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December 2013

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By Amy Orlov, Director of Professional Education & Training, GMAC

As the end of 2013 approaches, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on what we accomplished this past year and what we hope to achieve in 2014. This past year I completed a Certificate in Leadership program from Penn State. I began the coursework to better develop my own leadership practice, but it evolved. I parlayed my studies into a monthly blog for our internal GMAC staff on my leadership learnings, which then morphed into PD TO GO in Graduate Management News. Writing has become part of my leadership practice. At the risk of “those that can’t do, teach” comments, I am striving to pass on my learnings to a wider audience in hopes that others might find them useful, or "edu-taining."   

What do I hope to achieve in 2014? I would love to not only educate or entertain, but perhaps inspire – just as I have been inspired by others. I’m sure we all have a favorite quote on leadership. Why not use this end-of-the-year-time-of-reflection to share with you some of my favorite leadership quotes of all time.

  • JFK inspired not only NASA, but a nation, with his “we will put a man on the moon within the next decade.” Can you imagine creating a vision, stating a purpose, or defining a goal that galvanizes not only others, but even yourself, with so few words? Talk about shooting for the moon.

  • Winston Churchill is known for so many quotes, but I am especially fond of his “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Not only has this been used as a mantra by countless entrepreneurs, but I think it speaks to today’s need – in education, in business, in life – for us all to be more tolerant of failure. It is very “in” to say that your company supports a culture of risk, or that you are ok with your child failing in school as long as they tried. But how many of us really, really believe that? Didn’t Churchill so eloquently sum up the need for us to be resilient and optimistic? 

  • “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” This is probably not the first thing you remember Albert Einstein for, but isn’t this exactly what business schools today are teaching? Leadership demands that we approach problems with a sense of innovation and creativity. It is no longer about thinking outside of the box, but redefining the box. 

  • “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” You probably thought your mother was the first to say this, or possibly your second grade teacher. Credit actually goes to Epicetus, whom I’m sure we all remember from Greek philosophy. Especially for the extroverts among us, while we know that successful leadership requires listening as well as speaking, I think we all need an occasional reminder from Epicetus to stay on track.

I would love to hear from you about your favorite quotes and why. Please feel free to share by emailing me at or better yet, post a comment on the PD TO GO blog.

Happy New Year!

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