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Leading with Values

September 26, 2018
Anne Meree Craig
A participant in the Stand-To Vet Leadership Program shares how the program's speakers and her classmates remind her to "keep her compass."

"Daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about hard things.” – Brené Brown

I was hungry to get to our Nation’s capital after the events of 9-11 and will never forget my father’s words before departure, “Don’t be black to one person and white to another; it will catch up with you.”  It wasn’t until after leaving DC a decade later, I assessed how deeply the core value of authenticity served me during my time there.  

Brené Brown defines value as a way of being or feeling that you hold most important.  Values are the intangible things that when they exist in your day they fill you up; and when they are missing, you feel the gap.  Values enable us to lead with principle and help us navigate difficult times.

I am blessed to be part of the inaugural Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program at the Bush Institute and values have been a part of our discussion in each module. Whether it was President Bush instructing us to know our values and how humility and inquisitiveness enabled his time in office, or simply listening to General McChrystal and how he led by example and empowered the enterprise to make decisions at every level – it’s awe-inspiring. 

Our class guests have shared their faith, their counsel, and how their lead genes and core values drive their sequencing, their strategy, and decision-making processes.

While none of my classmates would argue my inquisitiveness, I admit I leave every module hungry for answers.  How in today’s environment do we lead?  How do we resurrect the goodness of the lessons learned and shared and make an impact on today’s world?  How do we ensure ego is checked at the door and authenticity and dedication to values and principle-based leadership win the day?

This month, in module four of the program, our class was blessed to hear from Dr. SreyRam Kuy, a Mother Teresa-like presence, who exemplifies grace and gratitude. She shared that she closes each day with three questions to herself: “Did I make an impact? Did I treat people well? Are the people I love happy?”

Yes, that’s right, are the people I love happy?  How often do we stop and close with this? 

I am grateful to the Bush Institute for giving me the opportunity to reflect and spend time with world-class people to not only include our guests but my classmates.  They remind me to keep my compass, find my north, and lead with values because our country needs us.

Anne Meree Craig is one of 33 individuals in the inaugural Stand-To class. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of The COMMIT Foundation, an organization working to create serendipity for high-performing post-9/11 veterans through mentoring workshops, a one-on-one transition program, and corporate education. With her involvement in Stand-To, Anne Meree wants to reorient veteran services organizations by ensuring they focus on the quality of their services rather than the quantity served.