The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

AmeriCares CEO Curt Welling '71 Tu '77 Facilitates RLF Session on "Leadership and the Importance of Perspective and Expectations"

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Curt Welling ’71 Tu’77, President and CEO of AmeriCares and Chairman of the Board of the Rockefeller Center, joined us for our last session of the fall entitled, “Leadership and the Importance of Perspective and Expectations.” Welling opened with a brief background on his career and AmeriCares’ current work helping the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. He used his career experiences, from investment banking to non-profit work, to frame his message throughout the session. Knowing that the Fellows are currently deciding what opportunities to pursue next year, Welling noted that this session would be important in bridging the transition from college, “where success is defined for you”, to the workplace and outside world “where you need to be the architect to define your own success.”

To successfully understand this transition, Welling took the Fellows through a few concepts that he sees critical to gaining perspective. First, Welling highlighted to need to process data efficiently and effectively, but also how data relates to self-image. To do this, he suggested that people must recognize the filters they put on themselves and the filters that others use. He highlighted that if you can get someone to talk about how they see themselves, you will gain insight into how they process. Fellows gave examples of how they processed data in past academic, workplace, and social situations. Welling wrapped up this section of the session by stressing that the enemy of self-awareness is being in a bubble. Reading the opposition and maintaining an open mind can allow a person to gain better perspective.

Next, Welling led the Fellows through the “Ladders of Inference.” The ladders give a structure of what informs decisions. This framework allows you to step back during decision-making and discover how solid your context actually is. Welling highlighted the need to take a step back and examine decisions as an essential skill to being a great leader. Fellow Sarah Wildes ’13 remarked, “Sometimes the decision making process can be a bit too quick. Understanding the Ladders and the importance of taking a step back seems critical to ensuring you do not make a poor decision.”

Welling closed the session by telling the Fellows that they will all make great leaders someday.

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