Speaking to such bright and inspirational people has given me so much knowledge. When interviewing our 2020 AEC Leadership Conference speakers, I wanted my main topic to be about leadership and how they got to where they are today. I realized that being a leader is more complicated than any of us could ever fathom. Our speakers had some very insightful thoughts on what they think every leader should know. When speaking with Hugh Hochberg and Matt Reiniger, they made it very clear that you should never confuse leadership with power, and that who you are and how you perceive yourself is more important than what you do. Being truthful is a very large lesson that they had to learn. Kelly McDonald tells us that when leading, “Transparency equals trust, nothing will erode trust in your people, from telling them the truth.” This was one of my favorite quotes I heard during my interviews, it's detailed yet simple. I found no hesitation when I asked about being a leader, because it is something that comes natural to them. All of the speakers' answers/advice came from some sort of experience they had in their life. This led me to my next question: what is one experience that got them to where they are today? The answers were simple, “Saying yes”. It wasn't just one experience or one moment in time, it was their drive and positivity that they could achieve more. Although they all had a time in their lives where they found what they wanted to focus on career-wise, this is not what got them to where they are as a person and how they chose to lead. This came from being confident in themselves enough to push through and achieve their goals, by just saying yes.
- Isabella Romano, Barney School of Business, University of Hartford
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