Steve Zylius / University Communications Steve Zylius / University Communications Rudy Giuliani greets audience members after a 70-minute talk Tuesday, Feb. 5, at UC Irvine’s Crystal Cove Auditorium. “You can learn leadership like you can math or history,” he said. “You can learn to improve upon your leadership abilities, because to succeed, you must lead.”

Learning to lead

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani offers insights in campus talk

If anyone defines a modern leader, it’s Rudy Giuliani, the former U.S. attorney and New York City mayor who helped lead his metropolis through the nightmare of 9/11. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, before a crowd packing UC Irvine’s Crystal Cove Auditorium, Giuliani shared his thoughts on leadership, stressing one point in particular.

People are not born leaders, he said. They are nurtured and trained in the skills necessary. “You can learn leadership like you can math or history,” Giuliani said. “You can learn to improve upon your leadership abilities, because to succeed, you must lead.”

During his 70-minute talk, which drew from his 2002 book, Leadership, Giuliani detailed six hallmarks of effective leadership: a strong set of principles, optimism, courage, relentless preparation, teamwork and communication.

He said he learned about leadership from role models in his life – such as his father and a judge he clerked for as a young attorney – and by reading biographies. “All my life, I’ve been copying people,” Giuliani said. “I’m constantly trying to learn from others.”

The event was sponsored by The National Society of Leadership & Success, which has a UC Irvine chapter. It was simulcast to chapters at 340 other college campuses.

“Mayor Giuliani’s insights on strategic leadership, combined with his compassionate attitude, align with the message of leadership we try to communicate,” says Andrew Gonzales, the UC Irvine chapter co-adviser and associate director of the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center.

“This essential message transcends political allegiances and applies to everyone in positions of influence. Our hope is that our students, faculty, staff and community members will rediscover their potential to effect positive change in whatever environment they may find themselves.”

Since starting up in 2009, the UC Irvine chapter of The National Society of Leadership & Success has attracted more than 3,000 members. As part of its mission to help them tap into their leadership and academic potential, the group sponsors a speaker series, which brought Giuliani to campus.

Gonzales says the society accentuates the efforts of the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, which helps undergraduates in that school select a career or graduate program, generate professional contacts and gain a competitive edge in the employment market.

Leadership isn’t a major, Gonzales notes, but it’s a component of what he calls the five pillars of education – academics, research, internship, leadership and community service – emphasized by the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center.

“Speakers like Rudy Giuliani cement the message that these are the pillars on which to build your future,” Gonzales says. “His speech was timeless, embracing the philosophy we have toward leadership: If you lead with your heart, your head and hands will follow.”

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