The first time I heard the term servant leadership I thought “what kind of crazy leadership fad is that?” My early leadership career was spent in an industry that was highly competitive and unpredictable. Weren’t leaders supposed to be strong, dynamic and decisive? Serving seemed so … well … weak.

Fortunately, maturity and observation changed that opinion. The most effective and successful leaders always seemed to be serving something greater than themselves – a cause, a team or department, an opportunity to change something for the better. And others wanted to follow them to become part of whatever these leaders were working on. That’s true leadership!

At last month’s Taste of Leadership Oakland event, we honored three alumni with the Leader of Leaders Awards (LOLA). Nominated by peers and colleagues, each recipient was recognized for their outstanding dedication to sharing their talents generously to serve organizations, vulnerable and at-risk citizens, and a public crisis that has impacted thousands of lives.

Their stories and countless others from alumni are inspirational to those of us who lead LO. They motivate us to seek ways to better serve our region, our alumni, and our area’s leaders with opportunities to grow personally, professionally and publicly. I look forward to sharing with you how we are doing that in the months to come.

So, this month I leave you with a couple of questions: What or whom are you serving? And is it creating the leadership legacy you want to be remembered for?