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Facebook Public Policy VP Talks at USNA Leadership Conference

Posted on: January 27, 2014 08:00 EST by Naval Academy Public Affairs

The Naval Academy Leadership Conference kicked off Jan. 27 with a talk by Facebook’s Vice President for Public Policy Joel Kaplan.

Kaplan was also the deputy chief of staff for public policy for President George W. Bush from 2006-2009.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Followership: The Evolution of a Leader,” encouraging participants to explore how principles of followership factor into developing great leaders.

In his speech, Kaplan outlined “five traits of a good follower.”

1) Knowledge: “Leaders are not going to know what all the problems are. They rely on followers to show them the way,” said Kaplan.

2) Initiative: “Initiative is the key to every organization.”

3) Integrity: Kaplan described integrity as a quality of character that makes you “do the right thing even when no one’s looking.”

4) Courage: “A good follower has the courage to tell leaders what they don’t want to hear but need to.”

5) Loyalty: Once your leader has made a decision, “execute that decision as though it were your own,” said Kaplan.

The U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference’s mission is to bring together the best minds in the practice and study of leadership to exchange ideas, experiences and methodologies with both military and civilian undergraduate students of leadership.

The conference included breakout sessions for students to consolidate and discuss what they gleaned from conference speakers and a number of expert discussion panels on the roles of leaders and followers within organizations and how one supports the other.

For more information on the USNA Leadership Conference, visit
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