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Businessman advises students on leadership

Anna Boarini | Sunday, January 30, 2011

A visiting entreprenuer said his true passion is promoting business careers that have a social impact.

Dr. Mark Albion, one of the co- founders of Net Impact, a non-profit business focused on global student leadership, delivered the keynote address for the Greater Good Lecture Series at the Mendoza College of Business Friday.

After watching his mother battle cancer and overcome a fatal diagnosis, he said he decided to seek out what his real purpose in life was. Throughout her battle, he said his mother continued to run her socially responsible textile mill.

“Her connection to her work and her impact was so phenomenal,” Albion said. “She knew why she was here — I didn’t yet know that.”

Albion has written seven books, some of which made the New York Times bestseller list, was a professor at Harvard University and has founded multiple businesses.

Throughout the lecture, Albion talked about what he considers a fundamental question of leadership. Business leaders should be asking themselves why are they here and what is their purpose as leaders, he said. Many people focus too much on what career they want rather than who they are and how they can use their passions to become a better business leader.

In Albion’s book “True to Yourself,” he writes about how leaders are there to serve others. He said that to be a good leader, three characteristics are needed: competence, commitment and compassion.

“A competent leader is an example of the values that you want to see your employees exhibit,” Albion said. “It does not mean knowing everything.”

He said business leaders are still human beings and they need to have a commitment to the growth of their people, not just their business. A compassionate leader has to look beyond their company’s impact on the industry and look at the impact it has on the world.

“You have to look beyond the borders of your own company and strive to do what is best for the world,” he said.

Albion talked about MBAs struggling with monetary desires and how to involve their passions with a business plan. He said he wants people to develop a destiny plan.

“Instead of being a conflicted achiever — that is, still trying to figure out who they are — you should be a passionate striver that has combined their passion with a business plan,” he said.

Albion said figuring out who you are as a person and what you want to accomplish in life will create a better leader and businessperson.

“The way you make your way in the world is just by being you,” he said.