Saturday Spark #21
By Susan Hunt Stevens, Founder & CEO
This weekend, like many of you celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, I am spending time with friends and family, enjoying cookouts, watching a LOT of youth baseball and feeling very grateful, in spite of our current challenges, to be a citizen of the United States of America. I’ve also managed to sneak in a few moments to read.
In that spirit, today’s Saturday Spark is dedicated to three of the most inspiring things I’ve read recently that exemplify courage, leadership and purpose.
- A Sense of Purpose. Larry Fink is the CEO of Blackrock, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. When we look back at what influenced the shift of the role of business in society, his CEO letter from 2018 will likely be cited by many as the tipping point: Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate. His 2019 letter was equally powerful.
- Justin Amash’s Op-Ed this weekend when he announced he was leaving the Republican Party. Despite being a government major, I had never read George Washington’s farewell address, which warned of the dangers of partisanship and which Amash cites extensively in his comments. It’s hard to believe these words were written in 1796: “It (partisanship) serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.” If you just want to read George Washington’s words, they are here.
- Rep. Elijah Cummings closing remarks at the Michael Cohen hearing. It’s an 8 minute video and a faster read, but the most important part came when he said, ““You come saying I have made my mistakes, but now I want to change my life,” he said. “And you know, if we … as a nation did not give people an opportunity after they’ve made mistakes to change their lives, a whole lot of people would not do very well.” It’s a reminder to us all of how critical forgiveness is, not just for those who make mistakes. Science shows that the act of forgiving someone lowers the risk of heart attack, improves sleep, cholesterol and reduces pain.
Did you read something this weekend that inspired you? I’d love to hear about it.
Quote of the Week: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
What is Saturday Spark:
As the leader of a purpose-driven company, I’m challenged daily to ensure our company is “walking the walk” and that I’m personally leading with purpose and impact at the forefront. The result is that I read, think, and learn a lot about the intersection of purpose, impact and leadership and have a few successes and a lot more “lessons learned.” I realized that my own insights may be helpful to other purpose-driven professionals if I took the time to reflect each week. If you find this inspiring, practical or helpful, I’d be honored if you shared it with your colleagues, your families and your friends.
Read Previous Week’s Spark: How Leaders Can Drive Better Financial Wellbeing