It is always a special occasion when a high-ranking government official comes to campus. Anthony Graves, the Director of Regional Affairs for the City and County of Denver, came to speak to the 1st and 2nd year classes of PLP last Wednesday, September 30th! He shared lessons in leadership from his wide range of experiences (from corporate to public service) and helped instill the importance of serving a local community among all the PLP members. Mr. Graves’ leadership lessons were distilled into 3 P’s: perseverance, people, and patience.
When he was young, Mr. Graves would tour his neighborhood with a wagon full of food, trying to sell enough to support his family. This served as an early lesson in perseverance: while some people were very supportive, others would slam their door in his face. He did not give up trying to sell the food and learned that even getting through the toughest of times is important to reaching new areas of life.
Mr. Graves has served on multiple non-profit boards, completed multinational mergers & acquisitions, supervised multinational sales teams, and now is a public official. He rarely burned bridges and told the PLPers that the connections to people – here at the University of Denver, in internships and jobs, and in life in general – is one of the most important resources to have. Networking should be used to establish personal and valuable relationships, not just job opportunities. The people he connected to allowed Mr. Graves to eventually serve where he is now: in the executive arm of the Mayor’s office.
Despite his success of finding incredible opportunities, Mr. Graves made it abundantly clear to the PLPers that patience is absolutely key. Sometimes even the greatest opportunities (like serving on multiple non-profit boards) need to be passed over in favor of maintaining current obligations or relationships. Simply being patient allows amazing opportunities to come at the right time: one simply needs to walk through that door when it presents itself.
Anthony Graves’ story provided an incredible insight into leadership and life for the blossoming PLPers at the event. He made it personal and memorable to all the students in attendance and we all hope he’ll be invited back soon!
Written by 2nd year PLPer, Morgan Smith