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Local business leader speaks at Saint Mary’s

Megan Loney | Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Business leaders must be passionate to realize their potential and they should be guided by Christian values, Perry Watson, the owner of Lexus of Mishawaka, said Tuesday during a seminar hosted by the Saint Mary’s Class of 2013 Board at 7 p.m. in Stapleton Lounge.

“You have an advantage by being surrounded by these Christian values,” Watson said during his lecture. “I will say to you that it is the most important thing I have embraced in my leadership.”

“You have no idea how fortunate you are to be at a school with a religious foundation,” he continued. “Because what is wrong with our world today is corrupt leadership. There are no ethics or moral compass. That’s what’s wrong with the world today.”

Watson said he worked as a Xerox salesman before working his way up to manager. He bought a Dodge dealership when the business was failing, and turned it around.

Class of 2013 Board President Monica Murphy met Watson last year at a youth council meeting in South Bend where he gave a talk on leadership. She said she was inspired by his sound advice and thought it could benefit others.

Leadership is not about always wanting to be a leader, but it is about being the best you can be, Watson said. Sometimes in your life you are chosen to lead, he added.

During his talk, he asked students in attendance to gauge how much of their potential they use.

After hearing low percentages across the audience, he directed questions to the students.
“What kind of fire do you need lit under you before you begin to get with it?” Watson asked.   “Whom are you waiting on?” 

“My point is that you are cruising with the pack. That’s not what it’s about,” he continued.  “It’s about tapping into your potential and bringing it forward,” Watson said.

Murphy said she thinks events like this are important for all students, not just the freshman class.

“A lot of students here at Saint Mary’s have leadership ability,” she said.  “I think it’s important that all students are able to hear how adults have applied their leadership ability to their lives.”  

Class of 2012 Board member Murphy Dorn agreed.

“Seniors and juniors are going be going off into the world and can benefit from leadership talks as well,” she said.