In the Lead Magazine, Spring 2024

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SPRING 2024 A Seton Hall University Publication


Insight and Foresight

The 2024 edition of the survey will build on the success of the 2023 survey and capture cross-cultural insight and foresight on leadership from 18- to 30 -year-old professionals from around the world. We welcome institutions that would like to partner with us on the 2024 survey.

The 2023 survey contributed to the global discussion on remote and hybrid work arrangements and their impact on leadership development. Contrary to popular belief, the survey reveals that 18- to 30-year-olds don’t believe remote work has impeded leadership development.


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 3 SPRING 2024 6 Letter from the Editor 8 Leadership Lessons Unmasking the quirky, quizzical and quintessential maze in Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff B y STEVE ADUBATO 12 In the Crucible Navigating the future of work through generational wisdom and mentorship.
Keller ’16 on the impact of technology in the financial advisory field, the
of genuine connections and
the family business. 32 AI’s World Remix
y NAVEED HUSAIN 36 Point | Counterpoint In Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving
character and achieving progress in a chaotic business environment. Reviewed by PAULA ALEXANDER and STEPHEN WOOD 18 In the Lead with … Ashok Krish
head of the AI.Cloud unit at TATA discusses navigating the evolving landscape of AI, remote work and the challenges ahead.
y THE EDITORS 22 You and Your Digital Assistant Embracing change, lifelong learning and purpose-driven collaboration. BY QI WANG 14 Decode the Future Unveiling the communication toolkit: strategies for leaders to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of work. BY RENEE ROBINSON 26 Converging on Leadership Leadership dynamics and challenges in the private and public sectors. BY DOYIN ASHIRU
taking over
resilience to ethical integration — exploring the impact of artificial intelligence on our interconnected society. B
Greater Things, author Adam Grant advocates
strategies in developing

Ruchin Kansal, M.B.A. (Editor) is a professor of practice at Seton Hall University and the founding editor of In the Lead. Prior, he led the Business Leadership Center at the Stillman School of Business, and held senior leadership roles at Capgemini, Deloitte, Boehringer Ingelheim & Siemens Healthineers with a distinguished record in strategy and innovation, digital health, strategic partnerships, and business launches. He received his M.B.A. from NYU-Stern.

Paula Becker Alexander, Ph.D., J.D. is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Management at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. She developed the curriculum for Corporate Social Responsibility, a core course in the school’s M.B.A. program. Routledge published her business ethics textbook, Corporate Social Irresponsibility, in 2015. Her research focuses on firm financial performance, executive comp and socially responsible management.

Steve Adubato, Ph.D. is a Buccino Leadership Institute Fellow at Seton Hall, and his sixth book, Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff, was just released. “Steve Adubato’s Lessons in Leadership with Co-host Mary Gamba” airs Saturdays and Sundays on News 12+. He is an Emmy® Award-winning anchor for programs airing on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJPBS, and is a leadership coach and motivational speaker. To find out more, log on to

Ashok Krish heads the Advisory and Consulting function of the AI.Cloud unit at TCS. This is an interdisciplinary group of AI experts, with deep domain knowledge, AI and GenAI engineering, Data Science and “Design for AI” capabilities that help large organizations design, implement and adopt both predictive and Generative AI at scale. He is also an author who writes on the science of Indian cooking.

Renee Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor of communication in the College of Human Development, Culture, and Media; she is an expert in instructional and organizational communication as they intersect with technology, organizational learning and communication competency. Her most recently edited book focuses on Gen Z and is titled Communication Instruction in the Gen Z Classroom: Educational Explorations.

Annette Stewart, J.D., M.B.A. received her undergraduate degree from Texas State University, completed her Juris Doctorate at the University of Iowa College of Law, and obtained her MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She has close to 20 years of experience working on Wall Street for such companies as Citadel, Goldman Sachs, Markit, PwC and is currently at Royal Bank of Canada.

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Doyin Ashiru works with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) as the Sector Lead/ Non-retail Food and Beverage. Before joining NJEDA he worked at leadership C-suite levels in Unilever, Coca-Cola, FrieslandCampina and Danone, where he succeeded in building and transforming organizations across different geographies in Africa, Europe, U.K., Asia and North America.

Naveed Husain is an accomplished technology executive with extensive experience spanning the government, education, legal and healthcare sectors, including transformative work at the United Nations. His tenure as VP at RingCentral and CIO at Teachers College, Columbia University and Queens College showcases his leadership in cloud migration, digital transformation, strategic planning, and in leveraging AI to drive revenue growth.

Qi Wang, Ph.D., M.B.A. is the VP of Data and Digital Solutions at PepsiCo responsible for digital transformation across global research and development (R&D). He started his career as a research scientist in 1996 at Bayer Crop Science and became a co-inventor of 14 U.S. patents in the field of plant genomics and agriculture biotechnology over a period of 15 years. He is currently focusing on end-to-end transformation of R&D processes.

Stephen Wood, M.S. consults and writes on policy topics after 43 years on Wall Street and in governmental finance. He specializes in infrastructure and project finance, public-private partnerships, federal and state grant and finance programs. He is also an expert in financial modelling for large, complex capital programs. A speaker at numerous industry conferences, he teaches about corporate social responsibility at Seton Hall.

Zane Keller is responsible for strategic planning and management across the operational, investment and clientfacing business units with First Foundation Advisors. He holds the designation of certified financial advisor and works with high net-worth clients to help them reach their financial goals. He served in a similar role previously at other consulting firms, including IBM.

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Adapt, Thrive, Lead

WELCOME TO the seventh edition of In the Lead.

The ever-evolving landscape of work and life is capturing our collective attention, driven by a convergence of transformative forces: artificial intelligence, generational shifts, socio-political dynamics, climate fluctuations and global conflicts. It’s a complex tapestry unfolding before us, with alarmists predicting doom and opportunists seizing new possibilities. As a pragmatist, I align with those who recognize these cycles as inherent in human history, each bringing about social and economic changes, accompanied by winners and losers.

In this edition, In the Lead offers you a curated collection of insights from leaders and practitioners actively shaping the future. Representing diverse sectors such as consulting, financial services, food and beverage, higher education,

the public sector and technology, these voices convey a cautious optimism. The prevailing message underscores the pivotal role of continuous learning as a critical skill for navigating the unpredictable terrain ahead. There’s also a shared hope that technology will help us stay human.

While exploring these perspectives, it’s important to acknowledge that the impact of change is not uniform across the globe. Technologically advanced societies, though reaping benefits, grapple with distinct stressors as they experience heightened disruption. On the other hand, regions like Africa, parts of Asia, and South America, still rooted in communal and agrarian societies, face limited technological advancements.

Consider the Masai in Africa, the Uros in Peru or countries with small and emerging economies. These “less advanced” societies might leapfrog the current paradigm of work and create

new paradigms. Time, too, plays a crucial role, as the generations yet to be born will inherit a vastly different work landscape, deeming it their norm.

Your own future’s impact depends on your actions, your location and your values. As you delve into this issue, reflect on how your work might evolve. Consider how you’re preparing to adapt to an everchanging world and ask yourself about the worst-case scenario you are willing to face.

In this rapidly transforming environment, being in the lead is not just about keeping up; it’s about understanding, adapting and thriving. Embrace the insights shared in this edition, and let them guide you as you navigate the complexities of the future of work.

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STEM - Designated Graduate Business Programs

By 2028, it is estimated that there will be more than a million jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In preparation, these STEM-designated programs offered by the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall will equip you to utilize technology, data and business analytics to make effective business decisions and solve complex business problems.

• NEW M.S. in Financial Technology and Analytics

Students receive an interdisciplinary education to prepare them for careers in the emerging and rapidly growing area of financial technology and analytics.

• M.B.A. in Business Analytics

Students receive an experiential learning experience by analyzing actual data used to determine findings essential for decision-making in management.

• M.B.A. in Information Technology Management

Students develop technology management skills critical for protecting confidential data for high-profile organizations.

• M.B.A. in Supply Chain Management

Students receive high-level training to apply analytical and technical methods required for enhancing supply chain operations.

• M.S. in Business Analytics

Students receive an experiential learning experience by analyzing actual data used to determine findings essential for decision-making in management.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT What great minds can do.

Leading Beyond Perfection

Unmasking the quirky, quizzical and quintessential maze in Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff.

I’M FASCINATED with the subject of leadership.

I’m constantly trying to understand why a particular leader handles a challenging situation one way while another takes a very different approach. Why are some leaders better equipped to face a crisis, obstacle or challenge while others panic and fold under the pressure? Why are certain leaders constantly innovating, reinventing and pivoting while others

cling to the “status quo” as if this “status quo” is ever good enough? And the ageold question: Are great leaders born, or can you really teach this leadership stuff?

