Wanted: Courage, Compassion and Character
Leadership for the 21st Century
Communicative, collaborative, courageous, compassionate, credible, with character, common sense, a reliable internal compass and the courage to push back against conventional wisdom when required.
All this, and more, characterizes a leader, according to the distinguished panel who spoke about leadership October 11, 2008 at the third annual Roundtable at Stanford, moderated by journalist Tom Brokaw.
John L. Hennessy is Stanford University's 10th president and inaugural holder of the Bing Presidential Professorship, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, former provost and dean of the School of Engineering. Recognizing the need for multidisciplinary research to address today's challenges, he has launched university-wide initiatives in human health, environmental sustainability, and international affairs.
Tom Brokaw (moderator) served for 21 years as the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News.” Beginning in 2004, he became a special correspondent for NBC News, and following Tim Russert’s death, was named interim moderator of “Meet the Press.” Brokaw’s numerous honors include the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award and the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is also a best-selling author. He latest book is, “BOOM! Voices of the Sixties.”
Xavier Becerra, ’80, JD ’84, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992, is assistant to the speaker of the house and the only member from Southern California currently serving on the House Committee on Ways and Means. He has been dedicated to increasing opportunities for working families, improving the Social Security program, combating poverty, and strengthening Medicare. He serves on the Health, Oversight, and Social Security subcommittees and is a member of the House Committee on the Budget.
Carly Fiorina, ’76, is chairman and CEO of Carly Fiorina Enterprises, a best-selling author, and strategic advisor. Fiorina was the first and only woman to lead a Fortune 20 company as the chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company from 1999 to 2005. She led the company through the dot-com bust, the worst technology recession in 25 years, and the controversial merger with Compaq Computer. Prior to joining HP, Fiorina rose through the ranks at AT&T and Lucent Technologies. Her memoir, “Tough Choices,” was a New York Times and international bestseller.
The Honorable Anthony Kennedy, '58, is associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; nominated by President Reagan, he took his seat in 1988. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals by President Ford in 1975, after spending 12 years in private practice in Sacramento. Kennedy graduated from Stanford in 1958 and Harvard Law School in 1961, and studied for a year at the London School of Economics.
David Kennedy, ’63, is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and co-director of the Bill Lane Center for the Study of the North American West at Stanford University. He received his PhD in American Studies from Yale.
Professor Kennedy teaches courses in the history of the 20th-century United States, American political and social thought, American foreign policy, and American literature. He received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Hoagland Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. His book, “Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945,” won the Pulitzer and Francis Parkman prizes.
Jeff Raikes,’80, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leads the foundation’s efforts to promote equity for all people around the world. Before joining the foundation, Raikes was a member of Microsoft’s senior leadership team, and president of Microsoft Business Solutions. Raikes holds a BS in engineering-economic systems from Stanford. He is a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation and is involved with numerous community activities, focusing on education and children’s issues.
Kavita Ramdas is CEO of the Global Fund for Women, the world’s largest grant-making foundation for international women’s rights, awarding $8.5 million annually to organizations in 167 countries. She is also an advisor on global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Ramdas was a program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Ramdas studied international relations at Mount Holyoke College, where she serves on the board of trustees. She did her graduate work in international development and public policy at Princeton University.