What a Leader Does

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By Rohan Chaudhry

HOUSTON: On Saturday, October 18, YLDP students toured the Houston Food Bank and listened to its President and CEO, Brian Greene, speak. The topic of the day’s YLDP session was What Leaders Really Do, and it was aimed at defining what makes a leader different from a manager or a boss.

According to Greene, a leader is someone who can not only turn challenges into opportunities, but also ensure that the environment in which everyone is working remains stable. Greene emphasized the importance of a leader’s communication, as it allows us to better our surroundings and ourselves. The ability to receive criticism and compromise ideas is what makes a leader paramount in any group, be it of a board of directors or of students working on a project. Greene attributed his accomplishments to that ability as it allowed him to constantly keep an open mind throughout his time with the Food Bank. It widened his vision to embrace change and strive to make the greatest impact possible, which is what led to his push for the Food Bank to provide proper, nutritious meals rather than high-calorie junk foods, to his push for the Food Bank to donate extra foods to animal shelters rather than throw them away, and to his push for the Food Bank to install solar panels and recycled materials within its building.

When recalling his time as a simple Food Bank volunteer and as the head of the New Orleans Food Bank when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf, Greene reminded students of the value of ethics and a good character. His advice to act on good intentions rather than personal gain instilled within us a sort of reassurance in ourselves. Sure, our trip opened our eyes to the inner workings of America’s largest Food Bank, but, more than that, it opened the vault to an unforgettable lesson of how we can build ourselves to better serve our community as the leaders of tomorrow.