The three great leaders of my life

Truly great leaders are hard to find. In my professional life, I have worked for three.

Allison White and Jalloul Montacer were McDonald’s general managers.

Plato Karafelis was my principal for fifteen years.


Allison taught me the importance of being the thing that you expect from your employees. She taught me that every job, as small and insignificant as it may seem, should be done superbly. In many ways, she was the first person to see my own potential as a leader.

Jalloul taught me to respect and value every employee, regardless of their position, for your success depends entirely upon them. He taught me to seek out the most challenging assignments, for it is through struggle and discomfort that we grow. He taught me that hard work and grit should be prized above all. 

Plato taught me to respect the differences in people. He taught me to  understand that every person is at a different place on their journey, and what may work for one person will not work for another. He taught me that the best leaders quietly protect their employees, absorbing the undeserved, unwarranted, and unnecessary slings and arrows without any need for credit or fanfare.  

I thought of all three of these people while listening to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on leadership. All three embodied his message perfectly.

Sadly, few leaders do.  

It’s a must listen for every leader and for anyone who wants to demand more from their leaders.