Leaders: Think BOLD! Be BOLD!


I’ve had the honor to share my life experiences over the past two years in speaking with college students and educational professionals. This has provided me an additional framework of confidence that was needed to persevere in times of turbulence. Based on my core message, my hope has been and continues to be to inspire the future generations to Think BOLD! Be BOLD!

When an initial request was made to present, and as most of us do, I started the creative process by writing down my thoughts. I then decided to base my presentation on a comment made by James Mantika during a public convening focused on the workforce of the future.

At the meeting, another member asked how they should respond or act on a particular topic at hand. I will never forget that Mr. Manyika was the only person standing in front of his Zoom camera and, to paraphrase, he said that we must be bold during these times. In other words, we don’t have time for inaction. I believe I have had this philosophy all my life. At one point, while working at Microsoft, I was given the nickname NIKE. Apparently, I used to say, “Let’s Just Do It!” quite a bit.

We’ve seen some crazy times since March of 2021, to say the least. Some believe that the pandemic is over while others take the recommended CDC precautions. Some are excelling in their career while many others are struggling to put food on their table. We’ve even seen divisive behavior while others are bringing people together. All these opposing beliefs or actions have been at their height.

Wrapping up 2021, does not mean next year will be better but I’m surely going to give it a go and hope that each of you do as well. So, Think BOLD! Be BOLD! is ever so important. Bold does not mean to be rude, obnoxious, or disrespectful. Instead, it refers to being kind, gracious, respectful, and confident. Acting in this way sets the stage for us to persevere but in a positive way.

I do love acronyms for some reason and, of course, I had to create a deeper meaning to the BOLD philosophy. The words Beacon, Observe, Leverage, and Drive for results resonated with me for the foundation of the BOLD discussion. I hope it does for you as well.

My belief is that it is critical to be the Beacon for others. Helping guide them in their journey no matter where they and you are in that process. This means you may be their superior or even report to them, all human beings need guidance at times in their lives.

Observe means to look at everything closely. I’ve often heard people say, “It’s just a job”. Well, in my opinion, that person should just go ahead and quit now and get into something where they are happy and will be engaged. The “It’s just a job” mindset will not produce a leader mentality nor a happy existence. Observing is to look outside of your role and to understand how it affects others. Others could entail the person next to you, your department, or even the department that you interact with most. Asking oneself how our behavior, words, and actions affect others, the company, and its processes, and profitability are tantamount to overall success.

Leverage is focused on one’s resources and network. Leverage does not represent that any benefit to the relationship should be one way. Leveraging your network is a two-way commitment. Think about the last time you may have reached out to someone in your network, and they asked how they could help. Now look at it as a continuous networking opportunity with a paying-it-forward concept. When there is someone in need who has not asked you, take the time to make a connection for them.

Lastly, we all love results. Driving for results is key to one’s success whether that be in our career or personal life. Write down or verbally communicate what you want the results to be. Keeping on track and having milestone wins will be encouraging during a sometimes-difficult time. This is the foundation to be a leader in whatever role you may be whether entry or executive level. Please remember concentrated and heartfelt efforts will result in much reward.  

Working with Universities, Industry, and Students together we invest funding and resources in industry sectors that are key to America’s economic growth. The Kolena Group explores the equitable and meaningful work-based learning activities embedded in a students Orchastrated Career Transformation. This alignment ensures students graduate college and career ready to become entrepreneurs or business operators since they are so critical to the economic development as contributors to innovation and new job growth. The integrated programs of study below connect the dots between what students are learning and how they will use those skills in a future career.

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