In my classes and talks I often mention “those guys,” a mysterious, magical group of men and women that people will often refer to as the ones they’re waiting for to solve a given problem, large or small. True values-based leaders, however, recognize that THEY are “those guys,” and they take it upon themselves to find meaningful solutions and make our world a better place.

A great example of stepping up and becoming “those guys” recently came to my attention through a student in one of my Kellogg EMBA classes, Max Barr of EMBA113.

Max called me last month and explained that he and several of his colleagues in the Dominican Republic (DR) wanted to help family and private companies find opportunities to participate in the capital markets. The idea was to find sources of equity capital by taking companies public that could help to accelerate growth rates and increase liquidity for family businesses as they pass from one generation to the next. This is an enormous opportunity not only for the companies, but for the economy as a whole as it could significantly raise the living standards of the 11 million citizens of DR.

Max asked if I would be willing to visit DR and participate in an economic conference they named TURN, the idea being for DR business executives to “take the wheel and ‘turn’ it to a more profitable future for everyone in the country.”

To accomplish these impressive goals, LEADERSHIP will clearly be a major requirement, as well as educating the media regarding the benefits of capital markets, and educating business executives on the importance of achieving trust and transparency by establishing independent boards of directors and strong corporate governance.

Santiago Camarena (leader of Alpha), Tomas Fernandez (leader of Valumonics), and I put on a series of presentations for the media and business executives in two cities, Santo Domingo and Santiago. Both Tomas and Santiago have a strong passion for making a difference for the better in the DR economy.

We received an incredibly positive reaction. It was clear that the media was interested in understanding how these initiatives could impact the DR economy and the steps necessary to make them happen.

It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the importance of values-based leadership and my four principles: self reflection, balance, true self confidence and genuine humility. Or in my Spanish-speaking friends’ words: autorreflexion, equilibrio, autoconfianza, and humilidad.

Senior executives from family businesses (including members from multiple generations) were focused on understanding the process of setting up independent boards and how to implement effective corporate governance.

For those of you that know Spanish, here some pictures and links to the TURN event.

PS: Since “balance” is always key, Max arranged for me to arrive in DR a day before the conference with my daughter, Shannon, and we spent time at a fantastic beach at Punta Cana!!