When I got on the plane on Monday of this week, I had strains of James Taylor singing “Carolina in My Mind” floating through my head. It’s a wonderful song, and it’s a wonderful state with a truly tremendous assortment of public and private colleges and universities. During the course of the last week, I had the opportunity to visit several of them and members of our Circles.
Starting with last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting Kathie Amato, a member of our National Advisory Council, and her colleague (and my old friend) Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, at Duke University. At one time, O∆K had a Circle at Duke, and we are discussing the possibilities of returning to that institution. That evening, I was fortunate to be the guest of Bill Latture and his lovely wife and daughter, Louise and Sarah, in Greensboro. My good friend, Tom Shandley, vice president for student affairs, dean of students, and O∆K faculty advisor, at Davidson College joined us for dinner. Bill and Tom had a great conversation about some potential honoris causa candidates at Davidson.
On Thursday morning, I was hearing “On the Road Again” in my head and my car as I headed over to Winston-Salem to visit with faculty officer Matt Clifford and student president Laura Tarlton at Wake Forest University. We had a great lunch talking about best practices in membership recruitment and the current activities of the WFU Circle. Matt and I also figured out that we had met before when he was at Jacksonville University. That would explain why his photo looked so familiar on the website!
That afternoon, I went to Raleigh and visited with Amanda Itliong at North Carolina State University to discuss the possibility of establishing a new Circle there. Amanda was the president of the George Washington University Circle when she was an undergraduate, and we will look forward to having her help the Wolfpack faithful join O∆K in the future.
On Friday, I made my way over to Greenville which is the home of East Carolina University. The Pirates of ECU hosted the 2013 SAACURH (Southern Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls) conference which was attended by more than 700 students from colleges and universities across the southeast. During the course of the weekend, I gave the Friday night keynote address to the conference, spoke to the Residential Scholars, and visited with members of the ECU Circle including student president Juliana Jamal and faculty officer Krista Wilhelm. Again, I had the pleasure of being hosted by a dear friend – this time Bill McCartney, ECU’s associate vice chancellor for campus living.
The Friday night keynote address was centered around leadership and the movies. Our O∆K Fellow, Andrew Cahoon, was a tremendous help in putting together the presentation and embedding numerous videos to showcase the points I was trying to make. The speech was entitled, “Starships, Ball Gowns, and Hangovers: Leadership Lessons from the Movies,” and I did it complete with four costume changes. I now know why Taylor Swift uses Velcro in her stage transformations – it’s got to be quicker than pulling off a Star Trek costume including boots to throwing on a ball gown and heels.
The leadership quotes from the movies that I included are outlined below:
1. “Work the problem.” (Apollo 13)
2. “Failure is not an option.” (Apollo 13)
3. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” (Star Trek)
4. “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.” (Star Trek)
5. “I’ll think about it tomorrow” (the colliery is procrastination is a highly-underrated form of management). (Gone With the Wind)
6. “Leading is choosing.” (American President)
While there aren’t great leadership quotes from Bridesmaids, Flight, or The Hangover, I also utilized scenes from those films to share a few more points about leadership – especially in times of crisis. These included:
1. The solution to a problem often lies within an individual. (Hangover)
2. Remain incredibly calm in a crisis. (Flight)
3. Leaders needs to be humble, accept responsibility for their mistakes, and make amends when possible. (Flight)
4. Sometimes Plan B is way better than Plan A (and you’ll figure that out if you listen to your friends). (The Hangover)
5. Don’t steal Mike Tyson’s tiger. (The Hangover)