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John Whitehead Welcomes Leaders

Future entrepreneurs and leaders, young and old, were treated to a delicious lunch and inspiring lecture by John Whitehead.

John Whitehead Inspires Audience

Junior Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) student, Shawn Kennedy introduced Mr. Whitehead's lecture that ended with a Q&A session with the audience. Students that asked questions were given an autographed copy of his book.

During this fourth trip to Berea College, Whitehead took this opportunity to inspire entrepreneurs and leaders in any business, big or small. When considering new business opportunities, Whitehead asks two essential questions: "Is the plan written out on paper?" and "Are you willing to risk your career to do this?"

The second part of his talk focused on leadership. "To many people are discouraged to move up the leadership ladder," he said. Whitehead has certainly done more than aspire to move up the ladder. There are two different types of leaders, according to Whitehead. The aggressive leaders like General MacArthur and the quiet and thoughtful leaders like General Eisenhower and Mother Teresa. "You don't have to be a fiery-type leader to be a good leader," he said.

Whitehead provided the crowd with many inspirational leadership advice:

"Aspire to leadership, keep looking forward."
"Let your ambition run rampant."
"Its leaders that make a difference. Followers are necessary."
"You can't have too many leaders."
"Look ahead to the door in front of you and look to the next door and the next door."

Finally, one student asked Whitehead what he would do with an organization full of leaders. He simply replied, "What a wonderful organization that would be!"

John Whitehead is currently chair of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and wrote the book "A Life in Leadership: From D-Day to Ground Zero." 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 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, Whitehead has had many other honors and awards bestowed upon him in his lifetime. 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 Whitehead “has served his country well by serving the world, and the world well by serving his country.” In 2005, 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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