I wrote the original Lessons in Leadership in 2016, and many have asked me why there was a need for another leadership book, specifically, Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff, which was just released.

One reason is that I have learned many new “lessons” about leadership during

that time. (Mostly because of making new mistakes and facing new challenges, as well as experiencing some leadership breakthroughs over more than six years.)

I’ve also come to realize that my view of leadership has evolved significantly. I’m not so convinced that the so-called lessons and assumptions I wrote about in my last book are so rock solid anymore. One size definitely does not fit all.

Further, the world feels more complex, confusing and yes, scary,

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at times. At the very least, we can all acknowledge that today’s leaders navigate in a much more unpredictable environment including a multi-year, ever-evolving, global pandemic that impacted virtually every aspect of our lives. In many ways, exceptional leadership seems harder than ever. It requires a diverse and nimble skill set, an unprecedented degree of selfconfidence and self-reflection and awareness, not to mention a healthy dose of “emotional intelligence.”

Here I share just some themes and excerpts from Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff that should be helpful as we all continue to navigate in this constantly evolving environment.


Clearly, wellness and leadership involve a strategic, realistic, comprehensive and consistent approach to self-care. It is about limiting “screen time.” (I’m pretty bad when it comes to sometimes going down the black hole of social media and the internet.) Our wellness and the connection to how we lead are also about our mental health and getting the help we need in this area as opposed to thinking we can always “tough it out” in any situation.

That’s right, I am talking therapy. I’ve been there and, when needed, I still go there, because sometimes wellness (and leadership) is about knowing that we can’t simply handle it all ourselves and we need help from others who are experts at certain things that we are not.

But one important thing to remember: It is not just about making wellness a priority on a specific day. Real wellness is about a lot more than a morning workout, Pilates, yoga, or stretching, or sitting at a coffee shop on Friday mornings. (FYI: This is my current Friday morning “wellness” routine.) It is more than taking

time to walk the dog or get things done around the house.

It’s about prioritizing your medical care and staying on top of healthrelated issues before it’s too late. Yes, preventative medicine. It is about managing stress, getting enough sleep, investing in the “relationship bank” with people who matter in our lives. I’m talking about family and friends, but it is also about trying to avoid or limit our contact with “toxic people” who always seem to come into our lives.

It is also about a semblance of this thing called “work-life integration” and perspective. I don’t even use the phrase “work-life balance” because I am not exactly sure that that means. What I do know is that when our work consumes the rest of our lives, and we are simply not able to turn it off, it often can have a very negative impact on our wellness.

I strongly believe that we have a basic responsibility to do all we can to prioritize our own well-being (obviously certain health and medical issues are beyond anyone’s control) as well as the well-being of every team member. Promoting a culture of wellness is not a check-off-the-box action that a leader takes, but rather a frame of mind and a value system that is established, revised,

implemented and reinforced every day. It is about making a culture of wellness a part of your team’s DNA.


I’ve long believed that everyone on a team MUST be a leader for the team to reach its potential. At the same time, I’ve often been frustrated when one team member or another doesn’t take the lead on a project, initiative or challenge facing our organization.

So, is everyone really a leader? Or, can our or any organization or team succeed at the highest level of excellence with team members just doing their jobs within narrow parameters (stay in their lane) or doing what they are directed to do?

I’ve been in leadership positions long enough to know that this is not a black-and-white question. At one time or another, all of us must follow the lead of others. And yet, I still struggle with this complex topic. I have come to believe that to be a truly great team, every team member must step up — must take the lead — and must not hang back and wait for direction. To be clear, I’m not talking about an average or mediocre organization or team — I’m talking about an exceptional team with very high standards. (I’m talking about a team winning a Super Bowl or the World Series.)

I believe that everyone on your team should be a leader if your team is going to maximize its potential and truly be excellent. However, in many instances, I have seen too many professionals who simply choose to not take the initiative and not lead when the need or opportunity is right in front of them. I’ve worked with and coached many team members who appear to be comfortable and quite satisfied with still waiting to be told what to do.

Sure, I have seen glimpses of assertive

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and proactive leadership, the kind that involves taking the initiative and saying something like this: “You know, Steve, I was thinking, we need to do XYZ in order to improve how we are handling ABC. So I propose that we …” However, on too many teams, those instances are too rare.

This kind of leadership, which is often situational, requires that employees get outside their comfort zone and out of their lane into a more proactive and assertive mindset about what they do and how they do it. Truly great teams and organizations don’t succeed because team members accept the status quo.

So, in the end, is everyone really a leader? Not exactly. But should they be? Absolutely!


As leaders, we must confront or deal directly with difficult, challenging and often uncomfortable situations. This is so easy to say, and so much harder to do. There is nothing fun about confrontation, but when leaders refuse

to confront an ongoing problem or challenge head-on.

To that end, consider some leadership tips and tools when artfully confronting:

• Empathize. Take the time to be more “others focused.” Think about what YOU would want to hear if you were on the receiving end.

• Manage your emotions. Regardless of the message you are delivering or receiving, emotions can easily become charged. The key is to keep your emotions in check — no matter what.

• Be solution-oriented. Don’t criticize or give negative feedback without offering a potential remedy to improve the situation.

Exceptional leadership seems harder than ever. It requires a diverse and nimble skill set, an unprecedented degree of self-confidence and self-reflection and awareness.

to or are incapable of dealing directly with sticky situations, organizations pay a heavy price. I know from personal and professional experience.

To be clear, I’m not talking about being unnecessarily argumentative or contentious, but rather the kind of thoughtful, courageous and strategic leadership and communication mindset that says, “This is not a good situation and if I as a leader and we as an organization don’t deal with it in a constructive and candid fashion, it will have a seriously negative impact on our team.”

Clearly, confrontation can be perceived and sometimes is a battle, a contest or a war fought by combatants who will either win or lose. I’m talking about an all-or-nothing mindset. But there is another way to look at confrontational leadership and communication, as an opportunity

• Have a strategy. Identifying your larger goals and knowing the main message you want to get across are keys to staying focused.

• Be flexible and agile. When you anticipate pushback, defensiveness or an outright rejection, you need to be prepared to adapt your conversational strategy accordingly.

Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff is simply a recounting of my own leadership mistakes, shortcomings and the lessons I have learned in the process.

You see, that’s the thing. As leaders, we never get to the so-called finish line. There is no perfect leader. Perfection is an illusion, but progress and improvement with a goal of being the best leaders we can be are all that really matters. My hope is that this book can help all of us in our challenging and often rewarding leadership journey.  L

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EMBRACING THE Future of Innovation and Technology

Professional Development

More than three-quarters of organizations report that leadership is lacking, with thousands of baby boomers retiring every single day. At the same time, even more businesses say it’s important to develop leaders at all levels across their organization.

With the growing need for future leaders, professional development courses in leadership and technology are in demand for upcoming and current practitioners who are looking to stand out in the rapid environment of innovation and disruption.

Seton Hall University offers professional development courses in the following areas:


From digital transformation to cybersecurity workshops, our technology courses are designed to equip you with the latest skills and knowledge demanded by the digital age. Explore cutting-edge topics such as artificial intelligence, data science, web development and more, led by industry experts dedicated to your success.


Great leaders are made, not born. Elevate your leadership abilities through our comprehensive leadership development programs. Learn effective communication strategies, decision-making techniques, team-building skills and visionary leadership principles that will empower you to inspire and motivate others in any professional setting.


In the ever-evolving field of healthcare, staying ahead is crucial. Our health care courses provide specialized training in areas such as medical coding and billing, patient care coordination, healthcare administration and compliance. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or transitioning into health care, our courses will help you navigate this complex industry with confidence.


Echoes of Resilience

Navigating the future of work through generational wisdom and mentorship.

I AM SURE you have heard the adage that every generation hopes the next generation will do better than they did. As we grow wiser, we more fully understand the ups and downs of life and wish to share wisdom with the younger generation. We hope our actions and insight will help uplift and improve our family in the future.

As I reflect on the ever-changing landscape and future of work, I understand that we need to move into this new era with a spirit of resilience. We need to embrace the changes to be successful. This may mean learning new technologies or finding success in a work environment that may be virtual or hybrid versus the in-person setting we knew in the past.

It is the resiliency needed for this new world that led me to think of a key role model in my life. We all need to find role models, people who push us to places we would never think to go. Role models see things in us we are unable to see for ourselves.


My first major role model was my grandmother, Esperanza Moreno, who grew up in Tyler, Texas, working in the country fields. She only had a thirdgrade education but made her way through the world with confidence, never letting you know she lacked an education. I saw my grandmother bargain with shop owners and always prevail with the best deals. Despite circumstances in her life surrounded by lack of money, she created her own

stability by working multiple jobs and saving wherever possible.

