Earlier in the month, I had the opportunity to attend the Executive Leadership Council - Mid-Level Manager's Symposium. In its 25th year, the annual conference is a professional development experience for over 1,000 high-potential, high-performing corporate managers and leaders. In this post, I'll share some of my highlights and key takeaways. Hopefully you can take something away from this as well.

The ELC opens channels of opportunity for the development of black executives to positively impact business and our communities.

Key Takeaways

  • The execution of an idea can be as important as the idea itself, and the people who drive the execution are, in effect, the critical success factor.
  • Have a tribe around you that holds you accountable and sees things in you that you don't see in yourself.
  • Critical feedback for high potentials is important.
  • Internships are powerful, especially for those from under-represented minorities.
  • People who build their personal power do things outside their comfort zone.
  • Game changing leaders are: self-aware, resourceful, never complacent, resilient and have grit.

The theme of the symposium this year was - The power of game changing leadership. It was apt then that Robert F. Smith, an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist, shared with us in one of the sessions.

Robert F. Smith


Below are a few of my memorable quotes from the conference:

There is a lack of representation of African-American/Black in leadership and it's not due to a lack of ability but due to a lack of opportunity.
Give yourself permission to grow into greatness.
If you get invited, act like you belong there.
Business is about competitive advantage. Blackness is a competitive advantage.
If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. - Shirley Chisholm

This symposium provided me with an intentional leadership development opportunity to meet with other like-minded individuals and grow professionally. I'll be using everything I got from this experience to continue to develop professionally. Thanks to Microsoft for the opportunity to attend.