Behind every great leader is a great mentor — someone who inspires, demonstrates greatness, is eager to listen and learn, leads through service, and builds others up along the way.

For me, this person is Knox Singleton, CEO of Inova. He has been a CEO longer than I’ve been alive, and unlike many people in that situation who get comfortable and take less risk with age and experience, I marvel at the way he consistently reinvents himself and creates value for the organization and people he leads.

Prior to co-founding my own nonprofit, I worked directly with and for Knox. He took bets on me as a young leader, pulling me up, sponsoring me, coaching me, and critiquing me. Not only has Knox been an incredible mentor to me (and now my co-founder), Knox’s success has been an inspiration throughout my own professional journey.

During my organization’s first annual summit in 2012, it's no surprise that I wanted Knox to facilitate a conversation about leadership with our inaugural fellowship class. I knew Knox’s wisdom would provide emerging social entrepreneurs with tangible steps to incorporate in their personal leadership journeys. He spoke about his 10 keys to leadership success and personal growth. I found his insights so valuable that I want to share them with you, should they be useful in your career.

1. Do what your superior wants done (vs. what you think is important). Much learning in a professional space takes the form of imitation. To learn, find the best person possible to work for. Working closely with an experienced individual who is good at his or her job will help you gain the confidence and perspective to be successful… more