Sharing Our Message: Anna Russell

September 09, 2015
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

When you’re trying to change the world, it’s always better for more voices to sing in harmony than one. There’s not only the increase in volume, but the richness of the tenor through the different parts each voice brings to the melody.

Anna Russell is a voice we recently discovered through her most recent column, “Two Key Factors to Good Leadership” where she very graciously mentions Barry-Wehmiller.

Anna is a professional athlete who uses her experiences in that realm and applies them to business environments as a writer, speaker and mentor. She is a regular contributor to the New Zealand Herald, the largest newspaper in that country.

It was through a Ted Talk by our friend Simon Sinek, “How Good Leaders Can Make You Feel Safe,” that Anna learned about Barry-Wehmiller. In it, Simon tells the story of how we dealt with a major hit during the economic downturn of 2008-2009.

Our experience resonated with Anna because of an influential event in her life. After she graduated from college and began working her way up the corporate ladder; her father lost his job during the global financial crisis.

Anna eventually pursued a passion to compete professionally in Ironman Triathalon events and found that there were many things she was learning as an athlete that would benefit leaders and teams in business. She started her company, Inspire, to help spread those ideas.

“I realized during (the time her father lost his job) that corporates need to have a responsibility for the wellbeing of their people,” Anna told us by email. “This changed the way I led teams at work and immediately I saw the benefit of focusing on the wellbeing of my team first and foremost. Everyone in the team worked better together, were more productive, but more importantly they had more purpose and passion for what they did and this positively impacted the relationships they had with those around them. I began writing about leadership, and other topics, because I believe that people have the opportunity to change the way they live their lives and move away from what Thoreau called ‘living a life of quiet desperation’.”

So, as we would say, Anna realized that leaders need to be good stewards of the lives entrusted to them so that everyone knows that who they are and what they do matter and they will go home feeling fulfilled.

In fact, another one of her recent articles, “How to Go From Good to Great,” which details the four strategies she uses regularly in her athletic career and daily life, echoes much of our Guiding Principles of Leadership.

As Anna wrote in “Two Key Factors to Good Leadership,” “It is important to remember that being a manager is not the same as being a leader. Good leaders must care for their people and lead by example, it is not an easy path to choose, but it is a rewarding one.”

Anna chose a path that put people first. What path do you choose?

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