Doug Walters and I continue our six-part televised conversation. Poet David Whyte offers a complementary reflection on personal identity and function. See the poem and then the video below.

Sweet Darkness

By David Whyte

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own.

There you can be sure you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb tonight.

The night will give you a horizon further than you can see.

You must learn one thing: the world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.


The conversation continues. Greater self-awareness of our distinctiveness can be harnessed to help us make choices that resonate with our “Birthright Gifts”. The result- increased engagement, happiness, and creativity.

Doug and I continue our televised conversation.

On this second segment of this program of The Reflective Leader, Dr. Tony Marchese and Mr. Doug Walters utilize the metaphor of a Personal Owner’s Manual to challenge viewers to meaningfully consider the relationship of their unique constitution to their unique contribution to this world. This program explores the deeper dimensions of human diversity and its impact when fully realized.


Doug Walters and I are back! We recently taped two television programs divided into six parts examining what it means to live a fully engaged life.

On this program of The Reflective Leader, Dr. Tony Marchese and Mr. Doug Walters utilize the metaphor of a Personal Owner’s Manual to challenge viewers to meaningfully consider the relationship of their unique constitution to their unique contribution to this world. This program explores the deeper dimensions of human diversity and its powerful impact when fully realized.



Doug Walters recently completed fifty years of service to Education. This interview with Dr. Anthony J. Marchese explores his legacy in three segments.



 From the West Virginia Executive

By Christi Smith

Full sun, partial sun, full shade, moist soil, well drained area, deer resistant. These are all examples of instructions found on tags for how to care for and in what environment a gardener should place his plants.

Just as environment and care are essential to the growth of healthy plants, the same can be said for the workplace. As professionals, it’s important for each of us to understand the conditions and environments in which we—and our coworkers—are most successful. In a recent session of Leadership Kanawha Valley, I learned two important steps toward achieving this goal: first, know what you and your coworkers need to flourish. Second, place yourself, as well as others, in that appropriate environment.

As members of the Leadership Kanawha Valley 2013-14 class, we were encouraged to think about these steps in a class led by Doug Walters and Tony Marchese. The session focused on learning about strengths, social styles and “job fit” of individuals in an organization—whether it is a business, church, government, nonprofit or volunteer team—as well as discovering and understanding these things about yourself and those around you. Taking the time to realize what people need is the greatest transformation that can take place within an organization and can catapult it to its greatest potentials and successes.

Discovering my own needs was the first step for me, as I believe that transformation must take place in the leader before it can take place in the culture of an organization. In this journey of self-awareness, I asked Doug Walters to be my coach to aid with discovering my strengths, social styles, emotional intelligence and professional fit.

Through surveys answered by myself and others, he analyzed the information that revealed some answers and raised new questions about my leadership ability. I was not surprised to discover that my social style is a driver with strengths like achievement, positivity and strategy. After that, we focused on the new questions: what do those strengths mean; how can I use them and where will it be most beneficial for myself and my organization to grow? As a leader, it was refreshing to learn that my strengths are not something that can be classified as right or wrong and that in the right environment and circumstances, one can be very successful.

This journey has been—and continues to be—about understanding how to maximize these new self-discoveries while at the same time revealing personal areas of leadership concern. To clarify, being aware of weaknesses isn’t about making them into strengths but being aware so that they do not trip me up along the way. Like the information that comes with a plant, if you are aware that a plant will die in the shade, you transplant it to an area where it will receive direct sunlight.

Walters suggested that the key leaders I engage with daily also participate in the survey in order to learn their social styles. This discovery has helped me know what they need from me and understand where they are coming from when we communicate and begin projects together. Sharing our social styles with each other, along with an explanation about each one’s value, has provided a better understanding of each other as a whole. Several a-ha moments throughout my coaching sessions have given me positive affirmations about my uniqueness and what I bring to the table with an added appreciation for what others bring with them, as their strengths may be my weaknesses. A group of individuals working together gives a team or organization leadership balance while enhancing success.

My experience with the leadership class has brought a new understanding into our company, Royal Automotive. Royal Automotive is a family owned and operated business, opened in 1969, and has seen many transitions in the automotive industry, the local economy and within itself. The second generation owners have been blessed with an abundance of long-term employees, but many are beginning to consider retirement. This means there will be an organizational change, new team players, new possibilities and a need for discovery and understanding among the entire Royal Automotive team. Our company will continue to work with Walters as he helps us discover the key components for our leadership and the areas where these components have the most positive impact in our strategic planning and vision as we make this transition.

About the Author

Christi Smith has a degree in marketing from David Lipscomb University and now works for Royal Chrysler Jeep Subaru. She is married to Kelly Smith, who is also the owner of Royal Automotive, and they have one son, Casey. Smith is constantly pursuing education in leadership as an effort to grow in business and continue to be a positive influence both at work and at home.





New Public Television Show!

Published on Jul 10, 2013

Dr. Anthony J. Marchese and Mr. Doug Walters discuss the relationship of emotional intelligence to leadership effectiveness in their new public television program, The Reflective Leader with Tony Marchese and Doug Walters.

The program was developed for the thoughtful leadership practitioner. In an era that emphasizes quick, one-size-fits-all solutions to significant organizational problems, leaders often find themselves regularly revisiting the same issues as meaningful, lasting change seems evasive. The Reflective Leader with Tony Marchese and Doug Walters contains a series of discussions that attempt to provide an interdisciplinary, reflective analysis of the phenomena of leadership and organizational change that is grounded in the presupposition that thoughtful leadership is better leadership and is most conducive to positive organizational transformation.