Leadership Development Influences: Kevin Carr
All leaders begin somewhere. Along the way, they accumulate a few pivotal relationships and experiences to whom and to which they are able to trace their development as leaders. There is no denying the importance of these people and situations—leadership development influences—in the formation of leaders.
As you would expect, the same thing is true of our team members at Rozzi and Associates. We thought we’d capture some of the highlights of our most significant leadership development influences in a series of posts.
First up is Kevin Carr. Here’s what he had to say about the most important leadership development influences in his life.
Rozzi and Associates: Who has made the most profound impact on you as a leader?
Kevin Carr: Lisa Lewis was one of the first people to make a deliberate investment in me as a leader. I met Lisa when I was an 18-year-old college freshman. She was the head of my university’s recruitment program and I was looking for a job to help pay tuition. So, I interviewed for a job. Not only did she hire me, but she also placed me in charge of a team of student employees and handed me a travel itinerary that spanned nine months, multiple states, and thousands of miles.
Lisa entrusted me with what I considered to be a huge responsibility. I remember driving up I-95 somewhere in Virginia that summer and thinking, “I’m in charge of five people, a vehicle and trailer, and thousands of dollars of equipment. And, I have a road atlas, a daily stipend, and people depending on us to be where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there. Plus, we have to do a good job or we might damage the university’s reputation.” I remember adjusting my grip on the steering wheel as the weight of my responsibility settled onto my shoulders and thinking, “I guess this is what leadership feels like.”
Lisa is a fantastic leader and she remains a good friend. She trained me thoroughly, made sure expectations were clear, gave me the resources I needed, and then let stepped aside and allowed me to lead. She saw potential in me—a squirrely 18-year-old kid—and I’m so grateful she gave me allowed me to lead.
Rozzi and Associates: What experience has most profoundly shaped you as a leader?
Kevin Carr: I’ve always been more interested in team sports than individual sports. So, it’s no surprise that the experiences that have shaped me most profoundly have been team experiences. I identify my experience with one particular team as the one that most profoundly shaped me.
I had an opportunity to work with a small group of leaders to lead every aspect of a community festival our organization wanted to host for our community. Six of us worked like crazy for six or seven months planning the first festival. The team had a sky-high level of trust and mutual respect. We each took full responsibility for our respective components of the event; I was in charge of volunteers. We worked hard. And, we had a ton of fun. It was extremely gratifying as we huddled up during the fireworks display to share high-fives and to congratulate one another on a job well done.
In subsequent years, many of my leadership efforts have drawn from what I learned through that experience. And, I’ve tried to help other leaders experience the rewards of true teamwork.
Rozzi and Associates: What one thing do you most hope to pass on to the leaders you’re developing?
Kevin Carr: Just like Lisa saw potential in me, equipped me, and empowered me to lead—supporting me well along the way—I hope to do the same for the people I’m privileged to develop. The one thing I hope to pass on to the leaders I’m developing is the gift of seeing their potential and supporting them as they step into it more fully.
Let’s continue the conversation. Think about the people and experiences that have been most effective in shaping you as a leader. Maybe you have emerging leaders around you. What are you doing to develop them? Maybe you would benefit from having someone who is dedicated to your development. At Rozzi and Associates, everything we do revolves around our desire to help good leaders become great. Get in touch. Let’s talk about how we can support you in your development.