As I was growing up, I was never in discussions on professions and future roles. My family was just trying to make it week to week, and were hardly able to lift up their heads to plan for the future when groceries, utilities and other bills hovered in question. My family was supportive where possible but overwhelmed with life. My parents lived with a pattern of fear that ran week after week, trying to survive paycheck after paycheck.

During these times, it was my grandmother who raised questions with me about what I wanted to be in life. What do you want your future to look like? It was also my grandmother who instilled the confidence in me to think of my future and overall plans. Through

her, I learned there were other paths to take in life, and she ultimately led me to break the cycle of paycheck-to-paycheck poverty and low education.

One of my fondest memories is when my grandmother took me to a nonprofit organization in San Antonio that helped potential students understand how to apply for college and receive financial aid. I remember walking in to see friendly faces eager to help.

I walked away with many important pieces of paper that started my educational journey. My grandmother gave me the hope that there was a better opportunity for me and not to give up. I always saw it fitting that her name was Esperanza, which translates to “hope.” She always gave me hope that everything would work out, and I knew she was

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cheering me on in everything I did, so I worked extra hard just for her.

When someone believes in you it can be contagious, as you may then start to believe in yourself. The key is to surround yourself with those who are a positive influence and believe in you. When you embrace that confidence, then you will see many doors of opportunity open. I also found that goal setting and maintaining a good, positive and supportive network for feedback and advice is important in all stages of your career.


As I fast-forward to my multiple degrees (B.A., M.B.A. and J.D.) and nearly 20 years on Wall Street, I think about my humble beginnings as a first-generation college student and the rocky path that was only bearable due to strong mentors and sponsors whom I met throughout my school and work career.

This all started with the seed of hope that my grandmother Esperanza planted and that was watered along the way by many others. This path continues amidst many changes in our workplace requiring new insights and an openness to new ideas to achieve a successful work environment.

As president of the Financial Women’s Association (FWA), I have been able to network with many people in different areas in financial services who have shared new ideas.

Through the FWA we were able to review courses in AI security and learn of new technology trends. I have also been able to make a difference in the lives of others as a mentor and have spoken to high school and college students, sharing my upbringing and letting them know what is possible in their lives. This experience has been very fulfilling.

As we embrace the future of work and this changing landscape in employment

for our students, I have found that we can speak to students and give them honest insight into our career experience and advice on how to embrace this new world successfully. Giving these students the attention and speaking honestly about our education and career paths provides them with insights they may not have access to in their family.

The ability to work with students has always driven me as I believe in the principle of giving back. As I think back to the many people assisted me — from my family, school and career — I am thankful. I also understand that there are many students who need that encouragement and guidance. If you are looking to give back, being a mentor is a wonderful experience. Mentors are greatly needed and we have so many

college, I was not the last, as both of my sisters, Elizabeth and Katherine, graduated from college. It led me to realize that we can all make a difference starting in our own families.

As I think back on my grandmother Esperanza, I know she would be proud of me knowing that I have moved forward in my career. She would also be proud that I never forgot my roots and speak excellent Spanish and that I truly enjoy helping others.

As we think of the future of work and what it requires, we understand that it will need effort from us to learn something new. This is the age of curiosity and we need to bring the questions to the table as we learn how to be more efficient and effective in this new world. I recall in previous roles changing

This is the age of curiosity, and we need to bring the questions to the table as we learn how to be more efficient and effective in this new world.

students who are also facing hurdles as first-generation college students who need guidance they may not be able to obtain from their families.

The art of mentorship requires honesty on your career journey and creating a dialogue that allows great question and answer opportunities with your mentee. You can also be a connector where needed to guide your mentee to others who can share their experiences or provide information on a career path. This relationship can spark opportunities for mentees as they move forward to find their career path in life. It is always a wonderful experience to see a past mentee moving into great careers, and I am most proud when I see them serving as a mentor themselves.

I appreciate the fact that even though I was the first in my family to attend

a process that was manual to automated and seeing fear in people’s eyes as they were not comfortable with the unknown. I helped them embrace the change and learn new skills in the process. The future of work needs a can-do attitude that will lead us to a successful transition.

In conclusion, the future of work reminds me that I am continuing the learning process that will allow me to progress in my career. All of this is from the promise for me that only happened through the hope and confidence provided to me by my grandmother Esperanza, and for that I am thankful. May we all have an Esperanza in our lives who inspires us to find our purpose and meaning in this world. May we then pass that hope by guiding others in their own journey and make a difference that will be remembered and shared.  L

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The future of work is a topic leaders are talking about. Part of that conversation includes globalization, a diversified workforce and technological advancements that continue to present questions about workplace environments and how best to manage them.

At the core of these conversations is the role that communication will play as it intersects with interpersonal, organizational and digital interactions among employees, management and other stakeholders.

Consequently, organizations are becoming more complex as they consider the role that communication plays in organizational success. Leaders occupy a unique role in influencing organizational outcomes. However, the degree of success relies largely on the leader’s communication competencies, intelligences and strategies for interactions, and how these need to evolve to meet the future of work.

To this end, organizational leaders should be aware of some key communication competencies, and an understanding of communication in business environments is required as leadership plans for the evolution of work.


Communication, as a word, is pervasive and frequently taken for granted. However, communication is also complex. The communication process consists of seven key elements: the sender, message, receiver, channel, feedback, context and noise.

The sender and receiver of the message are the individuals exchanging the communication. The message is what is being communicated or shared between them, and the channel is the tool used to carry the messages.

Feedback is the message sent to the initial sender, and context is the setting in which communication occurs. Noise is anything that impedes a message from being understood. If one of these factors is changed or manipulated, the communication process is also changed. Therefore, each factor has a set of competencies associated with it.

Leaders occupy the roles of sender and receiver across many contexts as they interact with management, employees and organizational stakeholders in business meetings, boardrooms and external settings.

Leaders also send verbal and nonverbal messages to each stakeholder they interact with in each context. Verbally leaders construct motivational messages, formal presentations and vision statements. Nonverbally, they convey additional meaning through facial expressions, body movements hand gestures and

vocal patterns (e.g., rate of speech, pronounced pauses and vocal slurs, to name a few).

Leaders also communicate using many different channels ranging from digital devices (e.g., mobile tools) to in-person exchanges. They also receive a significant amount of feedback from internal and external audiences. Consequently, leaders spend a significant amount of time listening to different constituencies as they interact with others and try to understand everyone’s concerns or perspectives. This aspect of the communication process is critical, given the role that feedback plays in leadership decision-making. Therefore, leaders must be good listeners and speakers across communication platforms.

A leader’s effectiveness is contingent upon communication competency, which refers to their understanding and application of communication knowledge and skills to different contexts. Unlike information sharing, communication is built upon the fundamental principle of shared understanding.

In other words, the leader, as both a sender and recipient of messages, must operate from the goal of understanding everyone’s message as well as to be understood. Without a shared meaning of interactions, communication has not occurred.

For leadership, communication competency translates into the leader’s ability to present messages in a clear, organized and relevant way to ensure that stakeholders understand what is conveyed. This action takes careful reflection on who the leader is communicating with, what they are communicating about, the desired outcome of the interaction, and how the leader will respond to others providing feedback about the message.

It also means that leaders must seek to understand the other person’s perspective, requiring them to ask questions and to seek clarification in areas where they lack shared understanding of a phenomenon or topic. Each of these communication behaviors has skills associated with them. As leaders contemplate the future of work, they should also consider how communication will evolve and change.


Leaders have many different communication tools available to them, such as audio/video conferencing, email, mobile phones, production tools, mass media outlets like cable or news venues,

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social media platforms like LinkedIn or YouTube and websites. Each of these tools requires leaders to determine which is best for communicating a specific message to a specific audience — if the tool fits the context for what is being shared, how the tool impedes or promotes shared understanding and the desired outcome of the message shared.

Because communication technologies are ever evolving, it is important that leaders stay up to date on training and understanding how these tools help or hinder their ability to communicate effectively with others and to create shared meaning.

Various communication technologies have different capabilities and require different communication knowledge and skills. When leaders select a technology, they should develop the communication skills that match the device.

For instance, videoconferencing is frequently used to conduct organizational meetings. When using this tool, leaders should attend to audio/video functions, background filters,

to reference people and how to relate to all employees.

One of the greatest concerns managers and leaders share is the generational differences at play in the workforce, and how those differences create communication challenges and organizational expectations. There are differences in communication styles, work ethic, work-life balance/fluidity and workplace expectations about hybrid and remote work options between baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z employees.

As leaders contemplate the future of work and how to lead their organizations through transitions, they will need to communicate in ways that align with each generation (and employee type) to ensure shared understanding between leadership teams, management and various employee groups to fulfill organizational mission.

