by Sherra Bourget, Operations & Communication Director
Several hundred executives and proteges from the private, non-profit and public sectors gathered together one recent beautiful September morn to attend the Roundtable’s 2nd Annual Executive Leadership Series and learn strategies on diversity from one accomplished author, business woman and humanitarian – Marilyn Tam. What many took away seems to be much more.
In addition to addressing Vermont’s specific diversity issues, Ms. Tam offered four general guiding principles that she’s used to build success with the companies she’s led (you’ll recall that Ms. Tam had previously led Nike, Reebok’s Retail and Apparel Division, and Aveda) and others she has guided. They are:
- Tell the Truth
- Make Partners
- Make Big Mistakes
- Die by Your Own Sword
Marilyn shared a fun visual exercise that shifted the conversation to perspective. For those of you that weren’t with us, I invite you to take a look at the image below. What do you see?* (answer below)
And, perspectives must have shifted, based on the testimonials that have filtered back to the Roundtable’s office:
“Wow! Just wow is my reaction.” ~ Ted Castle, CEO, Rhino Foods and Reaction Panelist
“Dr. Tam’s speech spoke directly to my heart” ~ Scholarship Seat Recipient
“I was moved by Marilyn. Really got me thinking about what my north star is.” ~ Executive
“One of the two best speakers I have ever heard!” ~ Executive
“You inspired me and your talk was with me all day and this morning and hopefully each and every day. Thank you so much for what you do. Your impact is tremendous and reverberates exponentially, I am sure of this” ~ a note received by Marilyn Tam.
After Ms. Tam and panelists Kyle Dodson, Champlain College, and Erica Schramm, VEIC, wrapped up the “Becoming Leaders of Influence” session, one other perspective offered was from Patrick Burke, Principal, South Burlington High School who asserted the event’s importance with, “You have to keep doing these!” Eighty students from Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Champlain College, Community College of Vermont, Saint Michael’s College, University of Vermont and South Burlington High School were in attendance of that session.
Thank you all who took the time out of your busy schedules to join us. Thank you also to our very generous sponsors – Green Mountain Power; Champlain Investment Partners; Comcast; FreePressMedia; KPMG; Sugarbush Resort; Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences; Chroma Technology; Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew; Gallagher Flynn & Co; Smugglers’ Notch Resort; VEDA and VSAC for making the Roundtable’s only fundraising event not only possible, but successful!
* There’s both a frog and horse in the image above. Once you are able to see both, you simply can’t not see both. Similarly, we are capable of understanding others’ positions if we are willing to do so.