Becoming a Leader: Tools and Tips

Becoming a leader in today’s world – irrespective of what industry – can be extremely challenging and competitive.  Having a mentor help navigate the system and share their experiences is a very positive way of getting started. 

This is especially true for women.  While there are mentorship programs available, often it is best conducted through an informal arrangement.  This was one of the messages given at last year’s Women Leaders in Global Health Conference, London.  According to Dr. Joanne Liu, International President at Médecins Sans Frontières:

“For me, a mentor is someone who believes in you when you don’t believe enough in yourself.  [She also said that age is not a factor..taking advice from those who are] 20 or 25 years younger [than herself, which is why she] believe[s] in the wisdom of youth.”

Another success female medical leader is Chair of the Department of Radiology at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Professor Hedvig Hricak.  At the recent European Society of Radiology Congress (February 28-March 1, 2019), she organized a program entitled ‘Women in Focus.’  These sessions were for both women and men on what it takes to become a leader. 

Hricak explained:

“Many people aspire to be leaders and sometimes really don’t know which way to go and how to take that path.  So it really starts with leadership but it has a combination of academia, administration, as well as industry and government and then the second one is about understanding people, listening, and understanding differences.  This part looks at the generation of differences and respecting everyone’s opinion and understanding where other people are coming from.  There’s also a session which is mostly for women on women in challenging environments.  So often we take for granted what we have and we have to be reminded – just like ECR has celebrated Africa or Pakistan – that so many luxuries that we take for granted are not really available to all over the world. And lastly we all need mentors.  Children, parents, teachers, you always have mentors and then you start working and suddenly you’re on your own.  The last one is dedicated to mentorship.”

In an article in Business2Community, Larry Kim gave his opinion on what qualities make a leader.  He touched on 7 qualities people have that they may not even know they have which are crucial to great leadership.  These are: empathy, optimism, forgiveness, altruism, eloquence, discernment and modesty.  These attributes are not traditionally associated with leaders but in Kim’s experience they can be very useful for those who want to lead and mentor others.

There are many  different routes to becoming a great leader in one’s industry but it seems they all have one common denominator: staying open to new ideas, to advice and to change.

US News’ Most Powerful Countries List Released

Every year the US News and World Reports ranks the world’s most powerful countries. The study assesses the political and economic influences and alliances, plus the military strength it wields and the quality of its international leadership.
The ranking was done together with the University of Pennsylvania, which questioned over 20,000 people about 80 countries and the global role they play. The result was “2019 Best Countries.”
We will just give you a brief summary of the top ten.

  1. South Korea: In 2018 this successful Asian country was ranked 11th last year. It is the world’s seventh largest exporter, and 11th largest economy.
  2. Saudi Arabia: Described as “the giant of the Middle East” by US News, this country has huge oil reserves which it sells across the globe. The country’s reputation was severely tarnished by ongoing human rights issues, and especially the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
  3. Israel: US News says: “For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs.”
  4. Japan: With the world’s third largest economy, this Asian powerhouse nation is “one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations.”
  5. France: One of the oldest countries in the world, US News says that France’s reach “extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture.”
  6. United Kingdom: Struggling now with Brexit, nevertheless US News notes that the UK “exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence” on the world despite “new questions and anxieties about the country’s role on the global stage.”
  7. Germany: With the most people of all the EU countries, Germany also has a highly skilled labor force.
  8. China: This Asian powerhouse nation is the world’s most populated, and it wields the second biggest economy. Unfortunately, millions still live under the poverty line, but the country has seen fast economic growth which has the potential to continue.
  9. Russia: The world’s largest country in square miles, Russia stretches from Europe to Asia and borders over a dozen different countries. It power is invested in its legacy from the Soviet Union, huge coal and oil reserves, and a great emphasis on military strength.
  10. USA: Described by US News as the “world’s most dominant economic and military power.” This western power has exerted its influence culturally through the popularity of its books, films, music and television shows. However, the report also pointed out that some policy decisions made by the current president “have raised questions around the world, including from the country’s closest allies, about the nation’s future course on the global stage.”

Huawei Introduces 5G Folding Phone

Huawei Technology in Shenzhen, China

Called the Mate X, Huawei unveiled its latest addition to the innovative cell-phone market place, further challenging market leaders Samsung of Korea and Apple of the USA. China’s powerhouse tech company introduced its phone immediately before the beginning of the four-day Mobile World Conference 2019, in Barcelona.


The phone is compatible with superfast, next-generation 5G networks, expected to replace older and slower networks over the next few years. The phone also folds in half, an innovation that the industry is hoping will get phones out of the current creativity slump. Others believe the market for folding phones is limited, at least in the near future.
The Mate X is Huawei’s solution to the problem of bigger screens and longer battery life. Richard Yu, head of the company’s consumer business group asked at a fancy media launch party,


“How can we bring bigger innovation to this smartphone industry?”


The phone won’t be available for purchase for another few months and will cost about 2,299 Euros ($2600.) Samsung’s Galaxy Fold sells for almost $2000.


Users of the Mate X can still view it even when its closed, as the phone’s screen wraps around the outside. The Galaxy Fold’s screen closes shut and cannot be viewed unless its open. When open the Mate X is 8 inches on the diagonal, about the same size as a smaller tablet.


Huawei developers took three years just on the phone’s hinge, which does not leave a space when the phone is closed.


“No matter how innovative and technology-advanced the new device is, it will take a lot more time for a critical mass of consumers to experience the benefits of foldable phones and 5G technology,” one analyst said. Huawei still “has to find its own brand voice to differentiate from Samsung and Apple and stop acting as a technology challenger,” he added.

Schools of Higher Learning Report Record Gifts from Donors

Harvard University. Photo courtesy of
John Phelan

Setting a record for the ninth year in a row, United States colleges raised a whopping $47 billion during the 12 months beginning in June 2017. It appears that the long-lived stock market expansion played a role in the positive results.


The wealthiest school in the country had the best year. Harvard University raised an astounding $1.4 billion, said a study released in February 2019 by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.


Schools can thank the 14% growth of the S&P 500, which most likely helped many donors reach a bit deeper into their pockets. Three school surpassed the one-billion-dollar mark in money raised from June 2017 until June 2018. Seven schools were presented with single donations of at least $100 million, the highest number ever receiving such large gifts from one donor.


The second and third largest donations were made to Stanford University for $1.1 billion and Columbia University, which received $1 billion in gifts. Fourth and fifth runners-up were University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) which garnered $787 million and UC San Francisco with a nice $730 million.


The survey was taken by 927 schools. The survey relied on estimates for schools that did not respond to the survey.

Polar Vortex Costs US $1 Billion

The Polar Vortex . Courtesy
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA

The last week in January 2019 sent the US Midwest into a deep freeze that cost lives and about $1 billion.


At least one dozen people were reported killed by below zero temperatures which in some place reached record lows from Minnesota, Illinois to the northeastern USA. Thousands of planes were grounded or delayed, other forms of transportation, such as trains, were disrupted, and schools sere shuttered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. There were also several power and water outages reported.


Supply chains were disrupted as rail and barge transportation was halted or slowed. Retail shops and restaurants also suffered losses as most people sheltered indoors.


The $1 billion estimated price tag is still considerably less than the damage caused by the polar vortex of 2014, which came to about $5 billion.


Not everyone lost during the freeze. Stores selling winter items did a brisk business along with online sales and drive-through restaurants.


Chicago reported a bone-chilling minus-30 degrees Celsius, and Minneapolis recorded minus-32. Wind-chills factors made some places feel like minus-70 degrees.