Leadership for the 21st Century - Part I


In his keynote address, Sanjiv Chopra, MD, FACP, explored "concepts of leadership," emphasizing that "leaders exist in all walks of life and that by following certain principles each one of us can lead in a meaningful way."

Dr. Chopra invites us when we "conjure images of great leaders and leadership moments, who comes to mind? What stories resonate?" Invariably, the epitomize one or more characteristics found in the acronym LEADERSHIP.


Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

- Abraham Lincoln

Listen 100 times, ponder 1000, speak once.

- Anonymous

Empathy“You don’t have to be Indian to appreciate Mahatma Ghandi. You don’t have to be British to appreciate Winston Churchill. You don’t have to be South African to appreciate Nelson Mandela.”

- Dr. Shandiv Chopra

AttitudeA reporter sees a man carting a load of bricks and asks him what he does for a living. The man responds, “Can’t you see I’m carrying bricks on this hot, muggy day?” He sees a second man carrying a load of bricks and asks him the same question. He responds, “I’m helping build the most beautiful cathedral in the world.” For Dr. Chopra, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest in Myanmar since being elected Prime Minister in 1990, is the essence of a leader's attitude. Her plight has been a rallying cry for human rights groups the world over, and for her "non-violent struggle," she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991.

In awarding the prize to Suu Kyi, the Nobel Committee cited "her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.”

Dreaming big

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

- Albert Einstein

In addition to discussing Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Dr. Chopra also recounted the tale of a 17 year old Texas high school student who was once assigned to write an essay about his biggest dream. The student went into great detail about the horse farm he wanted to own one day, but is given a failing grade because his teacher feels that this is a “totally unrealistic dream.” The teacher offers to allow his student to rewrite the essay, but the student declines. “You can keep the F. I will keep my dream.”

25 years later the teacher calls his former student and asks if he can bring his current class to the farm for a tour. When they arrive, the teacher makes an announcement to his students: “I want to apologize. With this man, I was a dream stealer. I shall never do it again.”


Where there is no vision, the people perish.

- King Solomon

Managers do things right, leaders do the right thing. Managers are for today, leaders are for tomorrow. And yet, we need both because oftentimes you can be one, but not the other.

- Dr. Sanjiv Chopra


Great leaders reflect on key events in their life, or a single transformative moment that they use as motivation for good, powerful change.

Here, Dr. Chopra discusses Jaime Jaramillo, founder of Ninos de Los Andes, an organization dedicated to rescuing Columbian children from life in the sewers of Colombia. Jaramillio's transformative moment came when was changed one day when he saw a homeless girl run into the street for a box that had fallen from a passing vehicle. As she picked up the box, looked at Jaime and smiled. Just then, a truck came over top of the hill and killed her. The box was empty.

Click here for Part II

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