Complicating this issue are the variations in cultural, nonverbal and verbal communication cues among people regionally and globally. Leaders will need to be well informed of communication cues, norms and practices associated with the


camera placement, headroom, lighting, the information to be screen shared and tailor their verbal and nonverbal messaging to be consistent with video/audio tools.

Without a sensitivity to all the elements, a leader’s credibility, judgment and reputation become questionable. Ineffective use of the technology impedes the leader’s message, resulting in noise and no or limited shared meaning being achieved.

A sensitivity to leadership’s organizational interactions via various tools will help grow their communication technology competencies as they plan for the future of their workplaces.


Today’s organizations consist of diverse employees who vary in terms of accessibility, age, culture, ethnicity, race, religion, sex, sexual identity and orientation, socio-economic status and technological capability, among many others.

Employee diversity is often a strength and can be leveraged with effective leadership and communication awareness focusing on inclusivity. Given changing employee demographics, leaders must understand the evolving nature of language, how

audiences with whom they interact in multiple settings. And as organizations evolve to meet future worker expectations, cultural competencies will also continue to evolve.


Leaders are confronted by many organizational challenges ranging from competition to employee relations to information management to technological advancements. However, the greatest interpersonal, organizational and technological challenge confronting leaders today involves communicating effectively.

With an attention to communication elements, technologies and cultural competencies, leaders can identify areas where they need more training to develop the skills necessary to effectively interact with various organizational members and stakeholders today. Effective communication behaviors assist leaders with meeting organizational goals through interpersonal and stakeholder relationship building.

Therefore, as conversations continue about the future of work, leaders should also attend to how they will need to enhance their communication competencies in the future.  L

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In the Lead with

Krish Ashok

In the Lead with is a conversation with industry leaders on key trends and leadership challenges. In this issue, we spoke with Ashok Krish, who heads the Advisory and Consulting function of the AI.Cloud unit at TATA Consultancy Services (TCS). Here we discuss navigating the evolving landscape of AI, remote work and the challenges ahead.


Ashok, you lead the future of work practice at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)?


I lead consulting and advisory services related to AI data, and the future of work practice is a part of that.


How do you characterize the future of work, and what timeline do you look at for it to be actionable for your customers?


The future of work has been a topic I have been speaking about for a decade. The thematic focus of the future of work conversation has changed three times over the last 10 years. The future of work concept started becoming a thing around the time when the new generation of consumer tools such as iPhones and social media were appearing in the consumer world. People joining the workplace found the enterprise environment fragmented and information not easily accessible. They wanted the same experience in the workplace as they were getting with their consumer devices. At this time the conversation was not about HR and policies, it was about the workers wanting technology that worked — technology to find information more easily, to collaborate, to create. That was the first wave.

The second wave centered around the COVID-19 pandemic

era. For the first time, the conversation pivoted away from technology to what does the term “work” mean. Is it about presenteeism — the concept of working while sick. Is it about being in the office or is it about outcomes? How should I create interdisciplinary teams? Companies were able to hire more diverse people in more places. While there were problems with creating integrated value systems, creating empathy, creating mentoring cultures, all the advantages you get to being in-person, remote work has been fantastic from a diversity and career flexibility standpoint. During this wave, change management and culture became a far more important conversation about the future of work, and we finally initiated a shift away from the 100-year-old industrial mindset about work — that it happens in a physical plant.

The third wave of conversation about the future of work has just started: designing companies for AI.


What are the key trends that are shaping the future of work? Do they differ by geography?


The geopolitical situation is one. I see a broader switch towards a more insular, localized world where the political incentives to stay in power will be towards populism, insularity and anti-globalization. And it is my opinion that unless people

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stop consuming social media, it will only get worse.

The second dimension is the fact that 20-year-olds are now coming into the workplace using multiple AI tools to do their jobs, are expecting to work remotely and have an activist mindset. For example, I tried to hire an AI engineer who said yes but demanded conditions in the contract such as “I will only work in the office twice a week. I will not work for oil and gas companies.” I see ethical issues becoming center stage with this generation.

The third dimension is that we have five generations in the workplace, where the distinction is largely about age, but also digital savvy. Behavior extremes are a very hard thing for companies to deal with right now. For older generations, the preferred style of working is that of people coming together, using their brains and doing it right. Versus the younger generation that is growing up with AI and have a mindset that they will only learn things that the AI doesn’t know. So, we’ll continue to have this interesting debate of how you do what you do?

The fourth one is what we value in the talent of the future. For example, how would we conduct employee interviews a year from now? Are we going to give candidates a hard problem and tell them to use whatever tools they want and judge them based on how smartly they were able to prompt the AI? And two, what human value were they able to add on top of that response? And in that scenario, would the name of the college one went to have any value?


What is the most significant transformation in terms of the future of work that you see five years from now? Ten years?


Assistance is already happening. For example, we are using ChatGPT to respond to emails, or create marketing content, with certain levels of accuracy rate, which is getting better over time. I think the true value for organizations will be realized when they can start to also use their enterprise information in improving productivity of employees.

Augmentation is partially underway, and we should start to see more by the end of this financial year. Augmentation means that AI will be used to do simple, repetitive tasks that are part of the workflow while humans focus on more complex tasks. Tasks such as number-crunching, data analysis, etc. At the same time, not all forms of cognitive work inside enterprises are built the same way, so generative AI will be good at making some people productive but not others. For example, United Airlines already has autonomous agents that can create vacation itineraries based on your preferences — budget, diet, likes, dislikes, etc. However, if I was a claims adjuster looking to adjust a claim faster, that’s a harder question for generative AI, unless you truly architect it in a way that it is not hallucinating and giving you wrong advice.

There are pilot programs going on, and we will discover that impact will be asymmetric for different value chains. It will

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depend upon the nature of knowledge, its concentration and the tacit knowledge that does not exist in your system logs and your process maps or your documents. I think we’re going to figure it out slowly and take advantage where AI can help, but we do have to be patient about how we can get advantages. That said, it will also make some people entirely redundant, for example, lowgrade creative work may entirely be replaced by the likes of Dali.

Complete value chain reimagination will take another two to three years. We will start to see some examples within a year or so, but the true game-changing impact is a few years away.

We will start to see smaller, completely distributed autonomous organizations in the next five years. The big ones will take a little bit more time.


What about the most significant disruption in how we work today versus 10 years from now?


I think from a future work standpoint, the difference between a productive employee and a nonproductive employee in the AI era is going to become 1,000 times more pronounced. The bell curve will now be this peak with no middle and with a very long tail, meaning that you’re going to have some employees who are just a thousand times more productive than your worst employees, and you’ll have many employees who really don’t have much to do. What this means is that a company that is AI native can run a distributed autonomous organization with a small number of people who are AI augmented.

The downside: security and privacy. The number of incidents has already gone up substantially and will continue to increase. Security incidents and privacy violations are the cost of going too fast. But the cost of going too slow is that your competition will leave you behind. Therefore, it’s going to be a very interesting time. We will start to see a sweet spot that large companies adopt so that they continue to embrace these new changes without paying billions of dollars in fines.

I also foresee a lot of the skills that make a good CIO or a good CFO or a good CEO or a board member change. I see AI as a core competency in these roles. I can also foresee one board seat held by AI, which may not have the voting right, but have a perspective to inform the board’s decision-making. I think it’s only a matter of time.

I think the biggest elephant in the room is the energy transition away from a fossil fuel-powered world. Currently our global supply chains and businesses are built around fossil fuels. However, a shift to new sources of energy would mean that energy is probably going to be produced locally, become far more distributed and more cost sustainable. This may give rise to new manufacturing practices, new trade balance, a new

world order and demand a new skill set. The honest answer is that while it’s easier to predict the impact of robotics and AI on the future of work, it is very, very hard to predict what the green transition will do.


Do you see commonality when you look at the future of work across industries? Or do you see significant differences?


Travel is an industry where the IT maturity is high, and all companies are cloud native. This is where we will see more rapid integration of AI, like the travel agents we discussed earlier.

It will be harder to integrate AI in financial services where there is a lot more regulation, and many legacy companies’ technological environment is messy and complicated as they embraced technology much earlier and therefore have a lot of legacy systems. At the same time, it’s going to look very different for a bank in India though, because they don’t have legacy systems but state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure because they started late.

Ultimately, product or service offering, regulation, embedded technology and systems and even geographic location will shape the future of work across industries.


What challenges do you foresee for companies as they plan for the next 10 years? What can companies do to make the transition to the future of work as seamless as possible?


