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We merely want to live in peace with all the world, to trade with them, to commune with them, to learn from their culture as they may learn from ours.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower 

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Over the past decade, BCIU’s Chief Operating Officer Caitlin Noone has worked closely with honorees as a key collaborator for BCIU, so we spoke with Noone to hear what she’s learned from them about leadership. “It’s great to shine a light on this caliber of leadership. Our honorees share common ideas that align with President Eisenhower’s vision for global leaders,” says Noone. “Leadership isn’t a job. It’s a duty and a responsibility to give people inspiration and purpose.”

With over 13 years of experience working with government and business leaders around the world, Noone offers the following leadership insights from BCIU gala honorees:

Integrity is the supreme quality of leadership

All BCIU gala honorees emphasized the role of empathy and humanity in driving progress within their companies and collaboration around the world. Noone was particularly inspired by 2011 BCIU honoree Sergio Marchionne, who called for cultural integration that is based on mutual respect and integrity. “Sergio reminded us that the human aspect of leadership is the most challenging but also the most critical. He said the essence of leadership is the personal assumption of the moral duty to be proactive in building our future,’” says Noone. “So when you are immersed in strategic plans and spreadsheets, remember that human lives are attached to every movement of a cell.”

It’s bigger than you and it’s bigger than right now

Effective global leadership also embraces long-termism. In 2012, Carlos Slim shared with the BCIU audience what a friend once told him: “It is important to leave a better country for your children, but it’s more important to leave better children for your country.” Sustainability and long-term progress require investing in people across a whole host of needs, from health to education to jobs. “As a leader, you need to understand that what you do now affects the future,” says Noone, “and decisions made today must be done with a long-term lens.” That’s how we build society to be continuously stronger tomorrow than it is today.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Marillyn Hewson in 2015 and Ajay Banga in 2019 focused their remarks on partnerships and making the biggest possible impact together. Banga called this global ecosystem the network factor: “An infrastructure of partnerships, pooled knowledge, complementary strengths.” It’s built on trust and the idea that we are far stronger and capable of achieving far more when we work together rather than apart. That’s really what BCIU is all about, says Noone. “Brainstorming on solutions, fostering relationships, and making connections to help solve big problems.” Especially now, no organization or person can do it alone. Partnerships must be built around shared values and tailored to combine and multiply impact.

It comes as no surprise that for BCIU it all comes down to making an impact around the world. “I use these lessons a lot in my own leadership at BCIU to help drive our evolution,” says Noone. “With the right values, such as integrity and empathy, as your compass, you can trust the process of evolution and change, let go of fear, gain some serenity, and lead with an openness to bold, new ideas that can engender great outcomes.”

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