April 23, 2003
Charles Mechem to Speak on "Leadership in Corporate, Broadcast, and Sports Management," April 28
Charles S. Mechem, Jr., '55, commissioner emeritus of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and former chairman of Great American Broadcasting Company, will deliver a lecture titled "On the Board, on the Air, in the Rough: Reflections on Leadership in Corporate, Broadcast, and Sports Management," on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 128. The talk is free and open to members of the Yale community.
Charles Mechem has had four distinct roles in his career--chairman of the board of four publicly traded companies, CEO of a broadcasting company, commissioner of the LPGA, and partner at a law firm--and he says he has learned something unique about how to be a leader from each one. But he also argues that some of the same fundamental qualities of leadership pertain in each realm. He will discuss leadership in its many forms in his talk on Monday April 28.
In the wake of prominent corporate scandals, Mechem believes this is an important time to look at the issue of leadership. "I am increasingly troubled by an abdication by business leaders of some central responsibilities," says Mechem.
Mechem points out that entire libraries could be filled with books about leadership, but that these books often obscure some of the basic qualities that lead to success. His advice will range from simple, universal principles, such as to be on time and to be respectful, to techniques for managing a board of directors. He notes that it is also important to learn from every position: "I learned a lot of things from running the LPGA that I never dreamt of before I got in the job."
As a Yale Law School graduate, Mechem will comment on the role lawyers can play in corporate leadership, including "how lawyers are perhaps ill equipped to deal with some of the challenges of leadership." Lawyers, he says, are trained to advise rather than make decisions, and are often uncomfortable in a hierarchical structure. On the other hand, Mechem says that a legal education teaches one to pay attention to detail without being consumed by it.
The Yale Entertainment and Sports Law Association will also be hosting Charles Mechem for a luncheon on Wednesday, April 30, from 12:10 to 1:30 p.m., in Room 129. This event will provide a forum for law students to ask questions about pressing litigation issues in the professional sports and media broadcasting arenas.