Winner: General Electric – Jeff Immelt’s Renewing American Leadership Speech at West Point
On Dec. 9, 2009, GE CEO Jeff Immelt delivered a speech to graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The speech focused on two major messages: the need for leaders who have the courage to change themselves and others if the country is to realize a better economic future; and the fact the cadets are learning the types of skills and values that will serve them well as business and government leaders.
Immelt outlined five key traits of good leaders: being a good listener; being comfortable with ambiguity; stressing competency; motivating with vision but winning through execution; and having respect for others.
A speech to a primarily military audience made sense, as 11,000 veterans work at GE, 238 are West Point graduates and nearly 600 are from all the service academies. Immelt’s speech graced the cover of the Financial Times, was reprinted in the Washington Post and mentioned in numerous other publications.
Hormel Foods/Burson Marsteller – Hormel Foods Speech: "Driving Innovation that Delivers Today and Tomorrow": Jeffrey Ettinger, CEO of Hormel Foods, delivered a speech at a high-profile food industry summit that focused on innovation in a bad economy, but also showcased the companies lesser-known strengths, such as a diverse product portfolio and unique retailer programs.
National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications ELDP - Graduation Speech: In her speech to future business leaders, Cox Communications’ SVP and chief people officer Mae Douglas stressed two defining entities that set effective leaders apart from the rest: power and influence.