The keynote speaker Harriet Dominique, President of The USAA Foundation and President of The USAA Educational Foundation, spoke about leadership lessons she has learned during her career at USAA. Harriet began her career in 1989 answering phones and was an entry-level member service representative at USAA. She served in a variety of positions with increasing accountability throughout her career. She now leads USAA’s philanthropic strategies, engagement, and communications.

Harriet leads a team whose purpose is to “lead and inspire actions that improve lives in the military and local community.” Her presentation focused on lessons she has learned over her career related to leadership. The lessons she shared can be used in multiple career settings.

She focused on seven specific lessons.

  1. Never underestimate the importance of perseverance. Perseverance is important when starting out in one’s career. Keep trying and don’t give up.
  2. Chase experiences; not titles. Harriet discussed the importance of not just choosing positions because of their job title, but to choose positions based on the experiences they will provide. Just because a position may not have the title you are looking for the experience that job gives a person can be invaluable for a future career.
  3. Proactively seek constructive feedback. Constructive feedback is important to better yourself and your performance at work. Don’t be afraid to accept feedback, even if not all positive, from others and make necessary adjustments.
  4. Be a Go-Giver. Harriet introduced the concept of being a Go-Giver which is described in a book by Bob Burg and John David Mann. There are five laws of stratospheric success: (a) The Law of Value: your truth worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment; (b) The Law of Compensation: your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them; (c) The Law of Influence: your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first; (d) The Law of Authenticity: the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself; and (e) The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
  5. Have clarity in core values. Make sure you have your own core values clear. You should use these values to guide your decision-making process.
  6. Remember expressions of gratitude. Expressing gratitude to others is essential to an effective leader. Most things in your career are difficult to accomplish by yourself. Make sure you thank those team members.
  7. It’s all about balance. Finally, Harriet discussed the importance of balance. Balance the previous six lessons with confident humility.


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