In the first episode of Season 2 of the Born Leader Podcast, my interview with Michel Zajur, Founder and CEO of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (VAHCC), brought home an interconnected set of ideas. First, you don’t get where you are on your own. We are all working hard to build the lives and communities we envision for ourselves. However, without the people who believe in us and our ideas . . . without the people who support and invest in what we do . . . most of us are lost floating in a sea of our own thoughts.
It’s that interconnection and support that made a difference for Michel’s family when they first came to the States. And he pays that early kindness from his uncle forward time and again through VAHCC, its Passport to Education program, and other activities in the Richmond community.
The second idea is that you never know what effect your words or actions might have on others. Did his uncle know the lasting impact his generosity and support would have on Michel? It’s very unlikely. But that spirit has infused Michel’s entire life and produced some incredible contributions to the people in his life and the greater community.
While it may be “lonely at the top”, it isn’t a solitary climb. Supporting those around us is one of the core values of servant leadership. There’s Big L leadership and Little L leadership. The first is what we often think about – being out front as a spokesperson or figurehead. Being in charge. Our discussion focused on Little L leadership, the character and skills necessary to authentically lead oneself and others, and to follow a path of purpose. The things that have led Michel to success and transformed not only his life, but many others'.
Photo: Cindy Zhao, Founder and CEO, Asian American Chamber of Commerce; Michel Zajur, Founder and CEO, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Gaea L. Honeycutt, Co-founder and Past Chairman, Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce.