Leaders As Hosts Q&A Series: John Gregory (LRI ’94)

What does it mean to you to be an effective Leader As Host?

For me it is about being a convener for collaboration. One of my early chamber mentors told me that as a leader sometimes you lead sometimes you follow but you have to be involved. Making the transformation for hero to host is hard. As Margaret Wheatley wrote “Our heroic impulses most often are born from the best of intentions. We want to help, we want to solve, we want to fix.”

What has been your proudest professional or personal moment as a Leader As Host?

Helping with the creation of two business coalitions. The RI Business Coalition and the RI Chamber of Commerce Coalition. Both groups consist of entities that are sometimes “rivals” but working with others we have created larger entities that are more effective.

When does the Leader As Host style not work well?

Not sure. I guess when an immediate decisions is needed. Or if someone in a group situation wants to dominate, the leader as host may have to reign them in so all are participating

In an era of blockbuster superhero movies and a U.S. President who stated during his recent campaign, “I alone can fix it. I will restore law and order,” is Leader As Host an outdated concept or one not applicable to current times? Why, if at all, should Leadership Rhode Island emphasize this leadership style?

I don’t think it is an outdated concept. Collaborative efforts are always the key. The hardest part may be asking leaders who are used to being heroes to work harder at being hosts

Who in Rhode Island in addition to your fellow honorees would you have share the stage with you as an effective Leader As Host? Who do you most admire?

I would share the stage with Neil Steinberg of the RI Foundation. He and his organization artery able to leverage their position to try and get others to work together. A perfect example is the recent announcement of the Together RI initiative which in some ways is an amplification of the Jeffersonian dinners that Leadership RI has organized.
I admire many can’t pick one.

What Rhode Island problem or challenge do you think could be better resolved with an effective Leader as Host to convene?

Improving the quality of life for all Rhode Island residents. There is a natural tension between different philosophical viewpoints. Too often we find ourselves looking at winners and losers.

Name the Leader as Host you admire most and Leadership Rhode Island will recognize them publicly with our limited-edition Leaders As Host coin in 2018.