Everyone is a leader, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs told young professionals and others tuning in to a “Taking Charge When You Aren’t in Charge” virtual event presented by Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce’s West Under 40, Thursday, Oct. 29.
“We are so excited to talk about how young professionals can influence their communities and organizations, even when they don’t have a formal leadership role,” said Chloe Pool, West Under 40 chairwoman and communications manager of First Utility District. “We have been looking forward to this event for a long time.”
“What a great conversation,” Vrondelia “Ronnie” Chandler, Project GRAD Knoxville executive director, stated in an e-mail sent to FWKCC president/CEO Julie Blaylock after the program. “Kudos to you all.
“Thank you for your leadership on behalf of the amazing kids in Austin-East and Fulton,” Chandler stated. “You have no idea how empowering it was for them to hear their own words amplified in such a high-profile setting. Today you poured deeply into the lives of some future leaders. Never forget that.”
Pool said FWKCC recently partnered with Project GRAD, which strives to increase graduation rates among high school students. Adrian Hall, the virtual forum’s moderator, said many high school seniors attended the Oct. 29 forum.
“One of my favorite authors, Brian Tracy, says, ‘Up to 80 percent of your successful lives is not based on technical skills or your knowledge or ability about your job; it’s based on your personal relationships,’” Jacobs quoted. “That’s really what life is all about, and that’s what politics is about, too.
“If you’re on any sort of team or involved in a company in any way, in many cases, your job is to, in some way, persuade people to look at things from your point of view, and persuade them you’re right and it’s in their best interest to join you and follow you,” he added. “To me, that’s what leadership is all about.
“To me, being mayor is the best job in politics because you are able to get some things done, which you can’t do if you’re in a legislative body ” Jacobs continued. “In the mayor’s office, I get to decide what happens.”
In answering questions about being a leader, he advised, “There is no certainty in life and you have to be flexible while, at the same time, pursue what you want to do.
“My life has been more defined by failures than successes,” Jacobs said. “Things happen beyond your control. You have to be flexible to deal with it.”
“Don’t let disappointments tear you up,” he added. “Your dreams will come about, but not like you think they will.”
Jacobs said it is not the setbacks that define a person but how he or she deal with and comes back from them.
“Be determined, be persistent but be flexible,” he said.
He also advised listeners, “It’s not about you; it’s about your value to your employer – what can you do for them?”
He also advised, when talking to a coworker, to start with positive, constructive criticism to make change.