Leadership is About Changing the World


YLDP class of 2016 with Houston Food Bank CEO Brian Greene

By Chetan Raguthu

HOUSTON: When  Brian Greene, the CEO of the Houston Food Bank, took the time out of his busy day to talk to us about leadership, it was an unforgettable experience. It is very rare when CEOs take time out of their busy day to talk to a group of people especially a group with so many youth.Our program, the Youth Leadership Development Program of Houston, is dedicated to helping all juniors and seniors in the program thoroughly develop leadership skills and gain attributes used by accomplished and well developed leaders around the world. The final session for this year took place at the Houston Food Bank Conference Room on Saturday April 23.

The session was so much more than a talk about leadership. Greene talked to us about the various aspects of his job and the leadership roles he is in during the daily operations of Houston Food Bank. He oversees the control operations and delegates different tasks to the dedicated team at the Houston Food Bank. The chief officers are Stan Edde, Beth Tanner, Amy Ragan, Matthew Toomes, and Betsy Ballard. Together this team runs all the operations under the Houston Food Bank. This team has accomplished a great deal in the past few years. The Houston Food Bank alone provides over 74 million meals a year.

In such a large organization, a lot of planning, teamwork, and effective leadership is required. In our seminar, we learned about the changes Greene has experienced as CEO of the Houston Food Bank. His vision was simple when he started: “end hunger.”

He continuously worked to make sure everything was running smoothly. Along the way, he realized things had been relatively the same since he started. Everything was running great, but there was something missing. He realized change was missing from the overall picture. Leadership is about about dealing with and bring positive change. Management is about keeping things in order and working productively and efficiently. While everything was orderly, there were things that could be done and results to be achieved. In the everyday world, we need both a strong leader who is a visionary and a strong manager, who will be able to implement the plan for the vision.

The blend of both is what makes great leaders today. In every strong organization or company, this trend is evident in the executive management. It is not enough to be able to lead a group of people towards a vision, because sometimes consistency is needed not change. The lesson we all learned is simple: the most effective administration is a blend of a great leader and a great manager.