The Power of Leadership and Storytelling, and 60 Young Professionals

Everyone loves a great storyteller. I, however, am not a great storyteller, but a great story collector. It is a favorite thing to settle into the fringes of a room andobserve; the people, the expressions, the energy, the connecting, or sometimes the lack thereof. Last Friday at the Bon Secours Emerging Leaders Summit in Williamsburg, nestled into the back corner of the room, I had a prime perch to take in the day's stories. Lucky me - and lucky all fifty of the Bon Secours up-and-comers in attendance - the inimitable Christy Coleman of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, and our own hilariously self-deprecating and poignantly on point John Sarvay, were the day's masterful storytellers. The energy quickly shifted in the room and the engagement of the crowd was palpable, as John and Christy shared their stories of personal growth and triumph, underlining that the journey really begins when we first know ourselves; our strengths, our weaknesses, our values. Though I'm not certain that vulnerability was meant to be the lesson of the day, it is the word that best describes what I observed, as slowly, slowly we were offered the opportunity to see ourselves in each of them. Perhaps the place to begin is with that step just before career trajectories are dreamed of, planned and plotted, at the true beginning, with a good close look in the mirror.