I think we’re in a peak hype cycle right now, and our enthusiasm must be tempered so we can be objective and really see where AI is going to bring value. But eventually, the futuristic end goal is this idea of a distributed autonomous organization, with a core and supporting functions. Some companies will choose a functional way of operating, and some will choose a product-centric model. But increasingly the decision making around technology investments will be more tied to business outcomes. AI will become central to how people work, and the distinction between

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IT and business will all but disappear. It is going to be remarkably hard for large organizations to adapt to this new reality.


What can individuals do to be ready for the future of work throughout their lifetime? What are some of the key skills we as individuals need to learn and adapt?


I think it’s very hard. I would say prepare yourself for the next two years. Long-term thinking is very risky as the error rate when trying to predict for the next 10 years is going to be very high.

Earlier, the thinking was that I’m going to start work with this company, retire with this company and get a pension. In the technological world, disruptive change happens very rapidly. Smartphones came, the cloud came and then suddenly, the pandemic happened. And now AI is happening. Nanotechnology, personal robotics, computational genomics, personalized medicine, quantum computing are yet to come and will be massive in their impact. And then there is the green transition.

So, I would say that constantly be aware of a) what are the hardest problems that humanity must solve and therefore b) try to be in areas where you’re solving those harder problems. And to that end, I would say that college degrees are meaningless. Rather, focus on picking up the widest possible range of skills on the human-AI capability spectrum.

I think human skill is fundamentally going to be about framing, asking the right questions, curation, assessing and thinking. Thinking through the models, thinking holistically, and thinking about people. I think a doctor will get automated well before a nurse. For example, AI is already way more accurate than a radiologist, and in detecting cancers much earlier. But a nurse operates in a spectacularly diverse, complex, challenging human environment. And the fundamental skill of a nurse is not to give you an injection or your drugs, but to make you comfortable while you’re sick. And in that sense, we all must figure out what that nurse equivalent of the job roles are in in every industry. We need a reevaluation of what are truly hard human skills. And seek those skills to remain relevant.

I would also urge people to truly understand how technology works, not in the sense that learn to code but in the sense

that how it can make life easy for you. We are going from a world where a small number of people had the privilege and access to be able to communicate with computers to a world of natural-language computing, which allows you to converse effectively with the computing universe in English or a language of your choice. And therefore, that means that we are now in a unique position to externalize our ideas into a technology or an autonomous agent. That is going to be the single biggest technological skill that one can perhaps learn. I call it strategic laziness. The idea is that anything that you cannot do today that can be done by technology, you figure out a way to get it done.


We are a university preparing future employees, thinkers, problem solvers and leaders. What should we be focused on to enable their success?


One of the greatest advantages of generative AI is that we can use generative AI to learn about generative AI. Much, much harder is to teach people how to appreciate a flower or the deeper meaning of Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry.

I would say that we must teach more technology to humanities students and teach a lot more humanities to STEM students.

I think part of the problem of Silicon Valley is that a bunch of people who have no humanities background at all are sitting and designing completely inhuman technological products. We should encourage students to understand the world a lot better, which will help them design products and services far more humanely and humanistically.


What did I not ask?


I’ve been thinking of the inequalities that AI might create in society, a starker world of the haves and have-nots within countries and across the continents. Think of someone working at Microsoft or Google or a person selling vegetables in Africa.

I am also worried that AI is going to accelerate the primacy of English in more ways than we thought as right now English is the only language to interact efficiently with AI. That has deep implications on who is going to be employable, global balance of power and the future of work. We will need large language models to be proficient in many languages to prevent the loss of crucial cultural diversity.


Thank you, Ashok, for the very insightful discussion on the future of work, the various forces shaping it and how we as individuals can prepare for such a future. L

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ON NOVEMBER 30, 2022, ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) was released. Almost instantaneously, it became a global phenomenon and generated huge amounts of excitement, doubt and fear about artificial intelligence (AI) across the spectrum of people in all fields and industries.

There is consensus that the future of work will look drastically different from today due to AI. The debate is whether AI will solve some of the biggest challenges for human beings or if it will become an existential threat to mankind.

While some of us are familiar with the quote “history is a vast early warning system” by Norman Cousins, we can interpret this with a much more positive perspective for technological advances.

jobs were replaced, but automation also created new categories of business opportunities and new jobs that did not exist before. Economic output increased and living standards improved.

Driven by technological advances and economics, AI capabilities like ChatGPT will transform knowledge-based works. While it will replace some knowledge-based jobs, it will offer new opportunities for others and help humans discover better solutions for the health and well-being of people and society.

The concept of AI started in the 1950s. While there were other well-known demonstrations of AI in the past, I became personally passionate about the technology in February 2011, when IBM released Watson, an AI-based computer system that won the TV game show Jeopardy against two of the most successful human players of all time.

I watched the game on TV, and it had a profound impact on

You and Your Digital Assistant


If we time-travel back to the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, in the early morning of June 26, 1974, we would have witnessed the purchase of a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum as the first Universal Product Code (UPC) was scanned at checkout. While the event may not have generated as much sensation as ChatGPT did in 2022, we should not underappreciate the impact of the UPC on the modern economy it created — a globally adopted standard unique identifier for everything we make.

Society might have had a higher level of anxiety back then if people thought about how UPCs coupled with widespread use of personal computers would automate tasks and replace many of the manual labors across the industries. Fortunately, society did not overhype or overreact to the human impact, and we gave room for UPC-enabled automation to evolve into digital assistants across industry, guided by economic opportunities. Yes, some

me as a biologist. In fact, it was one of the motivating factors for me to change careers, leaving R&D and joining IT to use big data and AI to address some of the crucial agricultural challenges of the time. That career change eventually led to where I am today, leading digital transformation for PepsiCo R&D. In this role, I am responsible for adopting big-data technologies and AI to discover, develop and deliver new food and beverage products that are better for consumers and reduce environmental impact.

As I reflect on my personal journey, here are my thoughts about how to prepare for the future of work when AI is pervasive:


In fact, AI is everywhere already. It recommends music and movies to you, it creates photo collages of your favorite

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moments on your smartphone, it helps you navigate through daily traffic, it gives us better answers when we search content on the internet, and it might even be helping you type faster with fewer typos. It is safe to assume that AI will be embedded in every app we use, at home or at work.

Like any technology, AI has its own limitations. While AI is good at processing a large amount of data for specific outcomes based on pre-training, humans are far more creative at dealing with unknowns, connecting dots and processing information with context in multiple dimensions. Even the best AI algorithms give silly answers sometimes.

The future of work will be based on the partnership between humans and AI while AI plays the role of an intelligent assistant.


I was proud and confident, maybe a little arrogant, when I graduated at the age of 19 from a top university in China in the mid-’80s. China was poor and underdeveloped, and only 2-3 percent of young people got the opportunity to attend college. Naturally, I did not fully appreciate the departing advice when our dean told us at our graduation ceremony, “All you have learned is how to learn.” Looking back, that was exactly the advice I needed, and today, we look to hire people who have the desire and capability to learn because we know the jobs they are hired for will evolve in a few years, sometimes in a few months.


As a business leader, you need to reassess your core capabilities, unique assets and organizational culture to prepare for the future of work.

To ready your organization for AI, you must treat data as your most valued asset. Your data is unique, and AI models are commodities. With quality data, there are plenty of external partners that can help develop the AI models to understand your customers better, to improve your operational efficiency and to achieve superior profit margin.

Creating a new data-focused culture is probably the most difficult and important shift of any company. The most senior leaders of an organization must have a general understanding of the relationship between data and AI models. You need to hire or groom talented people who have both business and data acumen, and you will need to invest in infrastructure and digital solutions to collect, store and share data more seamlessly across the organization.

Only learners will thrive in the workplace of the future.


That said, you do not really have to learn programming or how to train an AI computer model, but you do need to learn how to work with people who have those skills.

AI specialists need your domain expertise as well. AI makes predictions based on the data it has access to, and it often needs human experts to determine if the prediction is right or wrong, very much like how we teach a toddler how to speak, walk or react to things.

Think about the problems you want to solve and identify what data you would need to solve the problem yourself. Collect and provide data to your data scientist colleagues who can train AI models to become your digital assistant.

Your digital assistant will be extremely helpful and won’t even compete with you for credit.


PepsiCo is a global food and beverage company. Our products are consumed worldwide over a billion times every single day. We feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to constantly improve our products to meet consumer needs and to improve our environmental impact. AI is a critical tool for us: It’s shaping our business across our entire value chain. Which is exactly why we need to leverage AI and do so responsibly.

With generative AI, we’re scaling this technology responsibly — using it where we see an upside for our people and our company and in accordance with our Responsible AI framework to mitigate risk. We consider all stakeholder perspectives when it comes to identifying the right problems for AI to solve. Some of the value cases might include reducing the use of added sugars, sodium, saturated fat or plastics in our products and packages. These value cases help our stakeholders and employees to recognize and embrace the value that AI can offer.

