This year marks Silverleaf’s 10th anniversary. Our week-long celebration included an array of special events with residents and friends that honored our traditions and celebrated the legacy of Silverleaf. Some of the events and programming included: a cooking demonstration by Robin Miller of the Food Network; a night of art with Bonner David Galleries; a luncheon with Mark Kelly; fantastic golf and spa activities; and culminated with a concert event with KC & The Sunshine Band.
While every event was a success, I was particularly struck by the luncheon with Captain Mark Kelly, retired American astronaut, U.S. Navy Captain, naval aviator, cancer survivor, best-selling author and husband to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
There were many inspirational themes in his discussion but a few really resonated with me including: perseverance and courage; importance of clear communication; and passion for service. Kelly admitted he wasn’t the most talented pilot in the Navy, nearly failing out of the program and encouraged by his instructors to find another career. Instead Kelly continued to practice harder and longer than any others and compensated for his lack of inherent piloting skills with his leadership and courage. This early career experience would one day lead to Kelly serving as the Captain for the last shuttle mission of NASA’s Endeavor.
Kelly also emphasized the need for clear communication with everyone on the team. He recounted a time he accidentally flew over prohibited air space and did not communicate this to his ground support team which enabled bomber planes to strike down his aircraft. He quickly learned from that near death experience that even when the job requires quick decision making, you cannot neglect to clearly communicate that decision to others.
It is evident that both Kelly and his wife share a passion for service. Kelly for serving to protect the safety and well being of his country and Giffords for public service and serving the people. Kelly’s inspirational points are ones I can apply at Silverleaf as well. As the general manager, I’m encouraged to strive for greatness, foster clear communication, use smart decision making skills and to always put service first at Silverleaf and in the greater community.