Navy admiral talks about leadership at St. Thomas Academy

| January 14, 2016 | 0 Comments
Admiral Bill Gortney talks with St. Thomas Academy senior Brendan Quinlan following his presentation on leadership at the school Jan. 14. Quinlan presented him with two gifts at the end, including a pair of heavy mittens. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Admiral Bill Gortney talks with St. Thomas Academy senior Brendan Quinlan following his presentation on leadership at the school Jan. 14. Quinlan presented him with two gifts at the end, including a pair of heavy mittens. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Admiral Bill Gortney came to St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights Jan. 14 to talk about leadership. He left with a new pair of heavy mittens that will serve him well anytime he is in Minnesota during the winter.

The commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) outlined principals of strong leadership, shared his experiences from numerous deployments in the Navy and answered cadets’ questions during a question-and-answer session at the end.

“It was a completely different experience for me. I’ve never met someone that high up in the military,” said senior Ben Philbin. “His entire premise was centered around one of the most important parts of leadership — caring for who you are a leader for. It hit home for me because I am a leader in the theater department and it’s my job to try and get new people in.

Following his presentation and answers to questions, senior Brendan Quinlan gave him two gifts, one of which was a pair of heavy mittens that hinted at the cadets’ desire to have him spend more time in Minnesota.

“As a young leader, one thing that was important for me was one of his seven attributes. . . excellence,” Quinlan said. “That’s something that, at St. Thomas Academy, we strive to capture in everything that we do. For a lot of cadets in the audience today, that really struck a cord.”

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