BETHANY, W.Va. — “The world needs you…don’t let anything you read or hear lead you to believe that the world doesn’t need you.”
The words of Dr. Robert McCann, CEO of UBS Group Americas, a 1980 alumnus of Bethany College and vice chair of the Bethany College Board of Trustees, offered a challenge and reassurance to Bethany students who attended several career-development forums on leadership October 18 in Pittsburgh.
Sponsored by UBS Wealth Management Americas and the law firm of Reed Smith, “America’s Growth: Your Future” was hosted by Dr. McCann at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, was moderated by Bethany Senior Vice President Sven de Jong and featured discussion by Dr. Greg Jordan, a 1981 Bethany alumnus, Global Managing Partner, Reed Smith, and Chair of the Bethany Board of Trustees, and Dr. Anita Sands, Head of UBS Wealth Management Americas Change Leadership. Students from Carnegie Mellon University, with whom Bethany has dual-degree completion programs, also attended along with other special guests.
The focus on leadership concluded later that evening with a presidential discussion on world affairs with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the Byham Theater. This “Revitalizing America” session, focusing on economic, educational, political and national-security topics, was sponsored by UBS and moderated by Dr. McCann.
Earlier, Bethany students toured Reed Smith and participated in a discussion with Dave Egan, a 1979 Bethany alumnus and chief marketing officer for Reed Smith. Students had the opportunity to ask questions regarding career paths, employment after graduation and the global market place. Lunch and a tour of Reed Smith’s global headquarters were included as part of the presentation.
Throughout the day’s events, the veteran corporate leaders stressed the importance of career focus with flexibility, technology with attention to personal relationships, personal development along with social responsibility.
“You can use your life lessons in ways that you can’t imagine,” Dr. Jordan emphasized. “Keep your eyes open and enjoy every step of the journey.” He stressed the value of flexibility, ability to embrace change, optimism and team work, and added, “Don’t just rely on technology. Find ways to connect with people personally.”
Dr. McCann assured the students that while few individuals are truly ‘self-made,’ relying as he did on “extraordinary mentors,” the world would benefit from “good, bright people” who can become leaders not only in their chosen fields, but also in their communities.
Dr. Sands stressed the importance of ethical decision-making. “Do the right thing for your company, your clients and your team,” she said, advising the students to “find where your skills meet your passion.”
Capping the leadership sessions, the presidential discussion with former Presidents Clinton and Bush was a candid, collegial conversation covering a range of current topics.