On Monday, December 7, Christine Willig, president of McGraw-Hill Education’s School group, accepted an Association of American Publishers Lamplighter Visionary Award. I had the great pleasure of attending the awards dinner, which was held at the legendary, iconic and exclusive New York City venue, The Russian Tea Room. Over the years, I have attended many events like this, but this one was special and more meaningful than just watching a deserving person be recognized for the hard work they have done.
Chris’ approach to creative problem solving, leadership and learning is what made this event so memorable and it is her message that I can’t stop thinking about. I am inspired, as are many others who have had the great pleasure of working with her, by her openness and commitment to continual learning and self-study. During her acceptance speech she reminded us that “in any type of business, there is always more to do, but first, there is more to learn.” Taking the time to define the problem you are trying to solve and engaging in stages of research and analysis is something many of us forget to do as we rush to “the fire”, but it is critical to our creating effective solutions and being successful professionals.
As a long-term employee of McGraw-Hill Education, I have heard Chris say many times “lead from the middle”, which has empowered everyone at McGraw-Hill Education to get creative and make thoughtful decisions. In her role, Chris has encouraged and inspired others to become better partners in learning, listeners to what our customers, competitors and teammates are saying and open adapters of new ways of doing things. Chris noted that “at McGraw-Hill Education, we recognize the only truly sustainable competitive advantage is the speed at which you learn and adapt. We see this as the baseline for our visionary work.” We all feel like visionaries under her leadership.
Most of all, I wanted to say, thank you Chris! You have my admiration and respect. You are personable – I have never seen you miss an opportunity to greet someone in the office halls as you pass by, passionate – and you mean what you say and you say what you do – and the consummate professional. It is an honor to be a part of an organization under your leadership, because as you stated, “I am still in school. I am still learning, and I plan to keep doing so until the day I die.”
Hear from Chris on how McGraw-Hill Education is unlocking the potential of every learner