“Life grows relative to one’s investment in it.”
—Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce
One of our best students at the Higher Ambition Leadership Institute (HALI) was Renee Zaugg, VP of Enterprise Infrastructure and Cloud Services at Aetna at the time she attended. She never went to college and had no formal training, but was a remarkably effective technology leader in charge of a billion-dollar budget and a flexible team of 4,000 employees. Renee was with Aetna for over 37 years, starting at the very bottom of the ladder working night shifts in their data center. Doggedly, she worked her way up to a senior leadership role, where she always searched for opportunities to learn and grow. On her journey to VP, she was constantly alert to ways she could improve, absorbing lessons like a sponge, taking risks, and benefiting from the guidance of mentors and advocates.
When Renee’s boss wrote her a glowing recommendation for the HALI program, she was ecstatic. Never having received a higher education but possessing a growth disposition, she innately understood the value of any opportunity to get better. But when she arrived, her excitement about the program turned into anxiety; faced with the résumés of some of the other attendees, a nagging voice within her started to tell her she was out of her depth.
At HALI, and at the ConantLeadership Boot ...