Call to Conversation dinner in Park City, Utah on January 11, 2018.

A group of Wake Foresters gathered over dinner in Park City, Utah, on January 11, 2018, to discuss leadership and character.

Everyone at the tables had wonderful stories to share about a time they saw leadership and character in action. Character can be exhibited by individuals helping those less fortunate in a community, a team of co-workers looking after one another in South Africa, a family member, a leader at work, a teacher or a sports figure. Character is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not for recognition. It is a quality that is woven into every aspect of leading one’s life. Leadership is “stooping for excellence” – it is not delegating, but rather doing whatever needs to happen to get things done right. Leadership is inspiring and helping others develop their own character. A true leader takes the time to recognize others; a leader takes the time to care. Some of the key words from the night include: empathy, mentorship, joy, passion, belief, hope and integrity.

It’s sometimes easy to take for granted that we wouldn’t be where we are without the character and leadership of others that came before us. In our current society, so much is done in a visual way, that the idea of someone doing something noble when no one is looking can seem old-fashioned. Every part of our day is now documented, and doing the right thing is not always convenient as we’re surrounded by social media distractions. Strong work ethic is a key part of character, as is feeling proud of a cause. There is honor in good work and commitment can easily seem lost.

Some questions from the evening for us all to reflect on: How do we create a culture of inclusion? Do our students have a value system and is that inherited from parents? How do we keep Pro Humanitate aligned not just with service, but with character?