Last Thursday I attended Women’s Leadership Day as part of the LPGA Kia Classic and sponsored by the Servant Leadership Institute.
I’m not a golfer, and felt only slightly out of my element, but I do love the opportunity to hear from accomplished women who lead with confidence and passion.
This event didn’t disappoint.
In fact, I was blown away with the level of customer service – a true testament to the concept of servant leadership.
The Servant Leadership Institute (SLI) was founded by Art Barter to “transform organizations from the inside out” by inspiring and equipping leaders to “foster an environment of trust and respect” and help their people “find meaning and purpose in their work.”
Every single person I met from the Servant Leadership Institute exuded those principles. They were living, breathing testaments to Art’s vision of heart-centered leadership.
(1) Above and Beyond – Diana Aaron
Diana Aaron is the Charitable Fund Director for Datron Holdings, a parent company of the Servant Leadership Institute. For weeks she was, as you can imagine, juggling a thousand details for this event.
In the midst of all that, she took the time to provide me a list of SLI guests so I wasn’t flying blind at an event where I knew no one.
That kindness, above and beyond what was expected, helped me ask better questions and be more engaged so I could be a better guest.
That is servant leadership.
(2) Work is Love – Carol Malinski and Lisa Courtemanche
Each of them spoke about their work and the people they work with in the way most people describe family, passions, and joy.
That is servant leadership.
(3) Personal Growth Sets You Up For Success – Robin Swift
Robin Swift, the President of SLI, spoke on a panel of distinguished women about how sports, particularly golf, has played a role in their professional lives.
Robin spoke passionately about personal growth and development and how that directly translates to professional success.
It was clear her experience of servant leadership, both for herself and for those she leads, has transformed the way she lives and works.
If the love of a parent could be seen through the eyes of a leader, you would see it in Robin’s eyes.
What Servant Leadership Really Means
During my last tour as a 20-year Naval Officer, I facilitated leadership development courses at the Center for Naval Leadership.
I have both a personal and professional understanding of the meaning of servant leadership. Veterans tend to know what it means to love your people so much you’d put your life in danger to ensure their care.
Servant leadership has nothing to do with titles and positions – it has everything to do with sacrifice and service.
To serve – it’s a verb. It’s an action, and it’s an act of love.
The Servant Leadership Institute served me, the LPGA, and the attendees at the Women’s Leadership Day with love.
Icing on the Cake
Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, I had the opportunity to sit in a box seat at the 18th hole with the day’s dynamic keynote speaker, Colette Carlson – one of the funniest and most professional speakers I’ve seen.
Her delivery is superb, no doubt about it.
But it is her warmth, authenticity, and kindness that make her a force to be reckoned with. She has everything you’d hope to have in a keynote speaker and guest – intelligence, wit, and class.
Art Barter Is Servant Leadership
Finally, thank you Art Barter for your gracious and generous hospitality.
You and the organization you have built with grit and grace, are a testament to what it means to lead with your heart and soul – to be a true servant leader.