Sherron Watkins delivered a powerful keynote presentation about doing the right thing. She became known as one of the whistle blowers who graced the cover of Time Magazine as one of the Persons of the Year for 2002.
When I met her last week, she was everything I like in a keynote speaker: smart, vulnerable, approachable, and willing to share her successes and failures. She said she couldn’t get a corporate job after the Enron collapse. She would be close to a deal and someone would shut the door. So, now she is a professional speaker, and traveling the world inspiring people to do the right thing.
The most intriguing part of her story for me was how important it is to have the courage to speak up. She saw fraud in her company, and she spoke up. Her boss ignored her, and then those memos went public. Equally intriguing was her response when someone asked her if she would have done anything different knowing what she knows now. She said she would gather a team who also saw the fraud and approach her boss collectively. She said “Ken Lay ignored me. But, if I were to have a team around me to produce the evidence of fraud in our company, it would have been harder for him to ignore the facts.”
Be courageous. Speak up. And, look around and see who you could team up with when appropriate. Chances are, you won’t go through the collapse of a $64 billion dollar company, but you may be faced with a decision to courageously speak up, or keep things to yourself. If that’s the case, will you be courageous? Who is on your team? Who is in your corner?
From your happy-to-know-people-who-have-my-back motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman