Carly Fiorina Discusses New Foundation, What Makes A Good Leader

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
Font Size:

Former 2016 GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said she’s looking to create more leaders in the non-profit sector with her new charitable organization, the Unlocking Potential Foundation.

Fiorina — who managed to climb from being a secretary of a small real estate firm to the CEO of Hewlett-Packard — said she wants to share the skills and strategies she’s learned throughout her career in hopes of helping community-based organizations become more efficient.

“In this particular case in the case of Unlocking Potential, we are focused on the nonprofit sector because there is so much less investment in leadership capacity in the nonprofit sector because they deal with such big problems,” she told The Daily Caller in an interview Sunday. “What I hope to accomplish is — we have lot of problems and we need more leaders, because leaders are always the catalyst to solve problems.”

Having done advisory work for a variety of businesses over the years, Fiorina said two of the most common problems she sees companies and employees grapple with is underestimating how difficult change is and fail to create alignment and clarity about what the problems they face and need to be changed.

According to Fiorina, Unlocking Potential differentiates itself by working with employees at all levels in the company, not just senior management, on providing the skills necessary to be as successful in their position as possible. She said getting a variety of perspectives is necessary to fully understand the challenges and successes.

“I think instead of waiting for people in high positions to lead we just need more leaders to lead where they are,” she said.  A group performs at its best — any group in any setting – if the potential of the group is unleashed and if people in the group regardless of who they are or what they do understand, ‘I can lead. I can make a difference. I can help solve the problem.'” she said. “It sounds so basic but it’s actually not.”

The organization kicked off its first two-day intensive workshop on Saturday with Easter Seals — a Maryland-based nonprofit that provides assistance to people with physical and mental disabilities. Fiorina said she felt the weekend was a success, noting Unleashing Potential provides follow-up consultations after six months to help prevent the groups from falling back into the status quo.

Fiorina said leadership isn’t about the size of the office, but the dedication and work that goes into the position.

“A good leader is someone who understands their job, and their job is to change the order of things for the better, their job is to problem solve, their job is to unlock potential in others,” she said. “And that’s very different than my job to be a big cheese and sit in my office — because leadership isn’t about your title.”

Follow Juliegrace Brufke on Twitter