Archive for November 2016

Learning about Leadership through Life – with Duke Energy NC President David Fountain

David Fountain, Duke Energy NC President (Photo from PR Newswire)

David Fountain, Duke Energy NC President (Photo from PR Newswire)

Since I often present and talk about leadership via my career development and diversity consulting practice, I always enjoy talks about leadership. Two of the more enjoyable series here in the Raleigh NC area are the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s C-Suite Perspectives and the Triangle Business Journal’s Power Breakfasts. (See a list of blogs with links of previous sessions I wrote about at the bottom of this blog.)

I recently attended the Raleigh Chamber’s latest C-Suite Perspectives on October 21st with the speaker being David Fountain, current North Carolina President of Duke Energy. I enjoyed David’s unique personal approach to his leadership lessons in that he chronologically recounted events in his life and the leadership lessons he learned during each time period.

Lesson 1: The Importance of Clear and Concise Expectations. Growing up in rural Guilford county, his father and all other male relatives before him achieved the highest rank of “Eagle” in the Boy Scouts, and he knew the same was expected of him.

In group rope climbing, the lead climber is indeed responsible for those behind him or her (Photo from Getty Images)

In group rope climbing, the lead climber is indeed responsible for those behind him or her (Photo from Getty Images)

Lesson 2: You are responsible for those behind you. In college, he was involved with Wilderness Leadership trips, and toward the end of his college days, he was leading the trips. He knew that in leading complex rope climbs, he was indeed responsible for those behind him.

Lesson 3: A leader is responsible for mentoring others. After college in his early career days, David was fortunate to have a number of effective mentors who were truly interested in his professional and personal growth. And now as a senior leader, he is likewise responsible to mentor others as he was mentored.

Lesson 4: The importance of sticking with a team. And then a little later in life, David had a few daughters and ended up coaching a girl’s basketball team. That first year they lost every single game going 0-10. But the girls genuinely liked each other, stuck together, committed to growing skills and teamwork, and three years later won their league championship.

Lesson 5: The importance of resilience. And here David shared of a very recent event in his professional life – Hurricane Matthew hitting North Carolina and 1.5 million customers losing power. Several locations included entire substations underwater from the flooding. But Duke Energy committed to the task, people worked long hours, consumers were patient and the state demonstrated reliance and bounced backed.

I thank David for his fresh human personal approach to sharing his leadership lessons.

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Previous Leaderships blogs starting with the most recent:

May 2016: Seven Insights on Leadership, Success and Diversity from Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good, C-Suite Perspectives

Feb 2015: Raleigh Chamber of Commerce CEO Harvey Schmitt shares about leadership and collaboration, C-Suite Perspectives

May 2014: Exploring Leadership, Talent Development and Innovation with a Local Senior ABB Executive, C-Suites Perspectives.

March 2014: Leadership Advice from a Senior Lenovo Executive, C-Suite Perspectives

Nov 2012: Career and Leadership Inspiration from Machelle Sanders of Biogen, TBJ Power Breakfast

2016 Transgender Day of Remembrance – Guest Blog by Elaine Martin

The Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, started in 1999, about a year after Rita Hester, a transgender woman and activist in Boston, was found murdered in her own apartment.

The Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, started in 1999, about a year after Rita Hester, a transgender woman and activist in Boston, was found murdered in her own apartment.

I have cried enough at TDOR memorials. The Transgender Day of Remembrance, or TDOR, as it is often called, is an annual memorial ceremony held on November 20th for transgender people who have lost their lives to violence in the prior year. Most major cities have TDOR memorials that occur at sundown, or later, so that the memorial candles can burn in the darkness. There is no formal protocol for this memorial which is fitting to the diverse ways in which Transgender people lead their lives. However, a benediction and “the reading of the victims’ names” is most common to all. Most often, the dreadful methods by which they lost their lives is mentioned as well. These are read by the assemblers as they progress around a circle.

If you are Jewish and have visited the US Holocaust Museum, or if you are Black and have visited the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, or a Veteran at the Arlington National Cemetery or many other museums that memorialize the persecution or loss of lives by people just like you, then you have some sense of the emotions at TDOR memorial ceremonies.

The 2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance held at the Old State Capitol Building in Raleigh

The 2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance held at the Old State Capitol Building in Raleigh

At first, you just listen. The setting is somber. It’s a memorial after all. But, ever so slowly you begin to shiver in the dark. Your sense of the victims’ struggling in futility to survive, their hopelessness at being overwhelmed by their vicious attacker, their knowledge that they were losing their lives, wells up and overcomes you. These are your sisters, brothers and everybody in-between. All gender non-conforming people who did nothing more than live their lives as best they could, just as you do. And, then the emotion breaks through. Your cheeks are wet, and you are sobbing. Your tummy is tight and you look around the circle and see parents, allies, and families who have assembled in remembrance of the losses they have personally experienced. They are sobbing too. And, so, there is a sense of comradery in sharing the grief that is at the same time comforting and disturbing that we must experience this together.

Yes, I realize that there are all kinds of victims of all types of violent crime. But, these are people just like me; victims of a crime targeted out of fear, bigotry, and prejudice. These are crimes and victims known by very few that rarely are solved, leaving murders on the streets to victimize people, just like me, again.

I have cried enough at TDOR memorials.

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Elaine Martin is a transgender activist / speaker, a former board chair of EqualityNC, retired banking executive, and former business owner who has joined Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer to provide deep expertise around organizational transgender diversity and transitioning employee coaching. She can be contacted at elaine@totalengagementconsulting.com

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