UVA Darden’s Fairchild, Young Leaders Inspire With Tales of Global Leadership at Presidential Precinct Forum
By Dave Hendrick
What does global leadership mean in 2016?
For a trailblazing young newspaper editor in Nigeria, it means pursuing groundbreaking investigative work on a shoestring budget. For a state assemblywoman in Malaysia, it means advocating for an elected body that more closely resembles the population as a whole, and in which elected women are not naturally presumed to be their male counterpart’s wife or assistant.
The University of Virginia community got a close-up look at these and other faces and iterations of leadership on the global stage at the Presidential Precinct’s 2016 Global Leadership Forum, an event that brought together leaders from more than 45 countries for discussions on global challenges and leadership in the 21st century.
At a panel moderated by University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Greg Fairchild, four young global leaders shared their stories of leading through often adverse circumstances, and shared insights into the leadership lessons they’ve uncovered in their careers.
“I hope that they might ignite you,” Fairchild said in introducing the panelists, “that they might inspire you and that they might find ways that resonate. But, also, that they challenge you.”
Han Win Htat, a Fulbright scholar and master of public health candidate at Johns Hopkins University, spoke of working in a public health organization in Myanmar, a country with an extremely rudimentary health care system.
Htat described the urgency that his work took on after a category 4 cyclone hit the country, further fraying distressed social services.
Noting a common theme of managing with extremely limited resources, Htat said he drew upon his five core values of integrity, vision, team, humility and professional will to persevere in a time of crisis.
“Leadership is about how you are evolving and how you are making the world into a better place. If you feel helpless, help others,” Htat said. “If you are free, use your freedom to help others.”
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, the editor of Punch, the largest newspaper in Nigeria, said that as the leader of the organization, she felt a duty to empower those around her, and said she saw the most notable results when able to successfully tap into the passions of her employees.
“My concept of leadership is not leaders and followers,” Ogunseye said. “It’s leaders and other leaders. Everyone on my team is a leader. “
Ogunseye was also honored at the event with the 2016 Young Leader award.
Dr. Marie Lina Excellent, a Fulbright scholar and physician who has worked extensively in Haiti, spoke about forging a leadership path when you are an outsider in a community, as she was when directing an HIV and AIDS clinic in the country after the 2010 earthquake.
Attempting to educate her largely illiterate patient population on the connection between cervical cancer and HIV, Excellent developed effective visuals to demonstrate the need for preventive screening.
“We need to merge our expertise and our means to implement practical interventions for a healthier world so that future generations will thank us for at least trying,” Excellent said.
Finally, Yee Ling Chua, a state assemblywoman in Malaysia, shared her experience of serving in a country in which 51% of voters are women, but make up only 10% of the elected representatives.
Chua said figuring out how to advocate for more women to participate in politics “is always my call.”
“Continue to create awareness and help others to rethink, reimagine, reconstruct the gender perspective,” Chua urged forum attendees. “Leadership is about giving your commitment.”
The event also included the awarding of the inaugural Edward R. Stettinius Jr. Prize for Global Leadership to former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Named in honor of the former UVA student, U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Stettinius served as rector of the University from 1946 to 1949.
The Stettinius family has multiple Darden School connections, as well. Edward Stettinius Jr.’s son Wallace Stettinius (MBA ’59) is an active member of the Darden community and lecturer at the School, while great-grandson Reilly Monroe (MBA ’12) is also a graduate and great-grandson Will Stettinius a member of the Class of 2017.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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