Washington, D.C., July 1, 2013 – RADM David N. Rogers, USN (Ret), a highly experienced naval aviator and current IWP trustee, met the Institute’s summer interns to share thoughts on leadership and some of his life experiences.
Admiral Rogers praised IWP’s overarching ethical approach to its education, noting how rare an opportunity it is for students to gain the well-rounded foundation they receive at this school. He echoed the advice of the staff to take advantage of the networking opportunities the school provides.
Admiral Rogers then described his four different careers, which all have touched on international relationships. He was an aviator in the Navy for 35 years and retired after achieving the rank of Admiral. He then worked at a think tank, went into industry, and now teaches.
He then shared some thoughts about three essential elements of effective leadership: “Know your stuff, take care of your people, and be courageous.” He illustrated the importance of these qualities with personal stories.
He saw how important it was to have knowledge of one’s field when, in the Navy, he saw people going the extra mile to research their field and improve procedures that ultimately saved lives and resources. A sergeant had a big impact on Admiral Rogers’ leadership approach when the sergeant took responsibility for a mistake Rogers made that could have caused an international incident. Admiral Rogers resolved to always take care of his people, as well.
Finally, the Admiral encouraged the interns to be courageous in their leadership roles by telling a story about an officer who would not change his evaluation of a pilot who was not qualified to fly, despite great pressure. This officer ultimately lost his career over his refusal to revoke his evaluation, but a few months later he was proven right when this pilot crashed and killed herself and her co-pilot.
Admiral Rogers concluded his lecture by emphasizing the importance of making the effort to establish personal relationships with people of different cultures. He explained that establishing these relationships made it possible for him to understand people of different cultures and create a basis for communication which proved invaluable to him.