06 Aug When a leader’s presence feels like a gift

Every once in a while, you meet someone whose mere presence feels like a special gift.  Regina Ellis is the Founder and CEO of the Children Cancer Association (CCA) – the only organization of its kind in the nation. Regina established the non-profit in 1995 after her oldest daughter died of cancer at the age of five.  Regina’s vision was to deliver joy to seriously ill children and teens when they need more than medicine.

When I asked Regina about the one characteristic every leader should possess, she paused  for a long time to carefully consider her answer. 

When she spoke, she said,  “Grace.”  And she let that word sink in, and continued, “Grace with ourselves, with others, with the day, or the challenge at hand.  Grace in how we carry that into interactions with people, (and) into the work that we do.  (Grace) matters in a real human way that allows people to feel inspired to summit that mountain with us!”

I also asked Regina what self-reliance has to do with leadership, and her response is in the 60-second video clip.

Regina was again reflective, and said, “I think self-reliance is the essence of strength for leaders.  We are only as successful as we make others in developing individuals, teams and organizations.”  She concluded by pointing out the importance of introspection: “Be self-reflective to grow and develop… as individuals and leaders… to inspire and connect with people.”

Regina seems to have mastered the balance of task and relationship so many leaders strive to attain.  She is authentic, humble, and quick to find joy, and incredibly effective at delivering results.  Today, CCA’s innovative brand attracts powerful, strategic partners and global leaders such as Apple iTunes, Converse, Gatorade, Nike, Fader, Anomaly, NBA Trailblazers, Atlantic Records, Genentech, Fuse TV, Sol Republic, Papa Murphy’s, Entercom Communications and others who support CCA’s initiatives, helping thousands of kids simply have a better day.

Now that’s an inspiring legacy.

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