Authentic leadership is an important topic of discussion these days, and one we don’t hear enough about. As I think about the issues we cover this month, I see it as ever more crucial. 

In “A Fragile World,” we confront the consistent conflict across our globe. The volatility and unpredictability of events, and violent, high-loss scenarios are unprecedented, and the global environment as we know it today truly highlights the critical role we play for our clients. Assessing these kinds of risks, aligning resources, preparing for the unknown and bringing a little peace of mind requires a steady hand and a special kind of leadership.

On the home front, we are consumed by the impending presidential election. This election cycle, I’ve heard a lot of colorful adjectives to describe the candidates, but “authentic” has not been one of them. I’ll save my political meanderings for another time—plus, once you read Joel and Joel’s three-day email debate, you won’t need to hear from me anyway. My point is, the next few weeks are going to determine a new president and a new administration, and our industry has a lot at stake. We need authentic leadership to break the gridlock in Washington and we need it fast.

Authentic leadership is also necessary as we continue to evolve as an industry. Our article, “Getting Cozy with Capital” details the ever-shortening distribution chain, the result of capital moving closer and closer to risk. I don’t want to sound redundant here, but there’s less and less room for waste in this model. Everyone wants efficiency, and there’s room only for those who bring value to the table. In this new world, authenticity and true leadership will prevail.  

Finally, there’s Jay Fishman—a corporate icon, a game changer. He was smart. He was ruthless. He led by example and had a tremendous impact on this industry. He was tough yet compassionate. Confident but humble. He valued the opinion of those around him. He was all the things leaders are supposed to be.   

Jay displayed strength, professionalism, humility and humor throughout his conversation with Leader’s Edge—remarkable under the circumstances.  

He was impressively detailed about his decades-long career in the industry and the changes he saw along the way, such as the use of data and the efficiencies of technology. He was candid about his disease and determined in his efforts to help others who will face it in the future. He was refreshing when it came to the important things in life and poignant in his comments about faith and family. It’s all incredible insight from an incredible guy.

As I close out this month, I leave you with a toast. Jay told us he ended every day with a drink. “It’s the absolute rule, never to be broken.” It’s only fitting that we all raise a glass in tribute to one of our industry’s great leaders and the personal legacy he left behind, never to be forgotten. Here’s to Jay Fishman—a man who was nothing if not authentic.