Three INTA Presidents to Discuss Leading Through Change at the Leadership Meeting in Panama

By: Rudy Gaines, National Accounts Manager, Marksmen


If you search for famous quotes about the idea of change, you quickly realize that maybe that old saying is true: change really is the only constant in the world. Bob Dylan may have written the song The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964, but those words never stopped being true—in work, in life and even at INTA.

On Thursday, November 19th at 10:15 am, during the Leadership Meeting in Panama, the Leadership Development Committee will present “Take it to the Goal,” a session dedicated to leading through change. The program will open with a presentation by Gary Stempel, former head coach of the Panamanian National Football team, who will give us his unique perspective on leadership in the intense world of Latin American football.

Then, I’ll have the privilege of interviewing tres Presidentes—past INTA President Mei-lan Stark, current President J. Scott Evans and incoming President Ronald van Tuijl. Throughout these interviews, we will talk about change, how to lead when it’s happening around you, and how it affects all of our lives. (Mainly, I’m gonna stay outta the way…)

One of the aspects of change that we will explore—and one that many INTA members experience—is moving from one job to another. As the IP Director for Japan Tobacco International, Ronald van Tuijl has lived that experience globally. As he says, “Changing jobs is often an exciting time with new experiences, new challenges and new colleagues. Sometimes it involves changing countries, which can make it more challenging. And change rarely affects one single person only—it affects your new team and colleagues. Changing countries affects your partner and family too.” Ironically, in an interconnected world, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that the most interconnected part of each of us is our own family.

As leaders in the workplace, we sometimes create change, but at other times it is thrust upon us. Either way, it can come to define who we are. Mei-lan Stark has had experience with that dynamic as Senior Vice President of IP at 20th Century Fox. “During times of change, it is important for leaders to internalize the difference between stated support and felt support,” Mei-lan says. “Simply hearing words of support is rarely enough. Leaders must recognize what tangible support would feel like for each team member and take the necessary steps to ensure each team member feels supported. It is not easy.” Not easy—a common theme that we all face in times of change.

“The most important aspect is accepting that working through change is going to require patience and flexibility,” says current INTA President J. Scott Evans. As Associate General Counsel of Adobe Systems, he understands the very human traits that companies must adopt in times of change. “As an organization adapts, there is the inevitable blip in the road map that will require you and your team to adapt. A leader needs to be aware that these unexpected situations will occur and that these situations can increase anxiety. Leaders need to be prepared for this reality and not let it derail them from keeping their team on track as the organization goes through the process.”

And our organization, approaching a transition year, is about to go through the process as well. In fact, when our Tres Presidentes have finished enlightening us on the many ways to make the best of it when the times they are a-changin’, our subsequent program—a committee management workshop for chairs, vice chairs and liaisons—will shift inward, to committee transition and how we can incorporate these important lessons.

Rudy Gaines

Rudy Gaines

Rudy is the National Accounts Manager at Marksmen and has been here since the beginning (about 17 years). He is a longtime INTA member, attending his first Annual Meeting in 2007, and was recently named as Chair of the INTA Public and Media Relations Committee.

Click here to see the original post at the INTA blog.