Group photo from the C2C in Washington, DC on March 4, 2019 - group 2

A group of Wake Foresters gathered over dinner at the Wake Washington Center in Washington, D.C. on March 4, 2019 to discuss Leadership & Character.

Overview and highlights of our Call to Conversation:

  • As we shared stories about great leaders in our lives, certain attributes stuck out: “Character in action” is exhibited by extraordinary, courageous people but then, there are countless “ordinary” people, like the men and women we heard about who exhibit high character by leading the way in very personal, challenging situations. Our table gave examples of people in our lives who lead by bucking the trend, making unpopular decisions, and being people of humble character. Doing the right thing, and showing empathy to those around you are all qualities of character in action.
  • “Reputation is about something you’ve done, character is about something you are.”
  • The most surprising take away was how having intentional discussion didn’t feel forced; rather, it felt very natural, and almost relieving, to come together and talk as real, authentic people from different backgrounds and life experiences. Often times, we feel obligated to do tasks, this C2C dinner was the opposite.
  • One of the best things about the conversation was the question posed to the group: “what are the barriers to demonstration of good character?” Several of you cited how we are pressured by society to act a certain way in our professional and personal lives. It takes courage to step out and be different! Then, we seemed to go do a GREAT rabbit hole on a big barrier in our lives; distraction that our phones can be to simply being present. When we are distracted by notifications, the “next thing,” or even email, we miss opportunities to lead.
  • Ultimately, we landed back at Wake Forest. We all seemed to agree upon the simple notion that there is a “Wake Forest” way and this dinner reminded us of why WFU is a diverse and fulfilling community. Hearing personal stories is authentic, and we agreed our culture needs more authenticity. We can have fun, but also be real. As it was wrapped up so eloquently by one participant, “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”