Chapter 3More Breadth, Less DepthCatalyzing Your Leadership

At age 23, Tom Johnson moved his wife and newborn son to the nation's capital with a newly minted degree from Harvard Business School—and little else. Johnson, from Macon, Georgia, had humble roots and had made it this far through hard work and the goodwill of the editor-in-chief of the Macon Telegraph, Peyton Edison. Edison had taken a 14-year-old Johnson under his wing when Johnson needed work to help support his family. He had such faith in Johnson that he paid for him to attend the University of Georgia—as long as the young man would work at the Telegraph not only summers, but also during the school year (despite the two-hour drive from the university). After Johnson graduated with a degree in journalism, Edison helped him attend Harvard Business School. After living in Boston, Johnson's wife Edwina was uneager to return to Macon, so Johnson applied for a brand-new program started in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson called the White House Fellowship. The fellowship would take a dozen or so young professionals and give them secondary but meaningful positions in the White House for one year with hopes to “strengthen the Fellows' abilities and desires to contribute to their communities, their professions, and their country.”1 Johnson was interested primarily because, “I felt that as a person who wished to become a leader in … journalism, there is no topic as important as government.” He had little idea what was ...

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