The University of Houston-Downtown’s Gator Grit Speaker Series hosted its second event with “A Conversation with D’Artagnan Bebel: Life Stories on Leadership, Finding Your Way” on Feb. 15 in the Welcome Center’s Tour Room.
UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz welcomed Bebel, vice president and general manager of FOX 26 Houston.
“This is a wonderful lecture series to feature different perspectives from different leaders on how they exercise leadership and how they muster the courage, the resolve and vision to persist,” said Muñoz. “Important universities invoke important conversations. That’s what we’re here to do with by bringing these type of conversations to our students and our campus.”
Bebel opened the conversation with a quote from Michael Jordan whom he met years ago when speaking on resolve. According to Bebel, Jordan said to him “part of my resolve is I hate losing more than I love winning.’”
“Growing up as an undergraduate and graduate student, I was afraid of failure,” said Bebel. “What drove me was the desire not to fail.”
He continued by addressing the difference between management and leadership with a series of quotes from scholars, leaders, and business experts, including Henry Kissinger, General Colin Powell, and Dwight Eisenhower.
Bebel noted that his all- time favorite quote—“Leadership is finding a parade and getting in front of it.
“My definition of management is the achievement of others,” he adds. “My definition of leadership is somehow getting someone to follow you. Nobody follows anybody who has no idea where they’re going.”
He peppered his conversation with various life experiences , including his undergraduate experiences at Howard University and Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York. Through his pursuit of higher education, he stressed to the student guests the importance of differentiating and branding themselves from their fellow classmates.
“There are two things you can do in life,” said Bebel. “You can chose in life to stand in line and wait for someone to hand you something or you can forge your way.”
Bebel closed the conversation with a few takeaways—characteristics to lead by.
“Lead with passion; lead with resolve; lead with conviction; lead with honesty and integrity. If you can’t be trusted; no one is going to follow you,” Bebel exclaimed. “Lead with a purpose and enthusiasm. If you work on developing some of these characteristics, I’m sure you will find your way.”