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  I always told Haley that I wanted her to see the broader world, to understand how other people live, to truly understand how fortunate we are. But I’m not sure I ever imagined she would take me quite so seriously.
   
  I always told Haley that I wanted her to see the broader world, to understand how other people live, to truly understand how fortunate we are. But I’m not sure I ever imagined she would take me quite so seriously.
 

Do More, Be More
August 5, 2010

I just got off the phone with Haley, my college-age daughter, who’s spending the summer traveling in Central America on a research grant from her college. She’s studying rural poverty in the region and the revolutionary movements it has inspired. In the process, she is visiting different types of farms, including some undertaking sustainable agriculture and eco-tourism projects. She recently spent a week staying with a family in Honduras that had no electricity or running water. She literally had to hike for an hour and cross a waist-high river to get to their home.

When I was her age, I traveled on a research grant to conduct interviews with industry and governmental representatives in West Germany for my senior thesis. That seemed like a big deal then, but when I compare it to what my daughter and many of her peers are doing, it seems pretty pedestrian. I always told Haley that I wanted her to see the broader world, to understand how other people live, to truly understand how fortunate we are. But I’m not sure I ever imagined she would take me quite so seriously.

Yet, when I talk to Haley and read her e-mails, I can sense how she is growing, taking the risks to see the world and make her own way in it. Once when I asked her if she was sure she should do something like this, she told me that this is “something that the person I want to become would do.”

My daughter reminds me of why building new models of leadership education for the 21st century is so important—models that take people out of their comfort zones, help them to dream about who they might become, challenge them to figure out how we can make the world a better place.

Haley also reminds me of the generational shift that has occurred between us—the global and technological worldview that is now a given with her generation—with students who want to do more and be more than I ever could have imagined in my 20s. Part of the challenge for me as dean will be to build connections among and opportunities for those who have the passion, appetite and courage to take on the world in the way Haley does. 

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at sallyblount@kellogg.northwestern.edu

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