Balancing the Raw with the Rational | Leadership Lessons

May 14, 2021  • Aspen Global Leadership Network

Devon Spurgeon (Henry Crown Fellow) was seeing the world as black versus white. But when COVID-19 altered her life, she began to see the grey in between.

Devon, a crisis communications expert, recognizes the value of rationality in complex decision-making. In a global pandemic, however, emotions run high. By making space for those moments of vulnerability, she realized she could be an even better leader. This looked like gaining a deeper understanding of the people she worked with and learning to balance the raw with the rational.

“When I was real with people, number one, I could do it while keeping my rational side and, then number two, I was actually able to understand their positions so much better. And it made me better at my job.”

Watch episode two of #LeadershipLessons to hear Devon share more on her new approach to leadership and how she rapidly responded to needs brought on by the pandemic through Project Isaiah, an initiative that combats food insecurity brought on by the pandemic through distributing boxed meals provided by airline food services – an effort that also preserved jobs along the way.  

Devon Spurgeon is a 2015 Henry Crown Fellow. She founded the communications firm Sheridan Strategies in January 2016. As a public relations strategist, Devon has been re-inventing the way “traditional” communications has evolved using networks and technology. She has extensive experience in corporate positioning, financial and crisis communications, as well as media relations. A trusted advisor, she quietly serves as communications counsel to several high-profile executives, including Fortune 500 CEO’s and CFO’s, on a wide range of corporate and executive leadership issues including stakeholder engagement and shareholder activism.

The Henry Crown Fellowship Program is the Aspen Institute’s flagship Fellowship challenging entrepreneurial leaders, primarily in the U.S. business sector, to make a difference in the world.

Leadership Lessons – a Video Series from the Aspen Global Leadership Network

The impacts of COVID-19 continue to challenge our communities. However, through these challenges, there’s a lot to be learned. In “Leadership Lessons” hear from leaders who have stepped up in new ways and remained steadfast in their values through this crisis. How did they make the tough decisions? How have they changed as leaders? Tune in and gain top insights from values-driven leaders – Fellows in the Aspen Global Leadership Network – who are battling trade-offs, creating rapid responses to community needs, sharpening new skills, and more.

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