The first day of the S2G Summit, centers on bringing entrepreneurs in the S2G portfolio together for a day of conversation, learning, company building and idea generation. Our entrepreneurs’ careers and life goals embrace a broad sense of responsibility extending beyond themselves to a common good, whether it’s soil health, preservation of natural resources or healthier, more sustainable food systems. As investors, we strive to create the framework and resources to help our entrepreneurs and their companies (and missions) succeed. We hope to take the incredible knowledge base across our relationships and foster an interactive environment that encourages the evolution of ideas into something that is actionable and multi-disciplinary.
As part of this effort, we focused the conversation during our first day of the summit around leadership. We explored a diverse range of leadership methods, with innovative and insightful leaders who shared strategies and tools to think creatively and holistically about building teams and organizations.
Tony La Russa, who guided major league baseball teams to three World Series titles, shared with us his approach to personalizing leadership. “I believe in being very personal, up-close with our players. I really believe in a lot of intermingling and making people personally accountable to each other. In other words, you care for your players.” Incorporating wit and humor, Mr. La Russa’s stories reveal a leader who understands the players, brings them together and balances flexibility with accountability. He is effectively a catalyst on the field who interprets the actions of the players, disseminates valuable intelligence about those actions and coordinates the team’s responses. Mr. La Russa’s speech reminded us that understanding the personalization of goals and ideas can serve as a great motivating factor to drive results and make an effective leader.
Yvonne Camus shared a story nothing short of incredible. She was part of a rookie Canadian team that defied the odds and completed a 12 day, 300-mile race through the jungles of Malaysia. The overarching theme of Ms. Camus’ inspiring speech was how our mentality affects our outcomes, and how we can use a combination of enthusiasm, resilience, and effort to reach our goals and perform at the highest levels as a team. One of her most memorable claims was that “success happens twice -once in your mind and the second time in reality.”
Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods and S2G’s Executive-In-Residence, delivered an insightful and inspiring address. He shared seven key points on effective teamwork and personal leadership.
Be strategic and be decisive. Speed matters and urgency matters.
Talent is your way forward. Find, cultivate and develop good talent. The greatest accelerator of business is talent.
Harness the power of constructive confrontation and collaboration
Build a healthy culture
Develop yourself as a leader based on who you are, stay true to yourself. Authenticity, transparency, humility is the currency of leadership today.
Humanity, the linkage between people matters. EBITDA comes from humanity, not vice versa.
Lead with care for others.
We want to thank our speakers for sharing their insights and leadership lessons with us and our entrepreneurs. It was inspiring to be part of such a vibrant community of entrepreneurs on their path to transform organizations, industries, and the world.