Great leaders know that no one is an island. Learning from each other and those that came before us is the key to success. From “brain food” snacks to profound advice gleaned from the pages of leadership books, three Georgia executives pay it forward by sharing what energizes and inspires them.
“I think great leaders must stay curious, be in a state of constant learning, and most importantly, adapt and evolve to stay relevant.”
—Teresa White, president, Aflac U.S.
Founded in 1955, Columbus, Georgia–headquartered Aflac is the United States’ largest provider of supplemental insurance. In 2021, Ethisphere magazine included Aflac on its list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 15th consecutive year.
Aflac U.S. President Teresa White shares a few of her favorite business books.
It Worked For Me by Colin Powell
“The simplicity of caring for people at every level of the business and making sure people feel seen can impact how they view the organization and their leadership.”
The Art of Leadership & Organizational Transformation by Steven E. Sondergard
“Leaders can improve organizations that are not performing well by using methodical, proven methods.”
Bringing Out the Best in People by Aubrey C. Daniels
“Understanding what motivates people can help you to better set the appropriate incentives.”
Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
“History has its eyes on all of us, and the privilege of experience provides each of us with great perspective.”
The days that I work out with a trainer seem to be my most energized days. If I can make it through a 6 a.m. workout that has someone testing my limits and strength all before coffee? I can handle anything after that.”
—Dr. Audra Pittman, vice president, SCAD Atlanta
Savannah College of Art and Design is a private nonprofit art university with locations in Savannah, Atlanta, and Lacoste, France. Founded in 1978, it’s ranked among the top educational institutions for fashion, design, and art.
SCAD Atlanta Vice President Audra Pittman lists her favorite leaders’ inspirational podcasts and social media pages.
LinkedIn: Dara Treseder, SVP, Peloton Interactive
“I am, frankly, inspired by her journey and how she has managed to help Peloton gain such customer engagement. Ironically, I don’t even own a Peloton.”
Podcast: Superwomen with Rebecca Minkoff
“She is a fashion designer for her own brand and shares the journeys of other high-profile and impactful female leaders who inspire listeners on how to make an impact in their own communities.”
“This organizational psychologist at the Wharton School [of Business at the University of Pennsylvania] posts a lot of great quotes and mind-provoking thoughts related to life, work, and shaping your mindset.”
A few impactful mentorships that come to mind started with people who recognized my personal passions around community engagement and flexible work, and then specifically asked for advice on those topics. Some of these opportunities turned into a more formal mentoring relationship, and others were just a really great conversation and brainstorming session.”
—Deanna Mathis, director of community outreach & corporate giving, Shaw Industries Group
Dalton-headquartered Shaw Industries is one of the largest flooring manufacturers in the world. With annual revenues in excess of $6 billion, the company is a leading employer in Georgia, recognized as a Forbes Best-In-State Employer for Georgia every year since the list’s inception.
Shaw Industries Group Director of Community Outreach & Corporate Giving Deanna Mathis shares her favorite fuel for productivity.
- Matcha Latte
“I make one (sometimes two) every morning. Delicious.”
“One of my favorite restaurants in Dalton, Cafe Ostro, makes the best homemade hummus. I almost always have some in the fridge.”
3. Raisin Bread
“My breakfast most mornings. It satisfies my sweet tooth.”
4. Sourdough Avocado Toast
“A quick lunch snack. I use the individual chunky guacamole packets to speed it up.”
5. Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie
“If I have a little extra time, I will pull out the blender and whip up a protein smoothie.”