By PRINCESS B. WILLIAMS
The vice president and chief diversity officer of U.S. Cellular came to Claflin University’s Spring Convocation on Thursday to inform students of the five things every visionary leader should know.
“The first thing is know your era. Know your century. Know your world. Know what’s next,” Linal Harris said before offering a synopsis of how the world has changed drastically through technology.
Students should stay abreast of the new advances of their generation, he said. They must make their mark.
“I’m going to do something that someone, somewhere, somehow will see 1,000 years from now,” Harris said.
Harris asked students what are they doing now to prepare, and assured them anything is accomplishable if people put their minds to the task.
The second thing is know how to manage your media.
“We live in a media-driven society. College students spend a massive amount of time on social media,” he said.
“If you’re not careful, you’ll let the media tell you what your vision is,” Harris warned. “If you manage your media, you can manage your mind.”
“Don’t let the tool use you. Use the tool.”
The third tip is: “Know your purpose. Be you!”
Many young adults are still discovering who they really are, he said. Many are afraid to stand out.
“The last thing you want to do is blend in,” Harris said. “If you don’t know your purpose today, your No. 1 job is to define your purpose.”
Fourth, “Know how to be an open-minded listener,” he said.
Harris stated that there is nothing more powerful than listening.
“If you listen to learn, you’ll walk away with so much wisdom.”
Lastly, Harris left students with the keyword: Persistence.
He made students aware of the locked doors they’ll encounter along life’s journey.
“Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do,” he said. “If you hit anything with persistence over and over again, it will break!”
Headquartered in Chicago, U.S. Cellular has 4.9 million customers and reported revenue of $4 billion in 2012.
Also during the convocation event, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of the university, spoke about striving for greatness.
SGA President Dwayne Coleman reminded students that they’re visionaries and should never forget that.
“We’re a thriving generation. I’m looking forward to the continued success of our SGA in the future,” Coleman said.