Two Leaders I admire (Discussion post for Cornell University Change Leadership course)

Share examples of two or three people you’ve encountered in your professional or personal life whom you would consider to possess a high degree of credibility. What made them credible in your eyes? What did they do to build and/or maintain their credibility? What lessons can you draw from these encounters that you can apply in your professional relationships to build and maintain credibility?


Over the years I have met many wonderful people whom I believe have a high degree of credibility.  First John Stanton, CEO and founder of the Running Room, this is a large chain of retail stores specializing in Running.  What makes him credible is perceived honesty and warmth, he cares about people, but it is more than that. John’s passion for running goes beyond just selling running gear, he believes in running and that anybody can run.  He maintains this attitude and travels all Canada and the world to motivate people to run.  His talks are not about his gear why you should buy his merchandise, it’s about running and why he runs, why we should run.  He goes out of his way to be available to anyone who wants to talk to him.  His leadership in sports and fitness has made running assessable to anyone who has the heart to run no matter what pace or the distance.

My first encounter with John set me on a path that has lasted a decade now.  The first time I met him was in Halifax when I bought his book and went over to have him sign it.  He asked me what distance I was running, I replied “Just a 10K”, his reply “You are not running just a 10K, you are running a 10K.  This is your race, you trained for it, it is as important to you as a marathon or half marathon race is to those who are participating in them.”  To this day, when talking to other runners, who say that, I repeat those words.

Another credible person was a colleague from my work, Paulo Ranzani, he is the ultimate professional when it comes to information technology.  Again like John, he shares honesty and warmth, you can count on him to help on a task, teach you how to do something if you don’t know how.  The type of person whom if he makes a promise keeps it, no matter how hard he has to push his agenda or work.  He is passionate in all his activities; he does not take half measures when there needs to be a change or action.  When he leads people follow, but throughout all like John he remains humble.

The two examples above, one from my personal life and one from my professional life, share many traits.  One is passion, whether they trying to get a nation to run or make changes to health care in the Northwest Territories, both men are passionate about the changes they want to make.  These gentlemen are both honest, if you ask them a question they always answer honestly, if they say they will do something, both will do it.  Both men inspire other people to reach for higher goals. Both are warm, empathetic, inspiring and caring, both personally and professionally.  Both are very charismatic as well, and both are dynamic in nature able to change as circumstances require them too.  These are traits I aspire to, and hope in term inspire others to do the same.


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