HAMPTON, Va. (October 17, 2019) – The Hampton University William R. Harvey Leadership Institute (WRHLI) kicked off its 2019-2020 Meet the Leaders Series with Marisa Porto, former publisher and editor-in-chief for Virginia Media/Daily Press Media Group, a multi-million business in Hampton Roads, who is spending this year at Hampton as an Executive-in-Residence.
“We are honored and excited to have Ms. Marisa Porto as an Executive-in-Residence here at Hampton University this year. Her knowledge and experience in journalism and business will surely help our students continue to excel above the rest,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
During her lecture, Porto spoke about five simple rules for leadership and life:
1. Know your why. Know what is at the heart of everything you do -- your why. Why do you want to do what you want to do in life? “I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. I chose to do that as a journalist. Today, I'm doing it in a different way at Hampton University, but the heart of what I want to do hasn't changed. Leaders should know their ‘why,’” Porto said.
2. Think like Disney. Once you understand your 'why,' put a vision to it. What do you want to do with your why? Walt Disney said, "If you can dream it, there's some way to do it."
3. Be your own hero. “In your career and in your life, be the best ‘you’ you can be. Take care of you. Support you. Respect you. Being your own hero is its own kind of leadership, it's about leading you,” Porto said.
4. Act like Mom. “My mother loved to serve. Whether it was the family dinner table, as a cafeteria worker in an elementary school or the church we attended every week, she was always ready to serve others. People still remember that about her. Part of leadership is service. Listen to others, build a community, and share your commitment. That's a big part of leadership,” Porto said.
5. Keep the Faith. You will have successes, and you will have failures. You can learn from both, but Porto believes that failures teach you more about yourself as a person and a leader. When bad things happen, real leaders keep moving, keep the faith and focus on their why.
Lastly, Porto told the WRHLI students that they need to talk to others about respect, make their own leadership rules to live by and that is how to live their truth.
“Our theme this academic year is Service and Character, and Ms. Porto established a firm foundation for the WRHLI by sharing her vignettes on leadership, being a role model and mentor. She inspired the Leadership Fellows and challenged them to critically analyze their why and purpose, not just while here at HU, but once they leave and contribute as a leader and productive member of society,” said Dr. Jarris Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.
Porto is an alumnus of the University of South Carolina and has held leadership positions with news organizations in Florida, Delaware and Ohio. She is the former president of the Virginia Press Association and was a citizen member of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council. She has served on the boards of several community organizations, including the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. She currently lives in Hampton.