Do You Have a Passion for Leadership?

Well, I've ruffled a few feathers at all the institutions I've led. But I think that's part of leadership. - Robert M. Gates

I am a graduate of Texas A&M University—fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1994!  The Aggie Code says that Aggies don’t lie, cheat, or steal…or tolerate those who do.  It’s fitting that we consider the Aggie code following a review of the Ten Commandments over the last ten months.

Fifteen years ago, Robert M. Gates became the 22nd President of Texas A&M.  As President, he made progress toward the university’s goal to become one of the top 10 public universities by 2020.  “Vision 2020” focused on improving student diversity, increasing the size of the faculty, building new academic facilities, and enriching the undergraduate and graduate education experience.

During his tenure, Gates saw increases in minority enrollment, encouraged the addition of 440 new faculty positions, and initiated a $300 million campus construction program.

Gates detailed his experience leading Texas A&M—as well as his experiences leading the CIA and serving as Secretary of Defense—in his 2016 autobiography entitled A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service.  Gates’ track record at Texas A&M was impressive, but I was particularly impressed when after being named Secretary of Defense by President George W. Bush, he remained in the role under President Obama.  Certainly, he has some leadership lessons worth learning!

Click here to read more about Robert Gates and his passion for leadership.

Staying Open to the Possibilities

This week, I celebrated another birthday—my fifth since I started this blog after the Government Shutdown of 2013 (2016 Post; 2014 Post; 2013 Post).

In practically every speech I deliver to leaders, my final tip is to make a plan…but stay open to the possibilities.  From graduate school until I first joined NASA’s Johnson Space Center, my dream job was to one day become the HR Director.  In fact, for more than 15 years, my Individual Development Plan listed HR Director as my target position.  Then in 2012, I recognized that I needed to heed my own advice and “stay open to the possibilities.”

I began to explore other potential career options, even serving as a front-line leader in our Engineering Directorate and following my passion to start this blog about leadership.

Click here to learn more about my journey.