Stories about extraordinary people who model compassionate leadership are fascinating and can provide inspiration for developing this ability. Compassionate leaders acknowledge our universal interconnectedness and use their influence to make a positive impact on others and the planet. These leaders are courageous, contemplative, collaborative and care about the world they will leave behind.
Compassionate leadership was first modeled to me by my colleagues at Medallion Hotels in the 1990s. As vice president of human resources, I worked with Chuck Feeney and Fred Eydt. Feeney was our very dynamic investor/advisor and is credited with starting the Giving While Living movement. This campaign has inspired others, including Bill Gates, to give away a large percentage of their fortunes to causes and philanthropies that are important to them.
Although it was secret to the public at the time, we knew of his decision to give away most of his wealth. When the company was sold, we appreciated that the proceeds from the sale were going to help people all over the world. His initiatives at the time included giving to schools and building hospitals.
As the CEO and president of Medallion Hotels, Eydt was a thought leader in his own right. His vision was to co-create a remarkable workplace where each member was treated with respect and dignity. The company provided every associate best-in-class benefits, performance-based compensation and learning/development programs that included an internal leadership university open to all. At the time, it was rare to find such initiatives in the hospitality industry.