The most significant event is the corporate community's exploitation of mass media (including the Internet) to define not only the needs, wants and allocation of an individual assets, but also to influence the social, moral, ethnical and political benchmarks which determine who we are as a civilization.

 


Magazine
Fall/Winter 1999

Tim Conlon '61
Principal, Conlon Consulting Group

What is the most significant event that has occurred in your profession or field of study during the 20th century? What lesson do you take away from that event?

The most significant event is the corporate community's exploitation of mass media (including the Internet) to define not only the needs, wants and allocation of an individual assets, but also to influence the social, moral, ethnical and political benchmarks which determine who we are as a civilization.

Personally, what is the most meaningful life lesson you have taken from your vocation or avocation?

My 35 years of work experience has placed me in contact intimately with a variety of leaders in Northern California. Therefore, I have come to make leadership a long term long-term study. If one is called to seek leadership, one has to cultivate an attitude of service to a constituency, a strength to think independently and ethically to create a vision which provides for opportunities for the constituency being served, and a belief in one's inherent worth as provided by a higher Spiritual being. Wabash introduced me to the call of leadership, and so, the most meaningful life lesson has been to honestly assess my abilities and use them in some form of leadership, tempered by an attitude of service, independent thinking and inner confidence based on Faith.

What person(s) or mentor(s) have had the most significant impact on your life? Can you describe how that person affected your life?

Upon reflection, my choices are contrarian to what I would expect if I gave the question a shallow evaluation. I have met three governors, four mayors, numerous CEOs, academic and community leaders and worked close-up with their staffs, but my mentors, except for one, have never been high-profile figures.

Russell G. Baker, my father in law—Russ started and operated a funeral home in Indiana and in his later adult life gave of himself and his personal wealth to my family. He taught me generosity, business sense, gentleness, humor and how to appreciate good Scotch.

Marcus Foster, former Superintendent of Schools, Oakland, CA—Dr. Foster was assassinated over 20 years ago by the Symbionese Liberation Army (of Patty Hearst fame.) He was a loving, brilliant visionary with enumerable gifts who could haveĪled Oakland children to new heights of learning. He truly created an atmosphere in a room when he entered, mostly of grace, love and exceptional intelligence supported by his desire to serve.

Richard Lamb, Jr., former Bureau Chief, Business Week, San Francisco—Dick was my first offical boss when he hired me at BW in 1966. He taught me professionalism in reporting, writing and speaking. Corny as it sounds, he truly meant and enforced the dictum., ŌMean what you say, and say what you mean.Ķ His kind are long gone in national media. He taught me craftsmanship in writing and editing, and to think on my own, regardless of the rantings ranting from the New York editors.

Declan Deane, OSJ, Pastoral Vicar, St. Monica Church, Moraga.—Declan is my church preacher and educator on social justice. Born in Ireland and hardened by his time of ministry in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, his bouts with alcohol and frustration with the Catholic Church's insensivity to its congregation, Declan can speak succinctly and brilliantly of God's presence in today's environment.

In your experience, what is the greatest misconception the public has about your vocation (or field of study) or the people in that vocation?

If I take my eclectic career (journalism, public affairs, business entreprenuership entrepreneurship andĪconsulting) and categorized it as Management & Public Policy, I would say the public views these disciplines as relatively easy to enter acquire and utilize. This ignores the nitty-gritty work of crafting one's communication skills, developing strategy skills and honing interpersonal abilities implement both private and public programs and motivate participants with a clear vision.

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