It was a privilege for students in the Class of 2015 to hear lessons in leadership from Tom Shull, a soldier, businessman, and ESD dad, as part of the annual Robert H. Dedman Lecture Series for Leadership. Shull spent the lecture telling the stories of four of our nation’s unsung heroes and defined them by leadership attributes central to his experiences.
Shull taught students to be guided by their character, discover their purpose and pursue it with passion, lead by example, and embrace their faith. He presented lessons on Joshua Chamberlain, an American professor turned Civil War hero; Daisy Counter, his grandmother who fearlessly led companies that were the dreams of her family members; Creighton Abrams, who guided the lead tank into the Battle of the Bulge in World War II; and Father Emil Kapaun, a servant leader and the highest decorated chaplain in US. military history.
“It was an interesting take on leadership and not one that we have all heard time and time again,” Gretchen Mahoney ’15 said. “Mr. Shull’s passion for identifying and exemplifying leadership captured our attention and made an impact on what I think a leader really is.”
Shull is Director and CEO of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange), in Dallas. A 1973 graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Shull received a Master of Business Administration with honors from Harvard Business School in 1981. Prior to the Exchange, Shull served in the CEO role at Wise Foods, Inc., Hanover Direct, and Barneys New York. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger Tab, and Airborne Wings.
Shull’s message to students was clear, "You truly are the future leaders of our nation; never underestimate yourself. Recognize your purpose and pursue it passionately. If you have to choose between the easy wrong and the hard right, always choose the latter."
Started in 2002 by Robert H. Dedman, the annual lecture provides students with academic and practical experiences in leadership education to prepare them for lives of intellectual discovery, integrity, and purpose outside of ESD.