Article Contributed by
CLN President Elect, Board of Directors
County Executive Vince Horrigan, a very proud alumnus of the Chautauqua Leadership Network (CLN), met with students from the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) during their week long summer-bridge program from July 11th to July 15th. The title of his presentation was, “What does it take to be a Leader?” As you can glean from the presentation title, the purpose of his visit was to speak to students about the importance of leadership and how the many characteristics, traits and attributes of good leaders create positive outcomes.
Mr. Horrigan started off the presentation by telling the story of his path to running for County Executive. During his journey Mr. Horrigan met somebody who ended up being very important to him today. He went on to say that this person was passionate about politics, the community, important issues, wouldn’t take no for an answer and most importantly worked well at reaching out to the community and bringing people together. Mr. Horrigan met Dan Heitzenraiter.
As Mr. Horrigan continued presenting to the P-TECH students going on to highlight many of the characteristics that drew him to bringing Dan onboard to help with his campaign and then eventually hiring him on as a full time assistant. Mr. Horrigan said, “Dan’s drive to be the best translates into a vision that touches all organizations he works with and produces astounding results. He is someone who tries to elevate others.” The County Executive continued saying, “A good leader is someone that can bring people together and can compromise. The way to be a successful leader in today’s world is to compromise. If you use foul language and bully other people and you lose it all. Trust & Respect are what compromise is built on. It is important to be careful in your language and how you treat people. If you don’t it will lead to negative consequences. When you compromise you have certain core principles that you must hold true to and then you work out the other areas where you can find some common ground.”
Mr. Heitzenraiter, also a CLN Alumnus and current CLN Board member, had an opportunity to address the students as well stating, “There are different types of leaders and different types of leadership styles and it’s important to know and understand that it’s ok and to appreciate that aspect.” Heitzenraiter referenced this quote in his presentation; Vince Lombardi said, “Leadership is not just one quality but rather a blend of many qualities, while no one individual possesses all of the needed talents that go into leadership, each man can develop a combination to make him a leader. Leaders are not born they are made.” Dan went on to tell the class that it’s important to create and seize your opportunities. You need to have grit and tenacity. A good leader has grit and they don’t let their problems get them down.
Horrigan referenced his experiences in a variety of different leadership roles he has had over the years. He departed the presentation to the P-TECH students with his three keys to becoming a successful leader. The first is to find your niche. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What is your passion? The second key is to set your course and go after it. And the third and final key to being a successful leader is to be open to opportunity.
As poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” When you make the choice to intentionally learn from others around you, you can help create the luck you need to become the leader you are to do the things you dream of doing.
Chautauqua Leadership Network’s mission is to identify and nurture regional leaders, provide a framework for an emerging network of skilled civic trustees and help our communities to meet the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow. Interested in learning more please visit www.chautauqualeadership.org or call/e-mail (716) email@example.com