Call to Conversation over dinner in Dallas, Texas, on November 29, 2017.

A group of Wake Foresters gathered over dinner in Dallas, TX on November 29, 2017, to discuss leadership and character.

To begin our conversation, everyone at the table had a wonderful story to share about a time they saw leadership and character in action. Character can be exhibited by a beloved figure from college, a Texas entrepreneurial icon, a family member, a historic or literary figure, a stranger turned friend, or even an idea/theme. Leadership is when those of high character either consciously or subconsciously make an intentional effort to help and respect others as human beings.

It’s important to ask ourselves what the mark we want to make is. The question “what do you want to do” is not as important as “who do you want to be.” This is what David Brooks refers to as eulogy virtues instead of résumé virtues. Some of the key words from the night included: respect, honesty, endurance, resilience, and authenticity. Doing the right thing is not always convenient and we are surrounded by social media distractions. While it’s easy to get trapped in an affluent Dallas community bubble, the Wake Forest community encourages and inspires students to embody these key words and sentiments. This allows us to break the silos and create a place where we can empathize and exhibit leadership. Leadership can be treating others how you want to be treated, having a positive frame of mind, recognizing holistic wellness, and embracing a “say-do ratio.” Our students can be anything in the world, and it is our charge to teach them to be kind people who lead lives that matter.