Howard “H” White is a man who wears many hats (usually a fedora to work). He is a father, philanthropist, motivational speaker, author, and businessman. He’s never been one to let his job title to define, so if you’re curious you should look him up.
Regardless of all his achievements he is humble and says hello to everyone he passes, after learning the lesson from his mother Lillian White, “Even a dog can wag its tail when it passes you on the street.” H has given speeches all over the world but he especially likes talking to children. I’ve seen him speak twice to high school students and both times I was in awe of his presence on stage. Other speakers shared their stories before him. Both we charismatic, confident, and had entertaining stories; but to see H speak was a completely different experience. He is the greatest communicator I’ve ever witnessed. A professor in college told him she had only seen two students ever command the attention of the entire room; one was H and the other was Bill Cosby.
From hearing him speak I was compelled to dive into reading his book Believe to Achieve: See the Invisible, Do the Impossible. When I finished his amazing assistant, Cheryl, set up a time for me to go into his office and discuss my thoughts on the book with him, and I thought I would obtain some insights about how to be successful in business. Our meeting was only scheduled for 30 minutes but it ended up being a two-hour discussion about his story, life, movies, and pretty everything under the sun. I still asked my business questions but the answers were not what I expected to hear.
HW: “I don’t really look at the résumés as much as I look at the little things. I look at who that person is and how they handle themselves.”
When it came time for Mr. White to choose a new assistant he received many résumés and recommendations from very qualified and talented people, but that didn’t matter. He chose a receptionist named Cheryl. Cheryl has a passion for the company, a bubbly personality, but most importantly she greeted everyone who entered the building with courtesy and respect regardless of their position.
KD: “Why do you feel you have been so successful?”
Besides making his bed everyday (which he explains in his book), H could not answer this question because he feels success is subjective. However he does have advice for how to make oneself successful.
My talk with Howard White was nothing short of enlightening, and I look forward to any future talks I may have with him. I could rattle off many more lessons he taught me but unfortunately this is a blog post and not a novel.
– Kelsey Doherty