Foreword to Volume 15 ​by Gerry Stephens

Through his Profiles in Success series, Gordon Bernhardt has created a unique, multi-generational business community here in the DC metro area. His thoughtful interviews have given us a glimpse into the souls of over 500 current and past-generation business leaders. His publication of the interviews has drawn these business leaders into an amazing community and provided many positive role models for future generations of business leaders. This accomplishment is particularly evident by the number of people who attend Gordon’s Annual Awards Banquet for Profiles in Success.

Gordon himself represents a strong role model for future business leaders. He likes to talk about the four C’s – character, chemistry, caring and competence – as the values by which he conducts his business. Knowing Gordon for several years, I would characterize his four C’s as “creating a culture of caring collaboration” with all stakeholders of his business. Author Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, describes “Level 5 Leadership” as all of the Level 4 Leadership behaviors that inspire and empower, plus a fierce ambition for success of the business (not the person) and the personal humility to realize that business success is a team sport, NOT a one-person show. Gordon is truly an example of Level 5 Leadership.

Profiles in Success Volume 15 continues the process of expanding this unique community. Business leaders are people, and people need other people to be successful and thrive. Gordon’s interviews in this volume demonstrate the relationship between business success and the vision and values of the leader that combine to energize and empower people. They also show how early influencers planted the seeds that blossomed into attitudes and behaviors that inspire and enable. In some cases, his interviews show how business leaders persevered through very tough times to emerge stronger and more resilient, and how failures lead to success.

Enjoy the read!

Gerry Stephens
Chair and Executive Coach
Vistage Worldwide
www.vistage.com


Gerry Stephens is a former corporate executive and business owner, and now builds and facilitates CEO peer advisory boards for Vistage Worldwide here in the DC metro area. Over his 40+ years in business, science and technology, Gerry’s focus has shifted from “managing by metrics” to increasing “leadership effectiveness” and “intentional culture” development for improved business performance. Gerry spends over 1500 hours per year coaching executives and facilitating peer advisory board meetings, and he gets his energy from the many “ah-ah moments” he catalyzes each month.