Leadership: Off the water and in the office

F&M medalsAnyone who’s participated on a sports team knows that leadership influences a win, and wins come in different ways. In my own experience, I’ve been on soccer and softball teams throughout my childhood, but nothing quite matched the dynamic of Franklin and Marshall College’s rowing team.

We had our victories, our relapses, our challenges and battles. We grew together as a young program, and our coach, Rob Weber, taught us an essential lesson I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life: lateral leadership.

To those unfamiliar with the sport, on the water coxswains give commands, but on land we function like a bee hive. Rigging and derigging, loading the trailers with slings and bow numbers, sorting through nuts and bolts both metric and standard, carrying boats back and forth — Hands on, up over heads — and UP! The calls I used as a coxswain won’t soon be forgotten.

rowing trailer

Our men and women’s team captains were essential, there’s no doubting that. But the responsibilities for a team of 60+ that breaks up into 4s and 8s can’t always be managed by just two people, and so our coach tried showing us a new way of thinking in terms of leadership.


Lateral Leadership:

  • When you see a task that needs to be handled, a responsibility that opens itself, it is your role as a team member to see that it is taken care of. This could mean taking direct control. This could mean bringing it to another’s attention. But what this doesn’t mean is letting it go untouched.
  • When you do take control, and own up to the responsibility that’s presented itself, be ready for conflict. Be ready to discuss openly your role on the team, and others’ roles who could also take charge. All in all, from the resolution of this conflict will come the proper division, and respect for everyone’s capabilities. All it takes is communication, trust, and willingness to open up.

Easier said than done? I’ve asked employees, managers, and our CEO of PBP for their take on leadership as well to try and find what it really takes to be a leader.

Ed Satell, CEO: Don’t be cynical. Focus on the positive by maximizing the values in yourself and others. It takes time to be a leader — you need to be a follower first. Ego is a good thing, but don’t let it shadow the wants and needs of others. You have to be able to take the rotten tomatoes when people throw them. But most of all: Be authentic. At the same time, accept the superficiality in people, it can be a good thing, but know when to focus on the real. Make an environment to address real thoughts.

Nicole Riegel, Executive EducationA leader needs to build credibility and trust with his/her team so that the team will become followers for his/her vision.  Due to credibility and trust the team is willing to take some risks and the leader is allowed a few mistakes. A leader should maximizes people’s strengths for the greater good.

Curt Brown, Editorial: A good leader needs to have a clear vision who leads by example rather than by dictating others.

Tim Walls, PGI/PBC: Set priorities by looking at the big picture rather than getting caught up in the day to day. Know your long term goals, and stay on task.

Cheryl Jordan, Product Marketing: A good leader needs to be a good listener who pays attention to people’s individual needs.

Dannie Evans, Media: You yourself as a leader need passion. Saturate yourself in it, and let it drip onto your employees. Have that passion translate into something everyone can take on as their own.

Jess White, Editorial: True leaders motivate and inspire others to do their best work. They listen to everyone’s ideas, and they’re open to trying different suggestions to improve things for the group as a whole. 

There were many others who gave insight into leadership for me, and it’s clear PBP is a place full of potential for the future of this business and beyond. I thank Rob Weber, Ed Satell, and PBP’s Traditions program most of all for these lessons on forming a constructive team.


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Meet PBP’s 2014 Interns!

intern groupWelcome future interns, co-workers, and internet strangers to PBP’s new batch of 2014 interns! We’re trying to rile up our media game, so get to know us! Follow us on Twitter at @PBPInterns for fun videos, office events, and down-time entertainment.

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Julia Scavicchio, a ’14 Franklin and Marshall College alum from Marcus Hook, PA, will be spending her summer on West side (Best side) in the Editorial department. She studied English and Sociology, coxed for F&M’s rowing team, and wrote for The College Reporter. She enjoys exploring new restaurants, playing video games, and writing fiction.

  • Favorite quote: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” –The Phantom Tollbooth

Ashley Zawistowski, a  ’14 University of Delaware alum from Neptune, NJ, will also be working on West side in the Editorial department. She studied English and Sociology, was a resident assistant, and played intramural volleyball at UD. She loves relaxing on the beach, and can’t get enough of reality TV.

  • Favorite quote: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emily Arons comes from Guilford, CT, and looks forward to graduating from Bryn Mawr College this December. She works on the East side as a marketing intern in Audio Conferences. She is a Psychology major who thoroughly enjoys everything outdoors, taking road trips, and listening to country music.

  • Favorite quote: “So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” –Marilyn Monroe

Chris Mathewson, a rising senior at Franklin and Marshall College, comes from Garnet Valley, PA. Throughout the summer he will be working on the West side in the Product Marketing department. He studies Business, and is a pitcher on F&M’s baseball team. He likes to play sports and hang out with his friends when he has spare time.

  • Favorite quote: “The ability to focus dead on, to sense what lies ahead, is the key to a successful life.” –Anonymous.

Meredith Veit, a rising senior at George Washington University, comes from Warrington, PA.  She will spend her summer on the East side as an Executive Education intern. She studies her specialized major, Communicating Public Culture, and is an e-board member for GW. She rocks the guitar, and likes to craft her own jewelry.

  • Favorite quote: “By seeing that nothingness is the fundamental reality, and you see it’s your reality, then how can anything contaminate you? Nothingness is really like the nothingness of space, which contains the whole universe.” –Alan Watts

Alex Geosits, from Media, PA, is a rising senior at Gettysburg College. He is working as a Progressive Gifts and Incentives intern on East side—where the most fun is had. His major is Organization and Management Studies, and minors in Business and Economics. He is also a member of the football team, and the Philanthropy Chair of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In his spare time, Alex enjoys fishing and yodeling.

  • Favorite quote: “Live with no regrets.” –Anonymous

Kal McCloskey, from Pittsburgh, PA, is a rising senior at Widener University who is working on the East side as a PBP Media intern. He studies International Business and Marketing, is an indoor and outdoor track and field athlete, a Pi Sigma Epsilon brother, and Treasurer of the Italian Club. He enjoys the thrill of extreme sports, such as downhill mountain-biking and sky-diving.

  • Favorite quote: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” –Mahatma Ghandi


Keep in touch with @PBPInterns and look out for what’s coming up next!

Blog: Our trip with the mentees

Twitter video: Welcome to the office