A life well lived is a practical textbook for personal and professional development

Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA

A life in the service of a society and more importantly in the service of community of nations provides sage wisdom for personal and professional growth. On 08th February, Ambassador Sichan Siv, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (2001-2006) visited Texas Tech University. While speaking to an attentive audience, Ambassador Siv’s journey from the killing fields of Cambodia to White House and subsequently to the United Nations portrayed several attributes, which professionals in businesses could embrace for achieving successes.

The lecture focused on positive attributes such as hope, commitment, perseverance, lifelong learning and above all a great sense of duty to the community and nation. Having his flights canceled twice due to mechanical failure for his short trip from San Antonio to Lubbock, Siv was determined to arrive in Lubbock for the lecture, a journey that took nearly 24-hours. He drove from San Antonio to Austin to catch a plane to arrive for lecture as planned, is itself a hallmark of commitment.

Escaping hard labor camp in Cambodia during the Vietnam war era and then arriving as a refugee in the United States in 1976 showcased hope, which he learnt from his mother. Starting his New York life as a taxi driver determined to make good for himself took him to the White House serving President George H. W. Bush, which ultimately ended-up in the United Nations.

In a question on reaching heights or in business parlance achieving the financial target, Ambassador Siv stated, unless one tries, the chance of winning or reaching the goal post is not possible. It is like one must play lottery to even dream of winning. Learning has been an important part of his career, which his now deceased wife practiced even as a high school student. He quipped, “Behind every successful man, there is a (Texan) librarian.” This relates well with businesses showing continuous professional development is important.

Julie Wheeler, a Plainview native, who has been in the cotton industry for all most all her life, mostly recently with Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Grower, Inc., emphasized the importance of dependability in a business leader, which is often taken for granted. In a question from this scribe on the contribution to the needy parts of the world, it was clear from what Ambassador Siv practices, being service oriented. This aspect needs to be taken seriously by the corporate world, as industries are being judged by their corporate social responsibility, these days. A life well lived is a practical textbook for personal and professional development.