Archive for February, 2011

Great Leaders Do Surprising Things

My son is a junior at The Ohio State University, and he forwarded a letter to me he received on Valentine’s Day from E. Gordon Gee, the charismatic and omnipresent President of Ohio State.

It was obviously a communication to all students, but still it was unexpected.  It was affirming to the students, it evoked pride, and it was simply a surprise.  I wanted to share it because I think it demonstrates what great leaders do:  they stay in touch, they tap into deep emotions and pride, they communicate in authentic and sincere ways, and they inspire people.  E. Gordon Gee gets this, and this letter is just one more example.  Here it is — enjoy!

Dear Students:

Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day for declaring one’s affections, and so I send this note to let you know how much I appreciate each and every one of you.  Our numerous campuses create one University with a huge heart, and I see evidence of your caring at every turn.

On this Valentine’s Day, I want to celebrate your incredible spirit, which covers every corner of Ohio.  I love the spirit that I see this winter as we cheer on the Buckeyes in the “Nuthouse” at the Schottenstein Center, or spend evenings at Woody’s in the Ohio Union.  Your enthusiasm warms a brutally cold February.

And now, I issue a challenge:  Smile.  Even if you are having the worst day ever, I guarantee that it will lift your mood, people will smile back, and eventually your day will not seem so challenging.  Just try it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

E. Gordon Gee

Categories: Business, Life Philosophy, Marketing

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