The Breakfast Club

On Wednesday, September 16th, our moderator Jeremy Gilbert, Director of Strategic Initiatives from The Washington Post asked our panel Paul Berry, CEO/Founder of RebelMouse, Kathy Leech, Executive Director, Corporate Brand & Advertising at Comcast, and John Nitti, Chief Investment Officer at ZenithOptimedia Worldwide about leadership and what being a leader means to them. The panel discussed the need for communication and mutual understanding, the importance of working together as a team, accessibility, positive feedback and the ever-changing workplace standards and adaptations overtime.

Working Together

John Nitti, Chief Investment Officer at ZenithOptimedia Worldwide addressed the role leadership played in shaping his career. Nitti puts emphasis on the importance of ‘rolling up his sleeves’ to get things done, and leading by example. “Everyone works together, not just for him,” said Nitti. “The people you work with are the people you spend the majority of the time with, more than family. You have to treat them well.”

Need for Communication

Paul Berry from RebelMouse stressed the key to being a successful leader, above all is to be honest and collaborative, while being able to recognize and express when there’s trouble over the bridge. Good leaders are not scared to give positive feedback, and by guiding your team over those metaphorical bridges, your team can get past any obstacles and therefore grow together.

Transparency is vital in Nitti’s leadership and communication style. “Understanding the need for communication and being transparent” is a vital difference in today world. Knowing there’s a need for communication and understanding especially within the millennial generation.

Be Accessible and Know Yourself

“As important as your own North Star purpose is, it’s as equally as important for your team to follow their North Star,” expressed Kathy Leech, Executive Director, Corporate Brand & Advertising, Comcast.

Great leaders have passion, by knowing their strengths they are able to shine and have a team that allows them to be their own authentic selves.

Changes and Adaptations of the Workplace Standards Overtime  

Paul placed importance on the ever-changing nature of the workplace and the balance between leading in a time of war and in a time of peace. In times of great change, a leader is like a startup – it’s important for people to trust you to follow you into the wilderness. In a fast paced environment being authentic and thankful for the people you’re supporting goes a long way.

To John, a good leader is flexible enough that things aren’t set in stone and can change at any time. For him a work-life balance isn’t a real thing. Rather, it’s important to create moments of opportunity to be recognized and become better at something, regardless of a position. When you’re working as a team, “there’s no one size fits all.” The next generation is all about speed and efficiency, and he’s not going to slow them down.

Kathy places great importance on investing in the future. It is our opportunity and privilege to invest back in the future – in our colleagues, mentors, and the organization. With the ever-changing dynamic and environment of the workplace, teams and leaders, the reflections and advice from the panel is important for happiness, success and cooperation in any workplace.

Thank you to our amazing panel of industry thought leaders and our sponsor, The Washington Post for a very thought provoking and engaging discussion! Join us on Thursday, November 12th for an always thought-provoking conversation on The Marketing of Politics & Policy.