In 2019, I had a chance to be interviewed by the Kettering Executive Network. This organization has had such a profound impact on my life. I recently unearthed the interview. I'm so thankful for this organization and how it helps us all "Pay it Forward".
Kettering: Winston, your personal and professional life is so fascinating. Tell us in your own words who Winston Wilson is?
WW: I have become focused on service to others as my guiding leadership principle. My career has told me that having positive “in the black” relationships has helped me navigate roles, transitions, and business opportunities. I get genuine energy by helping others find their path. This has led me to a variety of moments focused on a wide spectrum of organizations.
Kettering: What is one of the most memorable events that changed you as a person?
WW: When I was in my first transition (yes), I thought about how I could take all that I have learned to step outside of my lane and learn about myself. I wrote, directed, and produced a stage play (twice) that I had been cultivating for many years. It was memorable because of what it meant to all the individuals involved. I felt so fulfilled to help actors, assistants, tech, patrons to all be involved in the production and experience. Many of them have gone onto amazing opportunities.
Kettering: You speak about leadership and intelligence; can you name a leader who inspired your perspective on leadership?
WW: Her name was Kim Fitzsimmons. She was the first leader that I worked with that authentically thought about relationships with coworkers that have as much value as EBITDA or earnings per share. At the time her organization was close to one thousand colleagues and she accomplished this with aplomb.
Kettering: As a non-profit leader, what are you most proud of?
WW: I was asked to take over a twenty-year-old organization with an amazing entrenchment in the Atlanta Community. We changed our outlook on fundraising and executed on multiple signature events over a couple of years. Those resources helped us execute on our mission to help over a hundred young people each year through our program.
Kettering: What inspired you to join Kettering?
WW: When I was introduced to Kettering through being invited as a guest, I felt true kinship and alignment. I am a big believer in the power of a shared experience. That shared experience (e.g. leadership, transition) is one of the things that I love about being a member.
Kettering: Winston, what does ‘paying it forward’ mean to you?
WW: Giving first with a understanding that we may have to give more. I believe that the energy and currency we generate by giving to anyone that needs help in career or life, is what truly makes us wealthy.
Kettering: ...and one final question, what advice would you give to new Kettering members?
WW: Slow down and ensure your connections are reinforced. Don’t ask someone “What do you do?” Ask them questions to help you learn about them. Examples are “Tell me about yourself?” or “What is exciting to you these days”. Our relationships at Kettering are part of our personal “wealth”.
Winston, it was such a joy to get to know you personally. Thank you for your time and this genuine chat. We’re so appreciative that you’re a part of our volunteer-driven community. Thanks for being so supportive of Kettering and continuing to share your knowledge and inspiration with our members, partners and the community at large.
Welcome to Inspiration Corner. Here, you will find an abundance of motivational articles, stories, and quotes that touched I hope will touch your heart and ignite their spirits.