By TAPE CEO/President Louisa Jaffe
On December 5th, 2013, the world lost an amazing, “one-of-a-kind” leader of the people: Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s fight against apartheid certainly was inspiring, as was his ability to risk, endure, and (perhaps, most astonishingly) forgive the unjust punishment he experienced during his 27 years in prison.
His actions, both in custody and in office, led to an overturn of South Africa’s institutionalized segregation and led the way for nonviolent political resistance to citizens the world over.
In honor of his birthday on July 18, we decided to reprint this post and again reflect on his incredible example of leadership. The lessons that Mandela preached are timeless and speak to leaders of every culture and every time in history. That is the essence of his greatness as a man and, more especially as a leader. “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success,” he said, “if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” I agree with Nelson Mandela that passion and dedication, above all things, are key when leading others – without those elements, no one will want to emulate the leader or follow his (or her) example.
Being a leader is also less about victory than it is about perseverance. Once Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, he could have abandoned his fight, and few would have blamed him. However, his passion was his guiding light, and despite seemingly insurmountable setbacks, Mandela soldiered on and took every opportunity to continue his efforts. “Do not judge me by my successes,” he once said, “judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
These qualities of passion, perseverance, and humility permeated every action Mandela took, and led to his great achievements in South Africa and his many well-deserved accolades, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. We at TAPE salute the great visionary that was Nelson Mandela and mourn his passing. We are proud to celebrate his countless accomplishments and his teachings and hope to take his lessons of leadership to heart in everything we do, as a company and as individuals.