“The Power of a Conversation” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

“The Power of a Conversation”

Returning to campus for a three-day visit, Susan Scott ’67 was the Leader in Residence for the Centennial Center for Leadership. While at the Colleges, Scott met with groups from across campus, including a session with Reader’s College students, workshops for campus supervisors, faculty members and staff and also presented a keynote address titled, “The Power of Conversation,” to the HDI Leadership Conference.

Showcasing this year’s theme of The Power of an Idea, Scott broke down the main tenants of her Fierce Conversations program, emphasizing, “Human connectivity is the only sustainable competitive edge.” At the HDI Leadership Conference, she encouraged her audience to measure leadership in terms of relationships.

Throughout the course of her keynote address, Scott outlined the seven principles of Fierce Conversation, emphasizing the first, which directs you to interrogate reality. “Weak leaders want compliance,” explains Scott. “Strong leaders look for the truth, understanding that no single person owns it.”

When asked whether the Fierce Conversation principles would work with someone who was not aware of them, Scott responded, “The progress of the world depends on individual progress.”  Scott revealed that her best teachers are her clients, because she has witnessed their trials and how they handle them. “I pay attention to my own life,” explains Scott.

Reflecting on her return to campus, Scott comments, “It’s very sweet. I received an extraordinary education, both academically and in life skills. I was surprised how many memories came flooding back just by smelling the air and hearing the crickets.”

Scott’s firm, Fierce Inc., is an internationally recognized leader in cultural transformation and executive education, providing Fierce Conversations, Fierce Leadership, and Fierce Coaching programs to a diverse and growing client base.  For 13 years, Scott ran a think tank for executives through TEC Worldwide, an organization dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of CEOs.  Previously, Scott served as vice president of the Pace Network, a search firm in Seattle, and also as a regional manager for Context Associated, a training organization headquartered in San Francisco.

While at William Smith, Scott majored in English, participated in the Herald, cheerleading and was a resident of Sill House.