On Thursday, February 27th, our Arts Student Union hosted a Guest Speaker Event with Reggie Love. For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, he is most notably known for his role as the right-hand man, the personal aide for Barack Obama, President of the United States. While here on campus, he shared his stories and experiences of his time with President Obama, and lessons on crisis management, collaboration and leadership.
Reggie opened with his early life, giving us an insight on his versatile background. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A, Love attended Duke University where he was able to follow his passion for both politics and sports. He graduated with a degree in Political Science and Public Policy and was on the Duke Blue Devils Basketball team that won that NCAA national championship in 2001. After graduation he pursued a professional career in the NFL on both the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys for two years. By the age of 23, he already had a very colourful resume, and was soon to add politics to it.
He worked in the senate office as a staff assistant after getting hired by a man named Pete Ross.It wasn’t until that time, when Senator Barack Obama announced his run for Presidency, that Love really got involved in politics. Pete Ross asked Love to work on the presidential campaign and described Love’s role as ”to go on the road and take care of stuff.” So for two years, that was exactly what he did for Obama. When Obama was elected President, Love became Obama’s official personal aide. In 2011, after 3 years in office with President Obama, Love decided to leave to complete his Masters of Business Administration at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
As Reggie Love looks back on his experiences, he shares with us what he learned not only from his time with President Obama, but with his career in sports and education as well. He sums it up in two ‘P’s.
Perspective, noun; A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Reggie identifies learning a lot about perspective with the President. He described moments when President Obama would visit military hospitals and take the time to go to every single room just to talk to the patients and their families. Love explains that it allowed him to take note that he, and those who live privileged lives, are lucky to have things such as freedom and democracy. He states that some people may not recognize the sacrifices that have been made so that we, the people, are able to have security and rule of law.
What I take away from Love’s message is: if you take the time to step back and think, you may realize that the stress of the exam you have tomorrow, or the horrible mood you are in because you forgot your umbrella on a rainy day, might not be as bad as you think. Our lives may not be as tough as we think.
Patience, noun; The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Reggie Love admits that he often enjoys the instant gratification that success gives by reaping the benefits of hard work immediately. However, he clarifies that hard work is not always immediate, that it takes 5, 10, maybe even 15 years before hard work can eventually pay off.
What I take away from his message is that, it is the patience and the perseverance that you must always carry with you whenever you want to succeed in something. The road to success may not always be easy, but it is definitely not impossible.
Reggie Love also took the time to explain that to be successful we must take the time to do, what he liked to describe as the “un-sexy” work. He mentioned that as part of a team when he was playing basketball, you can’t always be the star of the show. You have to help your team to help yourself.
What I take from this is the idea that not everyone can be the Lebron James, who will dunk and outscore everyone on the team. What people may not realize is that the key to winning a game are the people that are rebounding and giving solid assists. To be part of a successful team, you must add some value to your team.
To end off, here are some fun facts Reggie Love shared with us:
- Meeting Jay-Z was a life highlight
- Playing basketball with Barack Obama was also very memorable
- In his opinion, the best part of Air Force 1 was the amazing food and its Wi-Fi
- Obama and himself did not have a chance to bond and get to know one another well until their mutual love for basketball was discovered
- He was teammates with Shane Battier, 2x NBA Champion for the Miami Heat, on the Duke Blue Devils
- He let us in on a little White House secret: There is an entire underground city in the White House in case of emergencies!