Given my limited experience managing teams, my exposure to [name] was central to my early success at [consulting firm]. For example, although I had considered myself a leader in athletics, I had not learned to translate those skills into the business arena. [Name] taught me several effective methods to lead teams. Admittedly, as a highly motivated young analyst with very high work standards, I also lacked many of the skills required for effective team leadership. However, I quickly learned the importance of flexibility and became more comfortable providing feedback and directing the work of others. Furthermore, through his example, [name] taught me the importance of objectivity and the utility of several effective communication techniques. For example, I learned to use my sense of humor as an effective tool to persuade, disarm, or motivate others.
Then, at fourteen, I spent a semester at a ski program in Switzerland. I found myself gazing at the Alps wondering what possessed Hannibal to attempt them with his herd of elephant! This country with four official languages, had 450 different varieties of Swiss cheese, with further “variety within the varieties”, which the locals told me was a combination of vegetation and techniques passed from one generation to the next. We studied European history, and Swiss Mountain Guides taught us how to read snow and avalanche conditions. We watched weather to predict whether we would be skiing ice or powder from the way the crystals set up on our jackets. By then, I was a reader but reading comprehension alone could not have guaranteed success in these places. Thanks to my dyslexia, I had the foundation to employ multiple paths of engagement, which helped me draw as much meaning out of these experiences as possible.