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The Journey to Character-Driven Leadership


October 20, 2016

The 2016 Next Generation Leaders (NGLs) arrived in Washington and have completed the first training module. It was inspiring to meet such accomplished, passionate, and motivated leaders from all over the world. Each day of the module, we learned why we were on this leadership journey and created a learning environment that was open and encouraging.

We discussed how important our values and ethics are to character-driven leadership and to the sustainability of programs, companies, and organizations. We had the opportunity to meet with multiple influential and successful leaders including U.S. senators, CEOs, and U.S. government officials who shared with us their leadership journey—all discussed the importance of values and ethics. We had the privilege to meet with Senator McCain, Chair of the Senate Arms Services Committee, and gained insights on how to lead in a world that is full of uncertainty and complex challenges. We also met with Ambassador Marc Grossman and Senator Jon Kyl, who offered invaluable advice on the lessons they learned working for the federal government.

We examined leaders from all over the world, both living and those that have passed, but all left a legacy that changed the world. We walked up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and discussed the importance of how President Lincoln used his values to lead the United States during a difficult and conflicting time. We walked through the “Mountain of Despair” to see the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sketched in the “Stone of Hope” to better understand how he encouraged all citizens to strive for the values of justice and equality.

I have learned so much from this first training module. I look forward to using what I have learned as I go to my placement organization in Washington and work with survivors of human trafficking and ensure that some of the most vulnerable populations have the ability to live in a country that values their rights as human beings. All of the 2016 NGL’s will continue the journey to their placement organizations to share knowledge, apply what we have learned in this training module, and step outside our comfort zone to learn in new environments. As General Freakley and Ambassador Polt reminded us during the first training module – “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can!” and remember that true leaders are character-driven.

DISCLAIMER: McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization that is part of Arizona State University. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent an opinion of the McCain Institute.

Publish Date
October 20, 2016