore new ways and ideas.

My son Jeremy graduated from Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school in Ashland, Virginia, last month.  A Spanish major and Economics minor, he wore a stole featuring the Spanish flag, representing his semester spent studying in Madrid, Spain.  During his spring break, Jeremy attended an EDASC workshop at Skagit Valley College entitled “The Secrets of Marketing to the Latino Community,” took that knowledge back, and turned it into a job as a bilingual marketing coordinator. This represents to me the rising generation’s focus on new ways, new markets, global engagement and diversity and inclusion.

Congratulations to you and yours on the momentous events and beginnings taking place in your families this season.  We at EDASC are always thinking about how to put these principles to good use here in Skagit County!

- John Sternlicht, CEO

Category: Education, Leadership Skagit, Latinos, CEO Corner