Patience Ferguson is at the top of the mountain in her peer group. As Chief Human Resources Officer at the City of Minneapolis, she has her dream job – one that she never expected to earn. She shared a passionate story of her journey to a full room at the Good Leadership Breakfast series last Friday. Here’s a sample of what she shared:
“I am who I am today because of the role models and mentors who raised me in Oklahoma City,” she said with a preacher-style delivery. “I grew up in a healthy neighborhood, watching my mom go to work cleaning the homes of wealthy white people, and small business owners working hard and treating people right.”
In her 20-minute remarks (watch a 5 min summary of the breakfast), she helped us feel her strong shoulders, steely resolve and generous soul. Meeting leaders like Patience Ferguson keeps me focused on my purpose – to provide a consistent flow of “proof-statements” around the idea that Goodness Pays. Patience continued:
As the last child in a large family, her father personally named her “Patience.” It was a foreshadowing gesture that shaped her approach to people and leadership. “I was taught from a very early age there is goodness in everyone. It’s our god-given responsibility to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Regardless of how much money they make or their position in society.” She ran off a litany of specific names, of specific people, in specific moments along her journey for whom she was grateful.
Stand up to support others
“Growing up in the heart of the civil rights moment, both my mother and father taught me to stand up for people and causes I believe in. One day I stayed home from elementary school as a statement of solidarity for the sanitation workers. My parents let me do it!” she exclaimed. “The next day I returned to school and continued my studies. But I never forgot how that one day taught me how to be supportive to others.”
My favorite part of hosting the Good Leadership Breakfast is presenting a multi-colored mosaic of good leaders who radiate goodness in their own way. And people like Patience Ferguson build my confidence that goodness really does pay.
Good leaders make a habit of thanking the people who served as role models for who they are today. And they pay it forward by living generously themselves.
The next Good Leadership Breakfast is Friday, October 21 – where Rita Johnson Mills from United Health Group is our speaker. Our subject for that meeting is promoting fairness. Will you join us?
Join the discussion that will shape the Goodness Pays Book
Please share with me: Who do you know who lives generously in ways that demonstrate goodness pays?