As we fulfill our mission to transform business communications, we have the opportunity to work with many great businesses and leaders throughout the world. Eliminating corporate jargon and reviewing video feedback are all part of the transformation process that develops into sticky messages, undeniable pitches, SHARPs and audience engagement.
On occasion, however, we have the opportunity to serve as ambassadors of communications and confidence to budding leaders. After brushing up on her Decker Methodology, Decker Board Member Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation, SVP Charles Schwab & Co., took the lessons from the board room to a boarding school in rural Kenya. While working with “transitional girls” with high potential, Carrie got Daraja Fever.
Of course, passion is infectious. There is no better way to convey your mission. Read on for an inspiring excerpt of her experience – and a lesson about igniting (and renewing) our passion as business leaders.
|From: Daraja Fever: Reflections on my recent trip to Kenya
By Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz
When Jecinta, a bright-eyed, understated girl with deep dimples and incredible drive, found out I was going to be teaching a class on public speaking at her school on a rural campus two and a half hours away from Nairobi, she approached me to say she was disappointed she would be away when I presented. Jecinta was going to be at the local festival competing in a public speaking event. She asked me if I would come with her to one of the classrooms after dinner to spend 30 minutes helping her prepare for the competition. I taught her the basics like the importance of voice projection, eye contact and having a point of view, and we did a few practice runs. Two days later, she whispered excitedly in my ear that she had won the competition. The girl who got second place, Yvonne, was just as driven as Jecinta. And after hearing about Jecinta’s success, she approached me to ask if I could help her, too. When I showed up to meet Yvonne, I found her with eight other girls waiting for me in the small school library on a Saturday afternoon.
My particular focus was to teach the girls about financial literacy and help them with public speaking. I wanted to give them the tools for presenting with influence—but in the end, I also got schooled.
I was overwhelmed by these girls’ commitment to their personal development and being the best they can be. These girls don’t play, and they don’t hang out. Instead, they focus on improving themselves.
How often do we, as leaders, take the easy road? How often do we challenge ourselves, instead? Leadership, like success, is a process of continuous improvement. It’s a process of taking the high road, even if it leads you on a 2-day journey to Kenya. It’s a process of sharing emotion and passion to get buy-in from our colleagues and benefactors. It’s a process of taking that extra 30 minutes to pay-it-forward when someone asks for help.
If your personal road doesn’t lead you to Kenya this month, find another way to share your passion as a leader. Whether you spend time with face-to-face with a junior team member, or choose to make an impact through your favorite charity, make it your mission to share your passion.
Want to read more about Carrie’s experience? Here is her original blog post for Schwab Talk. To learn more about Daraja Academy and its students watch this touching video.