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Leadership symposium at UNG draws international experts

Honor2Lead Maxwell
Dr. John Maxwell speaks to hundreds in person and thousands via simulcast during Honor2Lead: Military Values in Business, held at the University of North Georgia.

Today at the University of North Georgia (UNG), leadership experts spoke to a virtual international audience of thousands about the critical role of ethics in their own fields and in general business during Honor2Lead: Military Values in Business.

President Bonita C. Jacobs welcomed those attending in-person and via simulcast and said that, as the university's president, she is "honored to lead," and that as a leadership institution in the University System of Georgia and as The Military College of Georgia, UNG is the ideal platform to bring together academia, military and business to talk about leadership.

Gen. Terry
Lt. Gen. James Terry speaks during Honor2Lead.

UNG, with a mission that includes developing students into leaders for a diverse and global society, is one of only six senior military colleges in the nation. Honor2Lead was developed and hosted by the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership, a unit of UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business, and was simulcast to colleges, high schools, businesses, military bases, and military Reserve components, including the Georgia Army National Guard.

Keynote speaker Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, UNG alumnus and commander of U.S. Army Central, spoke about what leaders must do if they are to build successful organizations.

"Leaders must continually gauge their environment, and must maintain a dynamic leading style that is built on personal values," Terry said. "In today's environment, it is not enough to fight your way through complexity – organizations must learn their way through. It's also important to spend time in reflection. Reflective time results in less reflexive time."

New York Times best-selling author Dr. John Maxwell told listeners that leadership is something that can be in and benefit every situation.

"Everything rises and falls on leadership. However, leaders are built daily, not in a day," Maxwell said. "Leadership begins with me being the person I need to be before I ask others to be the people they need to be. All followers, though they may not ask the questions, essentially want to know three things from their leaders: do you have my best interest at heart, can you help me, and can I trust you? Likewise, good leaders need to consistently ask those questions of themselves: do I have people's best interest at heart, can I help them, and am I deserving of their trust?"

Welcoming generals

President Bonita C. Jacobs, center, along with Dean Donna Mayo

and Billy Wells, vice president for executive affairs, welcomed the

three military generals participating in Honor2Lead. From left,

Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of U.S. Army Central; Maj.

Gen. Stayce Harris, commander of the 22nd Air Force, Dobbins

Air Force Base; Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard, Adjutant General of the

Georgia Department of Defense.

Maxwell said it is also critical that people believe they can raise up great leaders from the younger generations, and live intentional lives to make that happen.

During the event, the inaugural Honor2Lead Award was presented to FedEx, founded by former Marine and CEO Frederick W. Smith. The Honor2Lead Award is presented to an organization that achieves noteworthy success while maintaining an ethical culture and promoting shared values. The award represents a team that leads with a voice of character, models ethical standards, and acts as a shining example that is worth following. Their values and actions unify the hearts of individuals within its organization, and builds trust with those whom they serve.

Accepting on behalf of the company was Neil Gibson, vice president of corporate communications at FedEx. Gibson joined FedEx in 1999; he has served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, where he led military and civilian personnel in evaluation of new chemical warfare garments and invented key product improvements to wearer safety.

Each speaker from Honor2Lead was also presented with an award during a luncheon following the event. Dr. Donna Mayo, dean of UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business, presented Terry with the AACSB Influential Leader Award, which she accepted on his behalf earlier this week in Chicago.

According to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual global study, there has been a crisis of leadership in recent years. Honor2Lead was created with the goal of demonstrating to audiences – especially the next generations of leaders – how maintaining sound ethics in leadership positions has a profound impact throughout business and professional careers.

In August, UNG announced the creation of the Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, a cross-disciplinary organizational structure at the university to support coordination of academic, co-curricular, career placement, and leadership development programs related to UNG's Corps of Cadets.

Other presenters at the event included Julia Davis, chief information officer for Aflac Inc.; Jay Rogers, founder of Local Motors; and Maj. Gen. Stayce Harris, commander of the 22nd Air Force, Dobbins Air Force Base.

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