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Notes from Condoleezza Rice on becoming a leader

Louise Ryburn
30 Jan 2020
I recently attended the PCMA Convening Leaders Conference in San Francisco and had the honour of hearing Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State for the USA, speak. She is a spell binding presenter – the moment she stepped on stage I was blown away by her charisma, warmth and openness. She was magnetic and you could have heard a pin drop while she spoke.

Secretary Rice shares her story of growing up in a segregated community (which still blows my mind that this was not so long ago, yet at all). But, she holds no anger to it, she was brought up understanding that you can tackle a situation in other ways, so she only has love.

  1. She knew to succeed in life, she needed to be twice as good – so she went out there and ensured she was twice as good.
  2. There are no victims! By being strong and successful you sent a much stronger message.
  3. Their prejudice was not her problem to carry.
  4. They can choose not to sit beside her, as long as she never had to move.

Condoleezza shared some incredible insights, and these are some take home points that I gained from her presentation:

  • If you are always in the company of people who always agree with you – get new company.
  • Find your passion and look for mentors who believe in you – they don’t have to look like you.
  • Facilitate leadership qualities in others.
  • Never shut people down or their ideas – this will only lead to everyone in the team shutting down.
  • As a leader we need to learn the art of letting others have the centre of attention. The story can not always be about you.
  • Allow people to draw outside the lines, this is where innovation lives.

When Secretary Rice was asked what her hopes were for 2020...

“I hope that we immobilise human potential. There is something you can personally do; we all need to ask ourselves – what am I doing to take responsibility for someone else?”

I love sharing knowledge with our industry partners and always keen to chat about all things speaker - so please feel free to get in touch with me on 09 308 3605 or [email protected]

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Slaton Photography

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