Wharton Professor Stewart Friedman at a WCNY Career Speaker Series Event
A thought-provoking event on life skills was held on October 20, organized by members of the WCNY Career Series team, Charles Forgang, W’78, and Andrew Stern, W’10. The venue was one of those 37th-floor wood-paneled conference rooms with artwork and a mammoth conference table that easily accommodated the 35 attendees. Everyone took a moment to introduce himself or herself, a nice tradition.
Professor of Management Stewart Friedman’s presentation started with a simple challenge: “Are you leading the life you want?” While many of us feel our lives are “full,” Stew pushed attendees on if they are merely stretched too thin. He shared stories of remarkable people who act with authenticity and creativity in integrating the various domains of life. Attendees completed a brief self-assessment to identify which of these leaders they most resemble. Participants then partnered up to share one action they could take to improve their performance.
I asked Andrew Stern how he brought this event to fruition. “While studying under Stew Friedman in 2007 and TAing for him in 2008 and 2009, I became very interested in his work in the work-life integration space. Total Leadership helped me begin to articulate my definition of success. Leading the Life You Want offers extensions on these ideas, which I wanted to share with the Wharton alumni community. Stew jumped at the opportunity to address this influential group.”
Andrew found, overall, this evening had two significant take-aways. “First, accomplishment in one’s career comes not at the expense of the rest of life, but because of commitments at home, in the community, and to the private realm of mind, body and spirit. Second, leading the life you want requires striving to help others.”
Umang Malhotra, WG’11, founder of The Ideas Team, said, “I enjoyed his perspective on the 3 core dimensions for integrating work and life. The talk was relevant, informative and grounded in research. I especially valued his curated action steps and suggested exercises to practice skills associated with each dimension.” Gregory T. Fraser, WG’03, Chief Marketing Officer at Vertana Group, shared, “What resonated most with me was the paradox of slowing down to speed up — the idea that taking time away from your immediate needs to reflect and gain balance can actually make you more productive in each area of your life.
I ended up connecting with two people as partners. We’re each checking in to discuss how we’re proceeding with our personal action step from the session, and we are finding that the continued dialogue is a valuable part of a process that requires rumination and action.”
Andrew Stern contributed to this article. Andrew works on the Leadership, Learning and Organizational Development team at Bloomberg, and is actively involved with the WCNY’s career development committee, where he organizes panels and other events that support members’ career transitions and growth. You can reach Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.