STEUBENVILLE, OH—On April 30, 2000, the day of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s canonization, Doug Keck was broadcasting a live EWTN show from the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, when he realized that the satellite was not responding. The shrine itself seemed to be in the way, and the truck controlling the satellite signal would have to be moved near a muddy field where thousands of people stood. Keck frantically offered a prayer to St. Faustina, beseeching her to act if she wanted people to view the broadcast. Instantly, the satellite picked up the signal.
Addressing a wide range of leadership techniques, Doug Keck, EWTN’s chief operating officer and executive vice president and host of “EWTN Bookmark,” spoke on the means of becoming an effective, Christ-centered leader in his talk, “Real Leadership in a Virtual Universe,” at Franciscan University of Steubenville on September 19.
“With EWTN,” Keck said, “we are reality television, because the eternal truth is the only thing that is really real at the end of the day.”
Keck defined effective leadership as the results achieved after acting in an honest, straightforward, and loving manner toward one’s co-workers. He cited the wisdom of St. Francis DeSales, who said: “Friendship requires great communication.”
To exemplify leaders who embodied this methodology, Keck dove into the rich tradition of the Old and New Testaments. He turned to Noah, who showed that leaders do what is right, even if they are alone; Joseph, who endured in spite of his circumstances; David, who was not afraid of giants; Moses, who defended his people; and Abraham, who leapt in faith to embrace the unknown plan that God had for his life.
“If you’re going to be a leader out there, you have to be willing to risk, and that means stepping out into the unknown,” Keck said.
In the New Testament, Keck highlighted St. John the Baptist, who called the phony people around him into accountability for their actions; Jesus, who was a servant leader; St. Peter, who made mistakes and recovered from failure; and St. Paul, who lived with a burning passion for what he believed in.
“If you can find out what you like to do, what you think is important, and channel your energies into that in such a way that you can do something that you feel is a good use of your life and your time—that’s a wonderful place to be,” Keck said.
Keck’s talk was part of Franciscan University’s fall 2013 Distinguished Speakers Series, which hosts leaders whose integration of their faith and public life inspire the next generation to be a transforming presence in the Catholic Church and society.
For a full-length video of Doug Keck’s talk, plus presentations by many other Franciscan University speakers, go to www.faithandreason.com/real-leadership-virtual-universe/.