A Chance To Make Change

During the Leadership Albuquerque 2020 retreat, I had the opportunity to hear from our vise-chair, Debbie Johnson, speaking on the topic of Leadership. She has been the Director of Economic Development and Entrepreneurship for CNM and owned a marketing firm with her [late] husband Rick Johnson, amongst many other high marks. With a history like this, I was sure she has had a lot of experience with being a leader.

In a very traditional presentation, Debbie planned to share ideas and quotes, not using slides, but in more of a conversational way. A conversation is not the way that people tend to teach anymore, and it was refreshing to have something so engaging. Here is a recap of the quotes I captured and what I took away from them.

  • “Be a student of leadership.” – Be humble in knowing that being a leader is a constant state of learning.
  • “Remove the chip on your shoulder.” – Being collaborative will get you farther than being competitive in the workplace.
  • “Have an entrepreneurial mindset.” – Learn to approach challenges with an open mind and be willing to look for answers in new ways.
  • “You learn as much from your peers as you do from great leaders.” – Your relationships with those you work with will prove to be invaluable.
  • “Failure is a fabulous teacher.” – Failures are inevitable, but there are lessons to be learned in every experience that can only make you better.
  • “Use data to drive your decision making.” – It’s the best way to make forward movement. However, remember that data is about your head, but leadership is about your heart.
  • “Learn to see grey.” – There are always two sides to every story, and it’s never black and white. Try to put yourself in other’s shoes.
  • “There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.” – Knowledge is the information you receive or impart, while wisdom is actually caring about it.

Debbie also provided her list of the 8 P’s of Leadership to keep in mind down the path of leadership:

  1. People
  2. Passion
  3. Principles
  4. Purpose
  5. Persistence
  6. Patience
  7. Partnership
  8. Philanthropy

Last, Debbie also provided 8 inspirational quotes:

  1. “Just do it.” – Phil Night
  2. “The buck stops here.” – Harry Truman
  3. “Know the difference between power and influence.” -Jay Stoll
  4. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ” – Maya Angelou
  5. “Ignore the egomaniacs and the nay-sayers; focus on what can be done and with whom.” – Kathie Winograd
  6. “When I was born, the doctor told my parents, ‘I’m sorry.’ But that’s because he didn’t know how awesome I am!” – Tim Harris, Restaurant owner with down syndrome
  7. “The only hand you’ll ever need is at the end of your sleave.” – Charles R. Cunningham
  8. “Your will to exceed is your biggest asset.” – Clifton Taulbert

I’m hoping to get to know Debbie a bit more with my time in LA2020, and that I may learn to use some of her wisdom.


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