Annual Luncheon: Former CEO of Hearst Newspapers Delivers Keynote Address

Article excerpt

Bob Danzig, the 20-year CEO of Hearst Newspapers and highly respected executive, was the keynote speaker at the Winter Conference Annual Luncheon. He began his speech with the words, "You are worthwhile," and suggested that everyone in the audience shares common powers in the community of the corrections profession.

Three things Danzig noted that everyone shares are talent, readers/viewers and leaders. "Talent creates everything we have," he said. Corrections' readers/viewers are not only the clients inside the walls but those out side as well. "You give those of us on the outside stability, safety and a noble purpose," Danzig noted, adding, "We are living a life of liberty due to your commitment to your profession." Correctional leaders nurture and influence the destiny of the profession.

Danzig told of how he became who he is today by describing his childhood. He spent his entire childhood in the foster care system. When Danzig was 11, a social worker said to him during their first meeting, "Never forget that you are worthwhile." She continued to tell him that every time they met. "It become a tattoo on my spirit," he said. "I never forgot her words and they are still with me today."

At 16, Danzig got a job as an office boy for a local Albany, N.Y., newspaper. Nine other candidates were interviewing for the job. Danzig showed up in a hat because a friend had told him that it would make him look older. He remembers the office manager approaching him and asking why he had it on. He told her and she said that he should take his hat off when he was indoors. Then she gave him the job. "She did what you do for people," Danzig said. "She took an interest." After about three months on the job, she said to him, "I believe you are full of promise." Danzig acknowledged, "I never stopped hearing her words." He pointed out that people never know the impact the words they use can have on those they touch.

In the early part of his career, Danzig observed leaders. He noted that some are managers and some are leaders. The difference, he said, is that managers focus on today, process and the body. Leaders, on the other hand, focus on tomorrow, purpose and the spirit. "Sometimes we don't see the common powers we share as leaders," Danzig said. "Those who choose to lead rather than manage are the forward thinking people in the profession."

After recently visiting a New Jersey prison, Danzig said he learned that corrections helps to get people to look at the different possibilities in life. Lydell Sherrer, a New Jersey Department of Corrections administrator, told him, "We [in corrections] are committed to being firm, fair and consistent."

Danzig noted that one of the powers that everyone shares is the power to inspire people to choose light instead of darkness. Another is to respect ourselves as well as the people we are privileged to guide. The final shared power, he added, is the power to listen, understand and encourage.

After having walked through the exhibit hall, Danzig said it is clear that corrections is full of new ideas. "We on the outside depend on correctional leaders and who you are, and what you do is unique," he said. He noted, "When you have the privilege of leadership, you can reach inside yourself and access those powers, see your own compelling vision look for tools to guide, generate excitement and really listen." In closing. Danzig told the audience, "You create safety and stability for us and you preserve our liberties. You are worthwhile and you are full of purpose."

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Prior to Danzig's address, North Carolina Gov. Michael F. Easley greeted attendees. He noted that when someone is incarcerated, it is likely that he or she will sooner or later reenter the community. "You help people blend back into society," he said. North Carolina, he added, is trying to put an emphasis on education and to reduce class sizes for children in kindergarten through third grade. …