Having one truly great experience in a day is special…last Monday, I had three in Philly!!!
1) First, I had the privilege to be a keynote speaker for the Securities Industry Institute (SII) at The Wharton School on the topic of values-based leadership. The chair of the conference, Heather Crist, (an SVP with Wells Fargo Advisors) was one of my Kellogg students from EMP ’78. We had a great, interactive session with lots of insightful discussions.
2) Then, my good friend Khalid Ali (Kellogg 2014) took me to meet Kenny Gamble, a truly remarkable gentleman and a great example of a values-based leader. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, let me help you out: Kenny, along with his partner, Leon Huff, has written, produced, recorded and published more than 3,000 songs, including 15 gold singles and 22 gold albums such as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “Me & Mrs. Jones.”
Even more impressive to me though is that despite his fame and wealth, Kenny gave up his affluent suburban lifestyle thirty years ago to move back with his wife and children to the deeply depressed South-Central Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up to rebuild the area. Since then he has founded or helped to build many organizations for the purpose of lifting up the African-American community.
Kenny and I had a great discussion, and he explained how rather than just talking about the issues, he decided to become one of “those guys” who would actually do something about it. Said another way, rather than “watching the movie”, he wanted to be “in the movie”. His operating company, Universal, has been immensely successful in improving the quality of life for thousands of people. The company is also one of the largest African-American led businesses in Philadelphia, employing nearly 650 professionals. You can read more about Kenny’s work here.
3) And of course, a trip to Philly would not be complete without a Philly cheese steak! So Khalid took my daughter, Shannon, and me to what is considered one of THE VERY BEST Philly cheese steak spots: Jim’s Steaks (since 1939)!!!!
I am off to teach in Hong Kong and Jakarta….so more to come!