His smile pulled me in like a magnet. When Greg Cunningham, the Diversity and Inclusion leader at U.S. Bank shook my hand for the first time, I knew he was special. Last Friday, guests at the Good Leadership Breakfast were treated to a magnetic keynote speech, by a non-traditional “banker” who came dressed in black jeans, a black sweater with a white shirt, and black polka dot tie – an outfit that was completed by white Puma tennis shoes. His outfit presented a perfect backdrop to show off his smile – a smile caused by what he calls his “super power.”
After years of traditional schooling, cultural influence, and corporate training, it was the movie “Akeela and the Bee” – underwritten by Starbucks – that helped him find his super power. “I was moved so much by the courage in that movie that I spoke up in a staff meeting in ways that I’d never done before. And in that moment, my boss looked at me. He saw the real me, and that moment changed my life.”
His super power was the courage to embrace the diversity of experience and perspective from his childhood, and use it in his professional adult life. The change was instant. “Today, there is no space between the person I am at work, and the person I am at home, outside of my job,” he beamed. That authenticity is the fuel that drives his work in creating an environment where people can thrive together at U.S. Bank.
Smiles All the Way Around: Goodness Pays
Greg’s message set the scene for one of the brightest moments yet at the Good Leadership Breakfast. We revealed our newest, most comprehensive book project: How Goodness Pays, by giving the first 200 published books away to our guests.
There were smiles all the way around the room as we introduced the writing team: writing coach Sean McDonnell, researcher Jeri Meola, and co-author Paul Hillen. Our intention was to demonstrate our gratitude for the love and encouragement we felt along the way, and to equip people to help us build momentum for the message. My smile was bigger than usual, because we had a full room of people intent on helping us spread goodness, because goodness pays.
You can get your copy – and one to “gift” to another – by following this link.
You can listen to the podcast from Greg’s speech here.
Good leaders find their authentic self and use it as their super power for their leadership. And they live a happy life, spreading goodness, because goodness pays.
I often describe myself as an author, speaker, and executive coach. That’s what I “do.” Greg’s message has me wondering “What is my super power behind my smile?”
So, I’m asking you: what’s the super power behind your smile?