At the same time, we have educational programs to increase the digital acumen of our employees so they can acquire new skills and learn how to work with AI to be more productive and creative. We’ve also stood up a rigorous internal process to govern our use of AI to ensure we are always deploying it responsibly.

We are confident that people of our future organization will be even more purpose-driven with more fun at work, supported by the help of important digital solutions.  L

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Seton Hall University’s Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) acknowledges the broader role of innovation and entrepreneurial skills in our lives and in our futures. Whether our students desire to launch a company or work for a large corporation, it is the innovators and problem solvers — the true entrepreneurs — who create new ideas, products and services that better our society.

The CIE fosters the collaboration of faculty, students, alumni and entrepreneurs through an array of initiatives that advance entrepreneurial learning at Seton Hall. Students are encouraged to transform concepts into practice by kickstarting their entrepreneurial ideas with the support of business mentors.

Business concepts or existing ventures that have been developed by Seton Hall entrepreneurs include:

• Mobile apps

• Computing software

• Online marketplaces

• Consulting services

• Economical sustainability initiatives

• Nonprofit organizations

• Food products

• And more!


Converging On Leadership


LEADERSHIP IS COMMONLY known as the ability of an individual or group to influence and guide an organization, society or team.

While training opportunities exist to enhance leadership skills, we all undertake both defined and undefined leadership responsibilities in formal and informal settings — be it domestic roles, within peer groups or social organizations. This article will concentrate on leadership in formal business and working environments, particularly in the private and public sectors, with a deeper exploration of public sector leadership. It also will explore the shifting nature of work in the public sector shaped by impending forces and the ever-changing political, economic and technological landscapes as well as the changes brought about by rapid globalization and social equity.


The private sector constitutes a pivotal segment of a national economy, owned, controlled and managed by private individuals or enterprises. The primary objective of the private sector is profit generation, achieved by offering products and services that cater to consumer needs and desires. Intense competition for consumer spending underscores a customer-centric focus, striving for trustbuilding, market shares and robust financial performance.

Leadership in the private sector thrives on cultivating highly motivated teams and fostering strong succession pipelines. Success is driven by leading from the front, pursuing operational excellence, embracing flexibility and seizing new challenges, particularly in adapting to emerging technologies. A strategic orientation encompasses immediate, medium- and long-term business goals. Leadership demonstrates profound knowledge of business environments, consumer insights, innovations and ensures optimal returns on investments for the major stakeholders, namely, the investors.

Private sector employers use various strategies to attract talent, ranging from hiring fresh graduates, implementing trainee schemes and recruiting mid-career professionals to placing seasoned experts in relevant positions. Emphasizing organizational onboarding, training and coaching processes for all new employees is integral.

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Success in private sector careers hinges on robust teamwork and individual accomplishments complemented by collaborative contributions. There also must be an in-depth understanding of company culture, product knowledge, competitive landscapes and team capabilities. There must also be investments in employees’ capabilities and knowledge building to catch up with trending competitive and global initiatives to drive the growth of the organization into the future.


Public sector organizations operate differently, funded by taxpayer money and government donations. They are not profitdriven, and their programs are sustained by the public’s financial contributions. Government decisions dictate how tax funds are allocated in the public sector, making it accountable to the people. Differentiating characteristics between public and private sector leadership include unique environmental factors. Moore and Khagram (2004, pp.5-8) highlight three key differentiators:

• Sources of Revenue: In the public sector, the primary source of funding, encompassing both financial capital and operating revenue, differs significantly from the private sector. Unlike the private sector, where investors and consumers drive financial decisions through individual choices to invest and purchase, public sector financing is derived from taxpayers and their elected representatives. These representatives make deliberate decisions on how funds are allocated, considering the perceived benefits that justify levying taxes within the community.

• Management Discretion: Generally, leaders in the public sector experience relatively limited discretion in defining the purpose and strategic priorities of their organizations, primarily due to the influence and constraints imposed by the political environment.

• Performance Measurement: Public sector leaders arguably face a greater challenge in objectively measuring organizational performance compared to their private sector counterparts. This difficulty is especially pronounced when quantifying environmental and social impacts while simultaneously upholding political accountability.

The key feature underpinning all of this is that public sector leaders are less driven by bottom-line profit, but rather have a greater focus on achieving what Mark Moore calls “public value.”


Leaders in the public sector are encouraged to demonstrate initiative and innovation, aiming to drive positive social outcomes that benefit communities while adhering to stringent accountabilities and ethical standards. Public

sector agencies prioritize leadership by placing it at the core of their strategic agenda, investing in targeted initiatives to optimize and transform their workforce, ensuring relevance, competitiveness and the delivery of public value. There is a growing emphasis on providing high-quality, citizencentric services by reducing costs and enhancing systems and processes for streamlined delivery.

The complexity of this task is compounded by an increasing demand for diversified skills among leaders, who must navigate digital adoption and manage geographically dispersed and demographically diverse workforces within a competitive labor market. The skills and knowledge public sector leaders require include agility and adaptability for problem-solving to remain effective and productive with the trending digital, environmental and social governance trends.

Entrance into the public sector occurs through various channels, including direct recruitment of trainees, political appointments, competence-based appointments and the hiring of established public servants based on the requisite skills and opportunities. There should be programs and learning to support the transition of “noncareer” public servants

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into public sector leadership. A crucial aspect of such onboarding must be including all new employees in learning to comprehend organizational policies, strategic trusts, responsibilities and commitments.


Public sector leaders are expected to operate with limited resources, maintaining a frugal approach and consistently seeking innovative solutions to address challenges. Leadership in the public sector holds exceptional significance, not only shaping the job performance and satisfaction of employees, but also influencing the overall performance of government and public agencies. Effective leadership is pivotal for good public governance, encompassing aspects such as meticulous planning, efficiency, transparency and accountability.

Senior leaders in the public sector typically adhere closely to rules and procedures, providing clear directions on how tasks should be executed. Their focus extends to long-term strategic planning and the creative process involved in establishing trust and relationships. However, the influence of political and community dynamics poses a challenge for public sector senior

leaders in motivating their employees. Some may encounter difficulties in creating a positive working atmosphere that inspires individuals to deliver high-quality public services. They need to invest in technologies to motivate some of the employees with remote or hybrid work without negative impacts on productivity and teamwork, and this may help in reducing office space and infrastructure costs.


While leadership skills can be inherent, acquired and taught, the unique skill requirements, responsibilities and accountabilities in the public sector make developing effective leaders particularly crucial.

Leadership in the public sector needs to stay on top of new technologies and their possibilities, while setting the tone of an organization as a great place to work, that is attractive for high performing talents and environment that welcomes all.

Leaders need to maintain relationships with people, exert influence beyond boundaries and maintain visibility and ensure their presence is felt across the organization, their networks and communities.  L

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On . . . the impact of technology in the financial advisory field, the value of genuine connections and taking over the family business.


Villa Park, California


Director of Strategic Initiatives at First Foundation Inc.


Bachelors in Business Administration with Concentrations in: IT, finance, marketing with a minor in legal studies. Certification in Leadership Development. 3.82 GPA

Magna Cum Laude. Marketing Honors Society, IT Honors Society, Finance Honors Society.

IN THE LEAD Thank you for taking the time to speak with In the Lead, Zane. Can you describe your current position?

ZANE KELLER I am currently the director of strategic initiatives. The role spans all business units including sales, marketing, operations, technology, as well as working directly with clients as a financial advisor. My focus is to continue to drive innovation and operational efficiency across the business. However, I hold a CFP designation, so I provide

comprehensive financial advice with a focus on complex tax and estate planning combined with alternative investments access.

ITL What attracted you to the field? And how is your field evolving?

KELLER My dad started in this field in the ’90s and opened up his own practice. I have begun to take over the family business after a few years working for IBM in D.C. and other consulting firms

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nationwide. I have always enjoyed problem-solving, and this business allows me to serve in that role in an area most people do not have the proper support or guidance in. The field is evolving, mostly through technology, which has made a majority of what traditional advisors offer, “a balanced-portfolio and high-level financial planning” commoditized. The headlines are often scarier than reality. The work we do involves getting to know everything about the client and guiding them through wealth accumulation, management and ultimately distribution across decades. The rise in AI and continued technology efficiencies will eventually eliminate the value add-of people in transactional business, but those focused on service will be able to differentiate themselves that much more.

ITL How did the Buccino Leadership Center prepare you to keep up with the change and lead?

KELLER The lessons learned at the Buccino Leadership Center are a major reason I have had success in my career thus far. Spending four years amongst those who only want to continue to improve allowed me to continue that focus even after the program. The program at Seton Hall, while competitive, was far more focused on finding ways to outperform yourself and learn to collaborate with your team. The leadership projects flushed out a lot of the typical ego and selfish habits that are a pitfall in the “real world.”

