Veteran Voices on Leadership

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear from three leadership legends within our community talk about areas of leadership, particularly within the non-profit sector.  The three former Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award winners were Bud Rogers (entrepeneur, and military engineer) Elizabeth Dalton (philanthropist and educator), and Dorothy Jackson (lifetime NAACP member and Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame inductee).

Below are the nuggets of proverbial wisdom found in these well-aged and seasoned leaders, still giving back to their communities with the word “retirement” absent from their vocabulary:


  • “The quality I look for in a leader is the willingness to get their hands dirty, and accept leadership when asked to simply serve and not boost their resume.”
  • “Whenever you are asked to serve on or lead a board for a non-profit, the first question you ask is ‘What’s the time commitment?’”
  • “If you are going to work for a non-profit you have to learn how to ask for money if you are going to survive.”


  • “The missing attribute today in leadership is the ability to listen.”
  • “People will give you money if they believe in you.”


  • “Growing up I never heard of the word ‘Volunteer.’  It was just called, ‘Help,’ and that’s what you did for one another.
  • “Love led me to leadership.”
  • “I always have a pad and pencil with me knowing I will learn from those I lead.”
  • “People ask you to lead primarily because they like you.”
  • “Anyone can fall, but not everyone has to wallow.”

~ by Dave Smith on May 20, 2010.

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