Leadership Is Service

What comes to mind when you imagine leadership? Independence? Influence? Authority? Recognition? Success? Yes, oftentimes leadership encompasses these ideas. However, when I envision leadership, I see service. Putting others before myself. Training and empowering others while not being afraid to replicate myself in them.

Throughout and after graduating from college, I wanted to prove that I could be a great leader. I loved the topic of leadership and thought that I had counted the cost, searched my soul, faced my giants and was ready to help people become the best versions of themselves possible. However, I had so much more to discover. Not only did I have to overcome my own insecurities, but I had to persuade others to do the same.

Learning to communicate authentically and display vulnerability were often difficult tasks because it went against my instinct to look out for myself. I encountered failure and discouragement and questioned whether I was on the right path altogether. Nonetheless, I pressed forward. I continued to treat people with the utmost respect even when I did not want to. I learned through my failures what it meant to build trust and display equity.

While sitting in Leadership Academy today listening to Maureen discuss networking strategies, I realized that I had been displaying leadership qualities the entire time that I was having trouble seeing myself as a leader. We talked about intent and my mind went into overdrive. Why am I here? Why do I want to pursue this? Why is this important to me? It all came back to me. I have vision! I have something to share and someone to serve!

Leadership is more than a title or talent. It is service. Existing leaders, and those aspiring to become leaders, are fundamentally people who serve others. Service directs their efforts to sell, create, build, influence and mobilize. Whether you’re a natural born leader or building yourself up to be one, regardless of ethnicity or gender, the intent for leadership should always be service.

I’m grateful to the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce for creating a program that allows people to serve and enhance themselves, their employers, and the community. I sense the spirit of service in the ideas discussed, the vulnerability revealed, and the overwhelming support for each other.

Omar Ramos is the Program & Administrative Support Coordinator at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center, which is part of Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora. The center provides free services and support to anyone impacted by a cancer diagnosis. Omar earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris College and has 25 years of experience working for Rush Copley. He lives in Aurora with his wife Ruth, and their four children.

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