In Why it Matters, John A. White draws on a wealth of expertise acquired across his six decade career as a corporate leader, chancellor, dean, educator, engineer, and consultant to create a thorough and thought-provoking treatise on leadership philosophy. Based in part on Leadership Practices and Principles, a course he designed and taught at the University of Arkansas that resulted in his receipt of the outstanding teaching award from the Alumni Association, Why It Matters weaves Dr. White’s inspiring personal story and observations on leadership with a treasure trove of leadership philosophy from some of the nation’s most respected corporate, military, political, and nonprofit leaders.
After stepping down as chancellor of the University of Arkansas, Dr. White was encouraged by faculty colleagues to offer a course on leadership. Though he’d been an engineering educator for forty-five years by then and had never taught a course that wasn’t based on equations, he was intrigued by the idea of sharing his leadership journey with students. For the following nine years, Dr. White taught Leadership Practices and Principles to seniors and graduate students from every discipline, introducing them to fifteen guest leaders over the course of each semester and holding in-depth, frank, and often emotional conversations about the challenges, joys, heartbreaks, and diversity of approaches to successful leadership.
Dr. White recounts dozens of these conversations in Why it Matters while reflecting on his own leadership journey in business, government, nonprofit organizations, and universities. Drawing on numerous challenging leadership experiences while serving on six boards of directors for publicly traded companies and leading the University of Arkansas, Georgia Tech’s engineering college, National Science Foundation’s engineering directorate, and numerous professional associations, he provides practical guidance on navigating your leadership odyssey. Why it Matters is required reading for current and aspiring leaders alike, as well as anyone with an interest in a plainspoken and truly comprehensive compendium of leadership thought and philosophy.