ITL What moment or activity stands out as the turning point in your leadership development at Seton Hall?

KELLER During our Leadership Foundation course in my sophomore year, we did an activity where the class was divided into two teams as part of a merger exercise. There was only one position for every two students, and each pair had

to stand up and debate why the board should hire them over their counterpart. The credentials were on the fly and could be completely made up, so I decided to focus on what skills my opposition did not have rather than on ones I had. I was immediately fired, and Mike Reuter (Director Emeritus, Gerald P. Buccino Center for Leadership Development) explained to me publicly that I would never get ahead by putting others down, in any situation, but only by highlighting what I had to bring to the table. I think about that experience every time I have to argue the merits for my decision or opinion, and it has served me well.

and problem solving, while technical skills will not be as significant in career progression. Those who are able to make genuine connections and leverage those connections to not just boost themselves up but connect others will be put in the best position to succeed. Collaborationfocused solutions have started to be the preferred solution for clients, and we will see more “teams” be recruited than individuals. Seton Hall’s leadership program is focused on always being resilient, adaptable and innovative. While my day-to-day focus is on wealth management, I read leadership and management books and stay up with sports and history. To distinguish myself in the decades ahead, I need to behave with a well-rounded knowledge to connect with others but focus on my niche offering to

I think the future of work will require more EQ than IQ as AI and technology make most of the knowledge-based work obsolete.

avoid the pitfall of being everything to everyone. Humility will be the biggest differentiator of success going forward.

ITL What advice would you have given to your younger self at Seton Hall?

ITL The “future of work” is going to be different from what it is today. Do you feel prepared to tackle the challenges that are forthcoming?

KELLER I think the future of work will require more EQ than IQ as AI and technology make most of the knowledgebased work obsolete. Talent will be measured on competencies, including communication relationship building

KELLER I would tell my younger self to be patient. The real world is not like Seton Hall, where merit and effort are what is rewarded most, and there will be people you work with or for that do not have pride in their work or empathy for their colleagues. I would want him to focus on building himself up, never to be satisfied with the status quo, but also to ensure that he focuses on helping all those around him.  L

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AI’s World Remix

From pandemic resilience to ethical integration — exploring the impact of artificial intelligence on our interconnected society. BY NAVEED HUSAIN

IN THE WORLD we inhabit today, which is far more interconnected than previous generations, the role of technology has been pivotal. The recent COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated this interconnectedness, with technology playing a crucial part in allowing life and work to continue despite global lockdowns.

Essential workers, like healthcare professionals and delivery personnel,

became the backbone of our societies, and their roles were facilitated by technology — from communication platforms to logistics management and vaccine development. It was through leveraging artificial intelligence from foundational systems and learning from HIV research that Moderna and Pfizer were able to produce applicable vaccines in less than 12 months. 1

Learning is the engine of human progress and in today’s world, this

process is supercharged by technology. Large datasets and machine-learning algorithms have accelerated the speed of development, enabling instant collaboration between researchers and employees worldwide.

But it is the unforeseen application of technology that supports pivotal shifts in the marketplace. These shifts come from the “adjacent possibilities,” introduced by Steven Johnson, which explains how technological innovations pave the way

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for unforeseen developments. GPS, originally intended for airline safety, now underpins our logistics systems, which allowed for food and goods deliveries during the pandemic, while Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT and Llama 2 are reshaping our approach to learning, work and daily life.

We can learn and comprehend faster now, using AI to obtain key takeaways from readings and research across many sources, then to dive deeper into key areas of focus, translating learning from passive absorption to interactive engagement, resulting in nuanced and rapid applications of newly acquired knowledge.


AI is often confused with LLMs, but it is a constellation of technologies that includes machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, robotics and expert systems. AI has been instrumental in many fields, from space exploration to providing daily weather and traffic updates through digital assistants.

LLMs have made AI accessible to the masses, enabling interactions in a conversational style that was once exclusively human. They challenge us to reconsider the future of labor; if AI can assimilate vast amounts of knowledge and perform tasks efficiently, the need for human roles in research, writing and coding will need to evolve.

How much copiloting of AI’s collection will be enough? This will vary according to the people leveraging the capabilities and will require that we all peer review each other’s content.

How do we fact-check this vast amount of research that I formerly would have Googled or checked out in a reference library collection? This begins to question truth and fact and requires people to examine reality much more critically to

Customers will always want to speak to agents — the question is, will that agent still be human or an avatar, and will the customer be able to tell the difference?

siphon off fake or wrong rationalizations introduced by hallucinations or by nefarious contributors.


AI has a transformative role that extends across all industries. In health care, for instance, AI could lead to avatardriven telemedicine and robotic nurses providing care, revolutionizing patient monitoring and treatment, leading to technologically enhanced home care at lower costs.

AI also affects journalism, marketing, electoral systems and education. It raises the possibility of a new form of human interaction, where AI is a tool that can be used for great benefit or harm if not constantly questioned and checked. The risk of human adoption and autopilot of this technology is very high, as we can see in incidents caused by self-driving vehicles like Tesla. Drivers trust in technology, and the resulting switchingoff of the human brain’s natural instincts and awareness may have led to 17 fatalities and 736 crashes since 2019. 2

These crashes were connected to Tesla’s Autopilot system and involved many factors, including driver unawareness. These incidents highlight that while AI is a significant convenience that can accelerate vaccine production in the most desperate times, it will continue to require responsible human oversight and critical thinking to ensure that output passes the “smell” test.


Putting AI to use requires careful consideration. In education, rather than

banning AI tools like ChatGPT, it is more effective to educate students, faculty and administrators about its power and risks.

Similarly, corporations need frameworks that allow for the secure and responsible use of AI, ensuring data security and preventing misuse. Employees will need to be able to understand AI outputs, compare them in reasonable frequency to validate them for accuracy, while applying critical thinking and implementing processes to ensure the validity of the output.

In terms of AI governance, an iterative process is required, involving data security and responsibility. Questions must be raised around the geographic regulations of data use and sovereignty on how data is used and stored. Continuously working to remove inherent biases that are introduced during development or singular thinking is critical. Governance methods should be developed to validate ethical data use as AI is implemented in employee management systems, customer care, product development and sales.


AI’s potential in consumer and corporate spaces is significant. It can improve the way customer care agents respond to inquiries with tools already available in Contact Center environments to help them find answers, as well as, listen to customer sentiment and advise them on how to respond. Or it can even prevent calls from being raised to agents entirely and provide a faster resolution to improve customer experience.

Customers will always want to speak to agents — the question is, will

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 33

that agent still be human or an avatar, and will the customer be able to tell the difference? I think that is still a couple of years out, but with the pace of innovation, it is highly likely.

AI from an employee’s experience will change the way corporations assign projects or hire and retain talent. AI will be able to align employee skills, personalities and aspirations with organizational goals, fostering teams that align with a company’s vision and resonate with employees’ search for meaningful work. KeeperAI, for instance, uses psychometrics developed with machine learning to create profiles that align employees with projects matching their skills and motivations. This approach aims to improve employee engagement, reduce turnover and

enhance productivity.

The CEO and founder of KeeperAI, Vishal Ahluwalia, recently spoke about the platform’s role in changing the workforce of tomorrow, where he said, “We use AI and computer vision to enable a more human way of working: Our platform can be used to empowers people to tell a story about themselves through imagery, interests and daily reflections, and by allowing users to highlight personality traits. The insights provide an intuitive and easy-to-understand profile presentation of themselves that help others get to know them in a world where we hop on and off video meetings and lack water cooler conversations. This lighttouch social media interaction expressing their affinity groups allow us to better align people to teams, projects and each other, simultaneously bridging team relationships

so that they can move from storming to norming faster.”

While this is an excellent goal, it is important to go back to the adjacent possibilities where technology is introduced for a specific purpose but then is extended beyond the founder’s use or purpose. This can, like nuclear energy, have negative implementations, introducing discrimination through biases or promoting unintentional corporate policies based on the insights provided by the application.

Mr. Ahulwalia acknowledged the risk in this statement, “We adhere to regulatory requirements and partner with our clients to establish protocols during implementation of the platform. Still, like any other product, you put it out into the ether; you really can’t imagine all the ways folks will engage the insights or apply integrations to workforce management practices. We continue to be very careful and vigilant around the application of the insights by our customers and work with them in establishing frameworks that will limit harm or biases from the learnings. Our goal is to create a cohesive work environment where people thrive and feel safe to share their vibe.”


