“Perspective”. Although it is impossible to use a holistic word to describe the unique and vast LT 35 class experiences over the last year, I believe almost everyone in my class would concur that the word “perspective” epitomized our journey.
That journey began with SIMSOC at our opening retreat in Jacksonville. Although I can’t share the exact details with you as I have been forbidden, upon my life, to do so, I can assure you that our collective perspectives were permanently and positively altered. In all honesty, I was relatively angry at the end of that first day, but once I began to understand the deeper meaning of the intended exercises, that anger transformed to a brighter perspective of acceptance, forgiveness and gratefulness. As early as that first day, and ironically my dreams that evening, helped guide me towards a more crystallized understanding of what it means to be a better person and a more effective leader in this challenging world.
A quick story: During my LT 35 year, in addition to being the President of a software company, I was also the Chairman of a non-profit called TalTech. It was my responsibility to host our annual conference. Two weeks before the conference, we had very few attendees. I had to make a difficult decision; cancel the conference or pursue innovative solutions to solve the problem. Perhaps before LT 35, I may have taken the easy route and simply cancelled it. But LT encourages courage and tenacity. Along with the TalTech Board, we ultimately achieved an excellent conference. Was our success predicated upon my evolving LT 35 perspective? You’re damn right it was.
Certainly, you will make professional connections with your LT classmates, but the allure doesn’t stop there. The personal connections you make with your uniquely diverse classmates are inevitable, encouraged, profoundly intimate, and permanent. If you allow me to describe some of the experiences and relationships as “spiritual”, then I will.
At our final retreat, each of us were given an opportunity to summarize our changing perspectives throughout the year. It would be impossible to reiterate the profoundness of my classmates soulful comments in this short article, but to unambiguously summarize: Leadership Tallahassee will make you a better person, a better friend, a better professional, a better community steward and, of course, a better leader.
It was one of the best experiences of my life. I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity.