Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thoughts on Leadership

I was honored to participate in a panel discussion about leadership with some of the country’s best leaders during a reception hosted by U.S. News & World Report at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. Those of us who participated in the panel yesterday were named one of America’s Top Leaders in 2008 by U.S. News and the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
During the lively discussion, led by David Gergen, editor-at-Large of U.S. News and director of the CPL, I was pleased to see that leadership is alive and well in our country.
Participating in the discussion were 14 of the 24 honorees chosen by the center, including myself. The other 13 participants were Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic; Benjamin Carson, M.D., director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund; Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, co-founders of the KIPP Foundation; Fiona Anne Harrison, Ph.D., professor of Physics and Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology; David Baltimore, Ph.D., R. A. Millikan Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology; Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Amory B. Lovins, co-founder, chairman and chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute; Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and CEO of Endeavor; Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University; and Maria T. Zuber, Ph.D., E. A. Griswold professor of Geophysics at MA Institute of Technology.
One theme that continued to come up in the discussion is the need to invest in our future and in our children. A large part of the discussion centered on educating our children and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Many of the panelists were involved in education and the sciences, and they shared inspiring stories of times when they have seen children become inspired to do great things, as well as heart-breaking stories of children who cannot succeed because they are born in the wrong place or in the wrong economic class.
There was consensus among us: our country cannot afford to lose so many of our children to crime, poverty and lack of education. We must invest in our children now if we are to become the great nation that we deserve to be.
To read the U.S. News 2008 edition of America’s Best Leaders, please visit www.usnews.com/leaders.
- Manny