The Power of True Leadership
Marva AllenMs. Marva Allen is CEO of the Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe in Harlem. An author and lecturer on entrepreneurship, Allen's contributions to leading business growth initiatives span 25 years. She is past president and a co-owner of USI, a multi-million dollar technology firm and is the recipient of numerous business awards, including the IBM & Kodak Excellence Award, the MMBDC Diamond Award, and Crain's Business 40 Under 40.
I was exhausted by the assault and battery of this past political election. Battered and bruised by political tomfoolery, I had vowed to watch HGTV for the rest of my days carefully plotting my escape to a simpler life.
It took a natural disaster in New York to jolt me back to patriotism. As Sandy leveled parts of our beloved city, I felt the utmost pride in our government’s handling of the situation. I began again to appreciate their real purpose far from annoying the people of their constituents. And what a difference good government can be to citizens. I harken back to Katrina and the debacle that still exist in New Orleans and also remember, with a still heavy heart, the devastation of Haiti–a country that is still trying to find a way out of no way. Where was the leadership?
In barely two days New York is standing, not quite running but standing with pride and solidarity. What was the difference? Preparation and a deep care for people over things from the top down. Our President respected the advice of those charged with monitoring our meteoritic health and acted with decisiveness upon good, sound advice. He didn’t pontificate on cost or deployment; he stood in readiness empowering the states that would be most affected by letting them know he had their backs. As a result we had organized chaos…the best of what we could have expected.
Leadership is a huge responsibility. Many want to lead but few can. Many mistake the ability to lead with the ability to make money, no matter how ill-gotten. Many think that making unbridled money is the ultimate demonstration of leadership. Well, I am here to suggest otherwise. In fact, I will go as far as to say that they are almost the direct opposite of each other. Let me be clear. Money is a good thing. I want to make a lot of it, if not to plot my escape permanently, to take a jaunt now and then to elevate my world perspective. Intention is what matters. Money affords quality of life, freedom and choices. It can be made while being good and doing good and therefore qualifies as money well deserved. On the other hand, making money can be selfish, predatory, plundering and the root of all evil. When people lie, cheat, sacrifice their citizens health, wealth and peace of mind just to make more money, the results of those intentions can lead to a callous disregard for humanity and in the end, the downfall of a nation.
As this election drew to a close we saw the desperation of the shadow elites whose intention it is to control every aspect of the American Democracy. They will do anything to save money even at the expense of lives….Think FEMA comment made by Bush’s man here….Let’s not forget the ‘disposable’ people of Katrina, the casualties of war, the homelessness and joblessness created because of corporate greed and the blatant use of racial and gender stereotyping to destroy that which was fought so hard for throughout our collective history.
Leadership matters. History has shown us egos masquerading as leadership…think Hitler, Ferdinand Marcos, Saddam Hussein and a host of others here and the consequences thereof. Throughout this election we have seen dignity, leadership, respect, solidarity and a true appreciation for the tapestry of cultures and beliefs that make up the American People. A tapestry that in fact makes America great…and sadly too, we have had to come face-to-face with evil, bullies, bad hair super egos, bigotry, complete disregard for people, insensitivity so mind boggling and fear mongering so vitriolic that we have all had to take pause. Clothed in the “God Bless America” slogan these wolves are so heinous that we should surely vet their citizenship by asking them to show us their birth certificate. They could not possibly be in the resilient America you and I know and love with such hidden agendas.
I take my hat off to the politicians in New York and New Jersey. You are absolutely right. People come before politics any day. As much as it petrifies me to think otherwise, I’m going to rest in the knowledge that the power and might of free thinking Americans who have fought for and won so much in the name of our democracy, will show their leadership at the poles. We are not Zombies. Not even close. We are about to occupy our lives and make our voices heard in a big and resounding way.