downtown Austin

John Oberg – The Role of a Leader

Posted by on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 in Blog

Meeting held February 9, 2016, Recorded by Phil Thoden

President Elect Elect Sara Pantin called the meeting to order. Adam Borger led the pledges and Past President Lee Yeakel gave our invocation of the day. Tillery Castillo led us in saying the Four Way Test. Chris Forrest greeted each member and guest as they arrived and Rich Fikani introduced the guests and visitors.

President Elect Elect Pantin presented John Oberg with a Paul Harris Fellow +2. Congratulations John! Adam Borger then reminded us to engage with the Club’s social media, especially Facebook and Meetup, as this will help promote the Club to a larger audience online.

Past President Dick Brown was in the Member Spotlight and noted that he joined the Austin Rotary Club in 1989 and greatly enjoys the friendships he has made in Rotary. In his professional life he works in estate planning law.

Moritz Von Eckardstein, a visiting Rotarian and President of the Bad Salzuflen Club in Germany, exchanged banners with our Club.

Richard Payton led the Thank Goodness Basket, and the first order of business was to select a Paul Harris Fellow from the names of past contributors. Congratulation to Jim Innes who was selected for this honor! Michael Abelson let us know that he is offering a complimentary personality assessment for all Camp Enterprise Counselors. Jim Bushnell recognized Don Bledsoe for being named a “golf legend” recently at the Onion Creek Golf Club. Adam Borger noted the Rotary Connect meeting took place before today’s lunch gathering, and he also noted that he and his wife are soon expecting a baby!

President Elect Elect Sara made a few announcements:

  • The Downtown Austin Breakfast Cluster meeting takes place on February 10 at the Magnolia Café.
  • Volunteers are needed February 16-18 from 1-5pm each day for the Bookspring read-a-thon at
    4300 N. Lamar.
  • The annual Austin Rotary Club Foundation dinner will be held on March 3 at the Westwood Country
  • Hosts are needed for the March 15th cluster meeting.

Michael Abelson introduced the speaker, fellow Club member John Oberg, who shared his insights into the role of a leader. John drew upon his work experiences, including leading over 1,000 people in his division before the age of 30, serving as a consultant to nuclear laboratories, and running two software companies as well as a manufacturing company. He currently works at a boutique-consulting firm helping companies with revenue growth and leadership.

John noted that being a leader in not easy and requires the ability to provide clarity, facilitate execution, and create sustainability. He shared insights into the need to establish core values, and align people with them for organizational success. He used the example of a laser that concentrates light to accomplish the tough task of cutting, as opposed to a dispersed and unfocused light that cannot.

He also emphasized that leaders facilitate execution of work, but that does not mean they do all the work. In this regard, he noted that often the best coaches are the not best athletes, but they do know how to get peak performance from their players. John also left time to answer several questions from the audience.

Next week’s speaker is Christopher Kennedy, the CEO of Leadership Austin.

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