“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.”
These are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of all of the quotes for which he is best known, I am most inspired by this one because of my personal beliefs about service. Dr. King was an extraordinary example of servant leadership. His work was steeped in his desire for unity, he was inclusive and was a careful listener of those he led and of those who opposed him as well. And he took thoughtful, transformational actions that changed hearts and people.
Most importantly, Dr. King was driven by his desire to improve the lives of others. He was without a doubt one of our nation’s most gifted leaders, and he spent most of his life serving a mission to create a better quality of life, a better world for others. He led with that vision, and he served with a heart full of grace.
I draw inspiration and guidance from the servant leader Dr. King was. I have always approached my responsibilities as Texas Children’s President and CEO with a focus on service. I am here to serve a mission. I am here to serve the children and women we care for and their families. I am here to serve all of the employees and all of the medical staff, our volunteers and our Board of Trustees. I am here to serve the entire constituency of Texas Children’s.
Every day that I walk through the doors of Texas Children’s Hospital, I am thinking about what I can do to support everyone in our organization to make sure that we’re moving ever closer towards becoming an even better, greater Texas Children’s.
By the same token, I appreciate that same spirit of service in all of you. Much like Dr. King believed anyone can serve, you know one of my maxims is that everyone is a leader. Beyond that, I believe that everyone can be a servant leader. And to me, possessing a spirit of servant leadership means having a sense of ownership and responsibility for our organization, the families we care for and the people we work with. When you feel that sense of ownership, you think differently, your work is elevated, and you are more deeply vested in serving our mission.
Dr. King’s vision was propelled by people who not only shared it, but invested themselves in it wholly. They took personal ownership of it. They walked with him, prayed with him, and they channeled his inspiration into personal actions that served a common aspiration for unity and equality, and subsequently, together they advanced a nationwide movement.
As you reflect today, take a moment to think about that. Our service to Texas Children’s is our most valuable asset. Indeed, leadership can inspire hope, but service is ultimately what fulfills it.