Albritton discusses leadership in Glades EDC dinner speech

MOORE HAVEN — The keynote speaker for the Glades County Economic Development Council’s Annual Dinner and Meeting, State Rep. Ben Albritton, R-56th District (Lakeland), talked about leadership on Thursday evening, Sept. 6.

About 170 people gathered at the Doyle Conner Building in Moore Haven for the event, which started off with Executive Director Tracy Whirls’ annual report, followed by the business meeting where the organization’s existing slate of officers was re-elected. There followed a prime rib dinner prepared and served by local businesswoman Cassie Williams’ Cracker Cookin’ & Caterin’. The food was pronounced “superb” by the Glades EDC’s executive assistant, Kim Yager.

Rep. Albritton was introduced by EDC Vice President (and Glades County Board Chairman) John Ahern after the welcoming address by Paul McGehee, president of the council, and the annual report, in which Ms. Whirls noted the anticipated upcoming redevelopment of the old Glades Inn site on U.S. 27 and other business expansions in the county. A three-story hotel and restaurant plus four units of workforce housing are proposed to be built at the old inn site by sometime in 2020.

Said Rep. Albritton: “My goal tonight was to deliver something to you that we can all be better for when we walk out the door. That’s not going to include politics. So … I’m going to talk about leadership a little bit. It has been a significant part of human nature for all of the existence of mankind. It’s one of the most significant struggles that anybody will come up against in their daily life.

“There’s a lot of discussion in the world about what leadership is, and invariably, the message is complex. What I’ve always found is that leadership is simple,” he continued.

“It’s the pursuit of perfection. I believe … that everybody in this room, God created with a purpose. And we should never be ashamed, or embarrassed, or withdrawn about who we are. We should be comfortable in our own skin, and knowing that at the end of the day, it’s OK to be who we are.”

Rep. Albritton went on to describe how being a good listener is an integral part of anyone being able to exercise leadership, saying that it’s important to other people’s motivation for listening to what you might have to say to them. And, he added pointedly, it’s important to recognize that honesty and a devotion to standing up for the truth also are necessary to show leadership.

Finally, he recognized the recent passing of U.S. Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona, for whom the nation was mourning that week, saying that the late lawmaker and war hero’s meticulous personal planning of his funeral sent a clear message to his countrymen about respect, integrity, leadership and togetherness. Rep. Albritton ended by reading an excerpt from Sen. McCain’s final book, “The Restless Wave.”

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