“To serve is to live.” | Interview with Frances Hesselbein

“To serve is to live.” | Interview with Frances Hesselbein

IMG_8856As part of the #Passion2Action series, Joan Kuhl and Brianna Mercado host interviews with scholars and thought leaders from all over the world in order to share with you the best of the best stories and career advice. This episode is a very special one, featuring Joan’s long-time mentor, biggest inspiration, and battle buddy, Frances Hesselbein.

For those of you who don’t know who Frances is, she is best know for her service as the CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976-1990. She was recognized by former President Bill Clinton in 1998 as a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient for her work as “a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity.” Frances has provided the world with a simple leadership philosophy: To serve is to live.

She is the recipient of twenty-one honorary doctoral degrees, the author of three autobiographies and the co-editor of 27 books in 29 languages. Frances’ ongoing contributions to the field of leadership development include her role (since 1996) as Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning quarterly Leader to Leader Journal; her commitment to the University of Pittsburgh’s Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement; her advisory role to the United States Military Academy at West Point; and her service on many nonprofit and private sector corporate boards, including the Mutual of America Life Insurance Company and the Bright China Social Fund. Frances Hesselbein is one of the country’s greatest leaders.

Listen to the full interview:



Quick Tips of Wisdom from Our Interview with Frances Hesselbein:

  • We define our own personal mission. Ask yourself: why do you do what you do? What is your mission? What are your values?
  • Values are not something your keep in a notebook or engrave on a plaque. You live them. Be mission focused, with values based choices.
    Live your values.
  • Diversity is the bright future. We need to be demographics driven. We are all together on this earth, accelerating towards the future. We need to find a way to build partnerships. Together, we can do so much more  than we can alone.
  • Always stay true to your mission. It will give you the strength the move where nobody had moved before.
  • Leadership is not a destination. Leadership is a journey and we choose our own fellow travelers.



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