Call to Conversation gathering over brunch at Wake Washington Center on December, 2017. Group 3.

A group of Wake Foresters gathered over brunch in the Wake Washington Center on December 10, 2017, to discuss leadership and character.

During brunch, our group, which was made up of new Wake Forest parents, young alumni and established alumni, came together in a unique way. We touched on the importance of doing what’s right even when no one is looking and learned about those who pushed forward even in times of adversity. We talked of empathy, courage, community and the idea that beliefs are only actualized when we communicate openly with one another.

Many of our stories focused on family members and those in our close circles (colleagues, Wake Forest leadership, church family, etc.) who demonstrated admirable qualities of leadership and character. As these and other stories were shared, a few themes developed around:

  • The value of unexpected kindness from strangers.
  • Prompt response in the time of stress.
  • Those who keep going during difficult experiences.
  • Being evaluated based on the whole person.
  • The importance of failing as an integral part of the developmental process.
  • The idea that resistance is not always opposition.

Some remarks made during our conversation really resonated with the group. A few of my favorite quotes about leadership and character were:

  • “Character is having grit and knowing when to fire back.”
  • “When someone puts up resistance, it doesn’t mean that they are in your way.”
  • “Character is a verb more than a noun.”