A Fireside Chat on Leadership with Former Governor Jim Edgar of Illinois

On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021, the University of Illinois College of Law’s Leadership Project hosted former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar for a “fireside chat” on the topic of leadership. Governor Edgar served as Illinois’ 38th Governor from 1991 to 1999 and previously served as Illinois Secretary of State and as a member of the Illinois General Assembly. During his years of public service, Governor Edgar established a reputation as a strong leader who could reach across the aisle to get things done.

The Leadership Project co-hosted the event in conjunction with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs and the Student Bar Association at the College of Law. Assistant Dean Greg Miarecki, the director of the College’s Leadership Program, moderated the session alongside Akshay Soman, the Student Bar Association’s current President. In-person attendance at the fireside chat was limited to current students, and alumni and friends of the College from around the world participated via Livestream, with over 100 attendees in total.

Governor Edgar shared his perspectives on leadership – learned from more than 30 years in public service. Governor Edgar offered some key takeaways:

  1. The definition of leadership is the ability to take people where they don’t want to go, but know they need to go. For that reason, it is critical that a leader secure and maintain the trust of his or her followers.
  2. Teamwork is critical to leadership. A good leader must assemble a team that will tell him or her when he is wrong, and create an environment where all team members feel that they belong. Importantly, a good leader should work to promote their team members and move them into progressively more responsible positions over time.
  3. Good leaders are problem solvers. They are able to identify the issue, provide a solution, and work with everyone around him or her to implement it.
  4. Good leaders are able to compromise and work with others who have differing views. Often, the result of the compromise is better than any one side could have achieved on its own.

Click here (www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rit2gVwU3Y) to view the entire session on the College of Law’s YouTube channel.

The College of Law’s Leadership Project is planning additional programming in the next few months, including a continuing legal education program on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022, where the panel will discuss Donald T. Phillips’ book – Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership: Inspiration & Wisdom for Challenging Times. Click on the link below to learn more and to register:

College of Law – Events Calendar: CLE: A Discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership – Inspiration & Wisdom for Challenging Times (illinois.edu)