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John Whitehead Speaks @ BC

April 11- The events of September 11, 2001 left the Lower Manhattan section of New York City in a state of horrific devastation.

John Whitehead

In the days to follow, someone would be needed to coordinate the complex orchestration of the rebuilding process as the phoenix would begin its ascent from the ashes. New York's Governor Pataki was confident he knew the right person for the job and got him on the phone. That person turned out to be John Whitehead, distinguished diplomat, political leader, business innovator, history maker, humanitarian, and global citizen.

The Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) program at Berea College is honored to host John Whitehead in a luncheon presentation Tuesday, April 11th from noon to 1 pm in the Alumni Building’s Baird Lounge. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations should be made by calling EPG at 985-3554 or at

How does a successful retired businessman and international leader respond when asked to take on one of the most daunting rebuilding tasks in our country’s history? He objects, of course, and looks for reasons why the job should be passed along to someone else. Then he weighs the costs and benefits and finds more reasons not to do it. During this process, he draws upon years of experience and refined business and leadership skills, carefully analyzing and making projections. Only then does he say yes.

“Why did I change my mind? I’d have to look back over a lifetime to say. But I guess the short of it is that I felt I had a duty. For me, duty is a rise to a call. If I think a job is important and I’m asked to do it, I really feel that I don’t have any right to say no. When the fireman hears the bell go off, he’s off to the fire. And I guess I heard the bell.”

John Whitehead, chair of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a true leader, penned these words in his new book, A Life in Leadership: From D-Day to Ground Zero. Mr. Whitehead has led an exemplary life of service and has built a successful financial legacy based upon the principle of “doing well by doing good.” A Life in Leadership chronicles Mr. Whitehead’s journey through such diverse management roles as craft commander at Omaha Beach on D-Day, managing partner of Goldman Sachs & Company investment bank, Deputy Secretary of State under President Reagan, founder of the Whitehead Foundation, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and myriad other influential positions.

In addition to being awarded an honorary degree from Berea College in 2003, Mr. Whitehead has had many other honors and awards bestowed upon him in his lifetime, and he has truly lived a life that reflects his high ethical standards and commitment to social responsibility. New York’s Seton Hall University named its graduate school the John C. Whitehead School for Diplomacy and International Relations in 2002 as a tribute to his commitment to achieving positive social change globally. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said Mr. Whitehead “has served his country well by serving the world, and the world well by serving his country.” In 2005, Mr. Whitehead received the Laureate Award from The Global Center for Leadership & Business Ethics as “the corporate leader who,” according to George Ledwith of the Global Center, “best embodies the qualities of insight, ethics, and courage that are key attributes of visionary leadership.”

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