Legendary


Seeing Oprah on The Tony’s reminded me that regardless of what you might think of her, the gal knows how to throw a gala. When ABC televised her Legends Ball in May viewers could be forgiven if they thought they had tuned into an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.


But beneath all of the glitz and glamour (and it was piled on) there was a true attitude of gratitude. Oprah had convened a once-in-a-lifetime weekend to celebrate and honor approximately 50 African-American women she dubbed Legends. She also astutely invited and involved more than a dozen "Youngins" to express their thanks and to honor these women for breaking barriers and paving the way for the current success they enjoy in the worlds of entertainment and business.


Sincerity and humility were in great supply at this intergenerational lovefest, which assembled more luminaries in one place than most Oscar telecasts. What stood out most for me was what seemed to be genuine surprise and delight from the Legends that they were feted in such a regal way and that a younger generation would so deeply appreciate the efforts they had made.


I was also taken with Oprah's extensive personal involvement in the minutiae of the very complicated weekend, a commitment characterized by her expression "Love is in the details." Not "the devil's in the details," but love. She's got that right. When we attend to personalizing and perfecting every element of an experience, we are truly expressing how much we care, appreciate, and love those who will be its beneficiaries.


Every profession, every organization, every community has its own share of Legends who deserve to have their trailblazing efforts commemorated. Though they likely toil in far greater obscurity and do no necessarily transcend racial and gender lines as much as these Legends do, their contributions are no less worthy of recognition.


How are you recognizing the Legends in your profession or your life? What could your organization be doing to help with the generational transition of leadership that celebrates those who have made today's successes possible while challenging today's successful to lay the groundwork for those yet to come?