Career Day Keynote Speaker Shares Four Pillars of Character that Support Professional Success

Friday, February 4, 2022

As a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan as well as for multiple Fortune 500 CEOs, Heathwood grandparent Ben Elliott has both witnessed and facilitated leadership at the highest levels. As this year's Middle School Career Day keynote speaker, Mr. Elliott shared what his own professional experience and his observations of business and political leaders have taught him about the secrets to a successful career and a fulfilling life.

Above all, Mr. Elliott told Heathwood's Middle Schoolers, the key to professional success is character, specifically four qualities that he described as essential to strong character development:

--Work: Nothing worthwhile comes without working for it, Mr. Elliott observed, and hard work and achievement are key to building confidence, perseverance, and discipline.

--Integrity: Telling the truth and keeping your word are essential to earning the trust of others.

--Relationships: Nurturing all the relationships in your life, not just those with friends and family, pays off in many ways. Teachers, for example, have so much to offer students, and those who listen closely will benefit immensely.

--Faith: Know that God loves each of us as we are, and find peace and security in that knowledge.

And, he added, developing the right skills can also take you far in life: "If you can write well, you can choose where you want to work."

While it's not essential for Middle Schoolers to have their professional futures mapped out yet, Mr. Elliott said, there is one thing they can do to start building toward a successful career: just be mindful of what they really want to do and what they're passionate about. "There's honor in every profession," he noted, "so the key is to love what you do."

Mr. Elliott is the father of Heathwood parent Meredith Rowley and the grandfather of James '29, Reagan '31, and Eamon '34 Rowley.