A Lesson in Stand-Up Leadership from Cory Booker

Cory A. Booker is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city and he is my hero.  In a time when heroes (political and sports figures in particular) are nose-diving off their pedestals like Lemmings, this guy appears to be the real deal. He spoke at a conference that a close friend of mine attended, and wowed him so much, I just had to check him out for myself.  Now, I’m wowed too.   Booker believes that each of us can make positive change happen in a big way, and he is clearly devoted to doing so himself.  The City of  Newark is reaping the benefits of his labor and so are those, like myself who are watching and learning from the way this man works.

Educated at Stanford University and Yale Law School, Booker received national attention in 2002 during his first unsuccessful run against longtime incumbent Mayor Sharpe James.  A documentary film called “Street Fight,”  (nominated for an Academy Award), looks inside the campaign, and gives us a glimpse inside Booker’s determination to fight hard and clean even when the going got very dirty.  It seems to have paid off: Booker was elected in May 2006 and easily won re-election in 2010

There are at least ten reasons that Booker makes hero status in my mind, here are five:

1)      He’s an amazing leader.  I’ve worked many places in my life, and great leadership is hard to come by.  Booker delivers – he’s clear and he’s  honest.  His agenda is his city’s agenda, not his personal gain.

2)     He walks the talk. He  lives in the Newark projects so he can be in the community of the people he represents – would you?

3)     He first seeks to understand, rather than first be understood: So far, crime in Newark is down  dramatically – about 21% .  Booker helped achieve this goal by riding with the police every night until 4 a.m. looking for  firsthand knowledge of the issues so he could better solve them.

4)     He has a vision; sets a direction, clearly communicates it and sticks to it.

5)     Last  but not least, he’s a nice guy.  He appears genuine, engenders a sense of team and community and takes time to thank and to  inspire  those around him.

So, if you haven’t heard of him, check out the video to get a taste of what this man is all about.  It will be ten minutes well spent – because at very least, he is an amazing and inspiring speaker.  I apologize that this video promotes a speaker’s bureau, but I chose it because I believed it delivers the best Booker profile in the least amount of time.

Nobody’s perfect, so I’m sure there are Booker detractors out there who have compelling arguments , but in my book, this guy is cool.   He makes me want to stand up and be better, and for me,  that’s more than good enough.

More info: http://www.corybooker.com/

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Date: Monday, 14. June 2010 2:27
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