Bennis, Torre advise campus leaders at summit

By Sade Tavangarian

“You don’t start out saying you think you want to be a leader,” Major League Baseball player and manager Joe Torre (Andrea Torre ’14) said at the 2011 Student Leadership Summit March 12. “Once you understand people are looking to you, then you’re a leader.”

The keynote speaker was Torre. Lecturer Warren Bennis, who is often referred to as “the leadership guru” also spoke. He has written 30 books on the subject of leadership. 

The Financial Times acknowledged one of Bennis’ books, “Leaders,” as one of the top 50 best business books of all time.

“Success and accomplishment is all about having something very important to you,” Torre said. “You need to want, you have to want to do it.”

During his 17 years as a player, Torre was selected as an All-Star nine times.  In his 26 years as a manager, Torre was twice named American League Manager of the Year.  He recently was asked by the commissioner of MLB to act as the Executive VP of Baseball Operations.

Bennis shared his four main points of leadership, which included the significance of followership, contextual intelligence, admitted error and respect. Bennis said he had googled leadership and 14 million definitions popped up.

He said, “no one has the answer but we all have ideas [about leadership.”]

Director of Student Affairs Jordan Church was responsible for the event.

“The Harvard-Westlake Student Leadership Summit is simply an opportunity for the student leaders on this campus to gain some formal leadership training from faculty, alumni, parents or community leaders,” Church said. “Earlier this year I started asking guest speakers to participate in this event.  Most of these sought after guests want the opportunity to speak to young adults, but they are so busy that matching schedules becomes the main problem. Fortunately, both Bennis and Torre were available and willing to speak at the leadership summit.”

Gaby Cohen ’11 and Chris Holthouse ’11 also helped Church to organize the event, Church said.

“Joe Torre was really interesting and he had a strong presence and taught me a lot about leadership,” Community Council member Ryan Lash ’12 said.