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Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead: ‘Leadership is a choice’

Saturday, October 4, 2014  
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"Leadership is about what is on the inside and not outside,” according to retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, keynote speaker at the NEW Chicago learning event, Oct. 2 at the Drake Hotel. "Leadership,” she noted, "is a choice.”

The decorated U.S. Army veteran, who shared her personal story and thoughts on leadership and teamwork with 200 NEW members, said the most important thing a leader must know is her strengths and weaknesses. "Figure out what is your strength and what is your weakness and then surround yourself with people to balance you,” Halstead advised. "Develop people to take your place. As you mentor, you create a legacy.”

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Leaders create an environment where people want to connect with you, she said. "Trust has to be a characteristic and a competency. Look yourself in the eye and see your soul, or you can’t connect. If people stop listening to you, you lose their vote.”

Emotion in leadership is good, she added, but advised NEW members to "pause, breathe and don’t respond for three seconds when you are emotional.”

As a leader, never forget to give credit where credit is due, she added. "Success is a team sport. Put others before yourself. A leader never makes it all about them.”

A successful leader is accountable and authentic, Halstead said. "Be your best and push others to be their best. [Ask yourself,] ‘Are you pushing each other?’ Go beyond success and be significant.”

During the event, NEW Chicago Co-Secretary Polly Rowland of John B. Sanfilippo & Sons-Fisher Nuts, was recognized with the "Best of the Best" award for her NEW Chicago regional service.

Organizations sending large delegations to the event include Accenture, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods Group Inc., Tyson Foods Inc. and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

NEW Chicago Programs Co-Chair Angela Joyner of ConAgra Foods
welcomed more than 200 Network members to the regional event.

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