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Leading With Your Values


This week I had the amazing opportunity to be the keynote speaker at our Intermediate Education Center (IEC) which serves students in grades 3-5 for their year-end Leadership Celebration. Since the students matter to me so much, rather than my usual winging-it, I took the time to write down my thoughts.

I wanted to share with you what I said in my speech. I hope you are inspired to reflect on your values and how you put them into action and/or I hope you take the time to be there to support others who are newer to the journey you're already on.


Before I forget, I just want to say thank you to

  • The Lighthouse Leadership Team for creating this amazing event

  • Mrs. Rodriguez and Mrs. Krecisz for their leadership of the IEC

  • The IEC teachers for all of their work daily to make the IEC a home away from home for your students

  • Most of all thank you to the students for your hard work!

It is an honor to be here today to speak with you and celebrate that you have made it to the end of the year.

I recently participated in a training session where I was asked to look over a list of nearly 100 values (like respect, family, and loyalty) and identify which of them were my Top 10. That was not an easy task. With so many to choose from, how do you decide? I looked over the list and started starring the ones that stood out and eventually narrowed it down to 10.

What I didn’t realize, however, was that I would have to take that list and cut it in half. Instead of 10, I now needed to identify which were my Top 5. Yikes. How do you let go of ideas that matter to you? It wasn’t easy.

Then, we were told we would have to cut two more so that we now only had our Top 3. I’m sharing this because one of my Top 3 values is reflection. I am someone who values taking the time to think about how things have gone.

I have reflection on my mind today since we’re at the end of the year. By this time of the year, most of you are probably tired, proud of what you accomplished, and ready for the summer. You should be. The past couple of years have been unusual, to say the least. That said, since reflection is on my mind, I am actually thinking about how you felt when you started school this year. I’m going to guess that some of you felt a little excited and some of you felt a little scared. Some of you weren’t sure what to expect and some of you felt all of these emotions and more. I’m going to tell you a little secret. As adults, we feel those same emotions too.

One of the major reasons we’re here today is to celebrate leadership. In Lewiston-Porter, we believe that everyone is a leader no matter how young or old. We believe that we can all learn from each other. So, in the spirit of both leadership and reflection, I wanted to share this video with you of people giving advice to younger people. There is so much that I love about this video. I love that some of the advice we hear from older people is wonderful advice no matter what age you are. Another reason I love the video is that all of us, no matter how old or young, have ideas that can help others.

(For the record, we stopped the video at 3 minutes, 10 seconds before the 93-year-old said the word "hell.")

Now that you’ve watched it, think about what advice you would give someone coming into the grade that you’re leaving. What should they know that would help them be successful? As well, what advice would you want as you are thinking about going into the next grade level? For some of you, that even means going next door to the middle school.

As a wrap-up here, I want to give you advice from Stephen Covey, the creator of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He said, “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” So, while I’m asking you to be leaders who think about what you would say to others, I’m also asking you to be leaders who take action to show others you mean what you say. So, go out there and lead!


I loved the students' reactions to my words and the video. When I asked the students to think about their values, they raised their hands and wanted to share. When I asked them to think about what advice they would give, they wanted to share. When they heard the 9-year-old say, "Find out your babysitter's weakness and then use that against them" and the 18-year-old say, "Don't let your mom throw away your Legos," they cheered. It was so appropriate and energizing. May you find inspiration from these students!


P.S. Once again I want to draw your attention to the Buffalo community who experienced unwarranted hate not even a month ago. While many people rally around a community in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, it's important to step up when the immediacy of the impact starts to wane. That's now. Therefore, my Catch of the Week is another call to action for the Buffalo community. This is not a time for pity or kind words. This is a time for action. There are so many ways to help.

Please click here for numerous opportunities to help through donations of time, talent, or treasure no matter if you're in the Buffalo area or you are looking to send love our way.
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