My Commitment as CEO to Continuous Learning

The April 2024 Harvard Business School WPO Leading Business and Personal Transitions learning cohort

I am a lifelong learner and a strong believer that, no matter what age I get to or stature I reach, there is always room for more growth, personally and professionally. That is why it was such an honor for me to attend the Leading Business and Life Transitions Program at Harvard Business School (HBS) last month. This program consisted of 70 incredible women from all over the world, each with their own unique experience and valuable insights to share with the group. I have to admit, I was a little intimated by the program as I had no idea what to expect, and the preparation had been intense. Once on campus, you were placed in small learning cohorts that met every morning prior to the day’s lectures and discussions. This ended up being one of my favorite parts of the program as it provided an intimate opportunity to share ideas and explore the concepts with my fellow classmates.

Of course, the faculty was excellent. They covered a wide range of topics, but I really leaned in when Dr. Frances Frei spoke on Leading with Authenticity and Urgency. One comment in particular really stood out to me. She said, “Curiosity and judgment can’t coexist.” She suggested that if you find yourself slipping into judgment, invite in curiosity instead. Another theme that was pervasive throughout the week was the importance of trust and the relationship between logic, authenticity, and empathy. Dr. Frei suggested that we all have an anchor and a wobble. Our anchor is what comes to us naturally and our wobble is where we need a little extra support. She challenged us to think about our anchor and wobble and how people experience us. Do they see us as being authentic, empathetic, or logical? Where do we need to lean in versus what comes naturally to us? If you are curious about these concepts, they can be found in “Begin with Trust” by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss May through June 2020.

What surprised me about this week was the vulnerability that was shared by several of the faculty members. They shared personal stories of business successes and personal failures. They implored us not to lose sight of what was important in life, time spent with our families. When you attend a program at HBS, you know that excellent business insights will be shared that will allow you to scale your business, but I was not expecting the emphasis on not losing your humanity in the process. Shikhar Gosh’s willingness to share his personal stories really touched me and reinforced that you can never lose sight of the people that are important to you while you focus on your career.

My time at HBS was time well spent. The learning and the friendships that were acquired are priceless, and I cannot wait to visit my new friends from South Africa soon. My favorite quote has always been by Eric Hoffer, in which he says, “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”. So, here is to another year of learning and to focusing on what matters the most.

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