by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Blake
55th Wing Public Affairs
4/27/2015 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The
governor of Nebraska spoke on leadership during the 2015 Spring Airmen
Leadership Conference April 15 in the Bennie Davis Maintenance Facility
The Honorable Pete Ricketts began his tenure Jan. 8 of this year, but is
not short on leadership experience. He is the former Chief Operating
Officer of Ameritrade and currently sits on several boards to include
the Chicago Cubs baseball team and Bellevue University, Nebraska.
This was the first bi-annual ALC, and its audience was comprised of
enlisted service members E-4 and below. For many, hearing from the
governor was a rare treat.
"The ALC is meant to provide leadership and mentorship possibilities for
our soldiers, sailors, and airmen," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman
Trevon Brooks, 55th Intelligence Support Squadron unit training manager,
and event coordinator. "One of the goals of the team, who organized the
event, was to provide exposure for E-4s and below to things and leaders
they do not see every day, and the governor fit that perfectly."
Ricketts began by showing his gratitude to the attendees.
"I want to start out by thanking all of you for your service to our
country," Ricketts said. "I have traveled the state more than most over
the last year and a half, and I can tell you Nebraskans all across the
state are very proud of your service. It is privilege to be here today."
Then he jumped straight into his views on leadership. He started by squashing the notion that a leader is the person in charge.
"That is not the case," Ricketts said. "Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader."
He also touched on what it takes to be a successful leader including
being a good follower, being generous with one's time at work, in the
community, with friends and with family, and remembering it is not about
what, but who, they want to be.
"One of the things I found throughout my career, is that leadership by
example, being the first person in and the last to leave, the one who
doesn't ask anyone to do something they wouldn't do, goes a long way,"
Ricketts said. "People recognize that. It is the key to getting them
He also recognized if the person in charge thinks they have all the answers, they will fail.
"Listen to people," Ricketts said. "Understand what they want. Don't
think because you are in charge, that you have to know everything."
One of his final thoughts was on the importance of making a good team and sharing the credit.
"One of my heroes, Ronald Regan, had a great quote, 'It is amazing what
can be done if you don't care who gets the credit,'" Ricketts said.
"Leadership is about the mission. If you are giving credit away, a lot
of amazing things will happen."