At the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, I was proud to stand with millions of Americans to usher in change. As an African-American, I celebrate President Obama's ascension on a personal level. As an executive, I applaud Obama's return to good old-fashioned leadership — the kind that inspires people and helps them see the opportunities that lie ahead –even in the midst of a storm…the charisma that unites people from all kinds of backgrounds around a shared sense of making their piece of the world better. Importantly, President Obama also conveys a spirit of reassurance that acknowledges the enormity of the task at hand, while also understanding that you have to tackle a turnaround one step at a time.

What struck me about President Obama's speech and his presence at the inauguration was the calm he exhibited as he delivered a passionate call to action to people who are hungry for hope. President Obama's calm reminds me of our seventh Page Principle: Remain calm, patient and good-humored. When a crisis arises, remember, cool heads communicate best. This is a lesson that each of us can take back to our organization as we work through the financial crisis we are facing. I loved it when President Obama said, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

At the upcoming spring seminar, April 2 and 3, in New York City, we won't be focusing on remaking America, but we will tackle how each of us can re-build the organizations we support in the face of the unprecedented declines many of our companies have experienced. With the theme, “Influence in the Midst of Uncertainty," we'll look at the critical role we will play helping to shape our organization's response to near-term threats to survival and longer-term opportunities for recovery.

The dialogue will be rich, the networking plentiful and the timeliness of the program absolutely on target. Hope you will choose to get in on the conversation…