The rise of AI and technology is ushering in new implementations, professions, treatments and services. While there will be a need for prompt engineers for LLMs, computer vision and expert systems, there is also a greater need for individuals who can think about AI security, ethics, law, philosophy, health and safety. Ensuring that AI serves to enhance our humanistic values of liberty, equality and fraternity is paramount.  L

1 of,in%20less%20than%2012%20months.

2 report-tesla-autopilot-crashes-since-2019/

34 In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

Buccino Leadership Institute The Future of Work and Leadership

Shaping the Future’s Leaders

Our world needs leaders with vision, strength and character. We’re answering the call.

At the Buccino Leadership Institute, we invest in individuals who aren’t just great themselves, but who inspire greatness in others. As an institution, we have a rich legacy of leaders beginning with Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint, who defied tradition and forged a way for those who followed. We believe that true leaders strive to always become a better version of themselves and advocate for those around them.

Buccino Leadership Institute was named 2022’s Most Outstanding Leadership Development Program by the ASSOCIATION OF LEADERSHIP EDUCATORS .

We make leaders better through:

• Exclusive Opportunities

• Experiential Learning

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• 1-on-1 Mentorship and Professional Coaching

• Networking and Professional Development

• Student-led Initiatives

• Service


Rethinking Potential

Strategies for developing character and achieving progress in a chaotic business environment. REVIEWED BY

THE LANDSCAPE for the future of work is messy and chaotic. Forbes identifies “adapting to change and uncertainty” as a critical challenge for 2024.1

Technology (especially AI, artificial intelligence) is rapidly reshaping production and business models, mainly in unforeseen ways. Remote work and hybrid work are reshaping operational models; social policies on climate, diversity and inclusion (DEI), and environment, sustainability

and governance (ESG) — made more challenging by polarized political sentiments — are whipsawing the foundational values for both business strategy and vision. With such an obscure and uncertain future, what’s best may never be known.

The title of Adam Grant’s new book, Hidden Potential, is particularly apt for this current business environment, where tools for discovering value, developing high-performing cultures and fostering future leaders will be at a premium.

The subtitle The Science of Achieving Greater Things signals two fundamental values: science (insights bolstered by studies identifying behaviors more likely to achieve desired results) and achievement (our desire to make progress and overcome obstacles to perform).

Is the emergence of a high-performing organization random? Those of us who have been blessed to be part of highly effective organizations can see that the team benefited from talented and accomplished members. As in radio storyteller Garrison Keillor’s fictional

36 In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, some teams have the good fortune to be populated with better-thanaverage individuals. But in the real world, teams will begin with average players and circumstances, and we cannot rely on random events to create a better-thanaverage outcome.


In addition to science and achievement, Grant builds on character. Grant makes the case that character is not innate but can be strengthened, expanded and improved. We are capable of self-transformation — we can get better, we are capable of mastery, and our employees, our teams and our organizations are all capable of the same growth and improvement.

It should be noted that Hidden Potential devotes a significant portion of its text to applying these principles of character and development to theories of primary education and our school systems. To read the prologue is to have a quick course in rearing children that will resonate with any parent or grandparent of a fourth grader.

Grant writes:

Character is often confused with personality. … Character is your capacity to prioritize your values over your instincts. … If personality is how you respond on a typical day, character is how you show up on a hard day. Personality is not your destiny — it’s your tendency. Character skills enable you to transcend that tendency to be true to your principles. It’s not about the traits you have — it’s what you decide to do with them. Wherever you are today, there’s no reason why you can’t grow your character skills starting now. (emphasis added)

Hidden Potential

The Science of Achieving Greater Things

Viking • October 23, 2023

How do we build these skills? First, Grant frames the discussion in terms of skills — something that can be learned, honed, strengthened and improved — instead of a trait one has or does not have. This framing is essential not only for his advice on building one’s own skills, but also for the way it opens the door for leaders to think about employees, potential hires and future leaders. Grant offers a variety of ways to improve your character skills:

• Become a creature of discomfort. Don’t be afraid to try a new style.

• Seek discomfort. Instead of merely striving to learn, aim to feel discomfort, which sets you on a faster path to growth.

• Become a sponge. Seek out new knowledge to fuel your growth; ask for advice from others.

• Own your new skills and knowledge by putting them to use, possibly before you feel you are ready, and in being a coach to others, be the type of coach you would hope to have.

• Be an imperfectionist. Strive for excellence, not perfection; enlist judges to gauge your progress.

Grant’s advice may begin to sound like, “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” But his vision for selfimprovement does not have to be a grinding slog of self-punishment. Grant uses the metaphor of building a scaffolding — a temporary structure to scale unreachable heights and climb barriers. For example:

• Turn practice into play. Find ways to turn the daily grind or fixed routine into a source of daily joy.

• When you’re stuck, move back to move forward. Even though it might feel like regressing, sometimes going backward and discovering a new path is the right move. (Golfers know sometimes the way out of the bunker is not always towards the hole.)

• Find a side gig. Build momentum by taking a detour to a new destination. Small wins in a new endeavor can inspire you to make headway in other projects.

Expand the character-building metaphor to the entire organization. Grant also argues his vision for selfimprovement applies to the organization as a whole. Leaders should build systems of opportunity


“The best teams aren’t the ones with the best thinkers. They’re the teams that unearth and use the best thinking from everyone.” 3

• Choose leaders based on prosocial skills. Collective intelligence is harnessed through cohesion, clarity and shared mission. Leaders who articulate values and promote behaviors that access non-obvious

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 37

or unintuitive thinking will foster better teams.

• Engage in “brainwriting” rather than brainstorming. Brainwriting calls for everyone to write down ideas independently, as opposed to tossing up ideas in a group setting. Ideas are then discussed without knowing who authored them. This method avoids several systematic barriers to brainstorming where “groupthink” or dominant

We don’t want to go back to the rigid factory model of learning. Your preference isn’t fixed, and playing only to your strengths deprives you of the opportunity to improve on your weaknesses.

personalities hinder creativity, less assertive members are not heard or herd instinct rushes to judgment before all ideas are aired.

• Replace the corporate ladder system with a lattice system. Why have only one mentor? Why not have several? Why force ideas and communication through a vertical silo system when creativity and cross-pollination can invigorate creativity?


• Account for the degree of difficulty. Does someone struggle due to a lack of ability or due to the presence of adversity? We should admire scaling a 1,000-foot cliff from the bottom of a ravine as much as we do a 1,000-foot climb up a mountain.

• Use trajectories in evaluations — both in recruiting and performance. Candidates showing steady GPA improvement throughout studies prove to be more successful than those whose trend line was

downward at graduation.

• Redefine success — the most meaningful form of performance is progress. A base runner who steals two bases to get to third may hold more promise than a base runner scoring easily from third.


Grant undergirds his advice with excellent stories about people overcoming extraordinary obstacles. For example, a deaf person becomes a worldrecognized percussionist-composer; a migrant worker becomes an astronaut; a diminutive girl from Arizona scales Mount Everest; a 24-year-old engineer who was not part of the core team suggests the eventual rescue solution to the Chilean mining disaster.

A theme throughout these stories is that the person at the center of success would have yet to be identified through our usual sorting criteria of obvious talent, experience or sterling credentials. Instead, each exemplifies persistence and character — repeated exertion after multiple setbacks.

Where does this fit in with some of the old tried and true maxims of the past? For example, “the ‘very good’ is the enemy of the ‘best’” or “why not the best?” If we subscribe to imperfectionism, doesn’t that guarantee a future of settling for the mediocre? Aspiring to be the best is highly motivational, and such motivation might propel us through adversity.

Accountability becomes very murky as well. If we prize stealing two bases over scoring from third base, do we lose our focus on scoring a run? Do people game the system, knowing the appearance of progress is valued over absolute results, and sandbag performance to set a low base, only to appear to have overcome a great distance later?

We are asked to open doors for people who are underrated and overlooked. This is a departure from Jack Welch’s tenure at General Electric, where he insisted on firing the bottom 10 percent of performers yearly. Of course, Neutron Jack’s legacy has grown a lot of tarnish in recent years, but it still begs the question of how to cull underperformers.


Leaders and managers may need to consider if Grant’s shift in mindset carries the risk of losing focus on important milestones. But “scoring a run from third base” has a clarity and singularity not found in today’s messy business environment, where we may not be sure if we are playing baseball or soccer.

And if we are playing baseball today, we may find our business depends upon playing soccer tomorrow. Grant’s book offers terrific insights into building a team of versatile, agile and resilient athletes and teams for whatever game emerges in the years to come.  L 1

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38 In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication
The Top 4 Skills Leadership Teams Will Need In 2024, The New York Times, Byline of Brent Gleeson Dec 29, 2023.
20. Adam Grant, Hidden Potential, Viking 2023.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Abraham Lincoln
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