Members of the Alumni Council, their spouses, and Wake Forest staff gathered on September 14, 2017, in Winston-Salem to discuss leadership and character.

A common thread to our conversation was character is doing what is right when it’s sometimes the hard choice, and often means doing the right thing when nobody is watching. We had great examples of neighbors helping each other, young people making smart decisions and athletic coaches who care more about the player than the score.

Several themes emerged from our discussion:

  • Character shows itself in a variety of ways, but you know it when you see it.
  • Sacrifice, faith, tenacity and courage are some traits consistently exhibited by leaders of character.
  • Peer pressure, lack of time and lack of leadership can be barriers to living out your values.

Given the chance, we would tell students today to dive deeper, follow their passion, play the long game, make the sacrifice to have the experience and focus on relationships. Developing deep relationships is what makes us different at Wake Forest. Life doesn’t start when you graduate; it starts right now.

Dinners like our Call to Conversation can serve as an inspiration to others to have authentic conversations with those around them.