Jacki Zehner On Women, Money, and Changing the World  » A Brief Letter to the New Treasury Secretary and Be A Superhero!

November 25, 2008

A Brief Letter to the New Treasury Secretary and Be A Superhero!

The National Council For Research on Women invited me to submit piece in the form of a brief letter to the new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Please find it here. Also Read Sara Gould’s submission and a related article. As I said yesterday I am very excited about the choice as I hear he is a very smart guy and a great listener. He has big challenges ahead of him as these two articles in the papers yesterday point out. Here and here.

I have been thinking a lot about leadership these days, and the failure there of. Eight years ago I left my position running the fixed-rate mortgage trading desk at Goldman and moved to the executive office to help “manage the careers af the firms managing directors.” ( internal memo ) In that capacity I spent a lot of my time on leadership development, and served on the task force from which Pine Street, the firm’s leadership development effort, emerged. We met with countless leadership gurus and I collected stacks of books and articles on leadership but one of my all time favorites was a piece written by Tom Peters in March 2001 called “Rule # 3 – Leadership is Consfusing as Hell.” From the intro…”For the next five years, it’s business on a wartime footing….” doesn’t that feel like now? This is a must read piece. He goes on to put forward 50 leadership principles, with the 49th one inviting readers to submit their own…. here was mine.

“Be a Superhero. Remember what it was like to jump out of bed on those Saturday Mornings so you could rush to turn on the TV to get another dose of Superman, Batman, or in my case Wonderwoman! These characters inspired you to change the world, to do the right thing, to fight evil wherever it reared its ugly head. To be an example, and yet hide your true identity because it was not about personal glory. They never asked “what is in it for me”and they tried not to let the bad stuff get them down. They had a job to do and damn it they approached it with absolute enthusiasn and discipline. Be a superhero!”

We need a lot of Superheros right now and I hope Mr. Geithner proves to be one of them!

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