Message to Graduates of The Foundry Military Leadership Program

Scripps CEO, Chris Van Gorder, with grads from The Foundry Military Leadership Program and congratulates them in his blog.

I recently had the privilege of addressing the fall graduating class of The Foundry, a special leadership training program for first class petty officers in the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and other military branches.

The six-day program is based on the USS Midway aircraft carrier docked in downtown San Diego and trains up to 60 military members twice a year.

Scripps Health, a proud sponsor of the program, hosted the fall class at the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla campus for a day of training, where I served as one of the instructors.

Here are the comments I delivered during the group's graduation ceremony aboard the Midway:

Today is a beautiful day.

In a world of suspicion and cynicism- I see hope in you.

In a world of leaders failing to accept responsibility AND accountability- I see in you, emerging leaders willing to do so.

In a world of fake news - exploitation of situations to make news and focus on the sensational or negative - I see in you - honor, courage, commitment.

Several years ago I met a Command Master Chief (David Dearie) interested in providing mentoring for future enlisted leaders and I was asked to make a lecture for a new program called The Foundry. I was truly honored to do so and then I was hooked.

The Foundry is much the same as my Leadership Academy, Frontline Leader Academy and Employee 100 Program. Each of those like the Foundry are designed to forge understanding, model leadership from the past and build leadership for the future. It’s the greatest culture building and sustaining opportunity I know of.

You have had the opportunity to participate in this highly selective program. From my perspective, it’s an honor to attend. But with that opportunity and honor comes responsibility.

I hope as a sponsor of the program that you won’t waste the learnings but instead remember this week and make it a catalyst for more learning and a commitment to give back. Find a way to pay it forward.

As you all know, I had forks in the road in my life and career and many of you will as well. I had choices and commitments to make. One choice could have taken me to self-pity and perhaps self-destruction but I chose another fork that took me on a different road - one that eventually brought me to San Diego, Scripps, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and to you today.

You too will have forks in the road from which to choose. I hope this program in some small way helps you choose one that leads to more service and more leadership.

Scripps is truly proud to help sponsor The Foundry. As I look at each of you today, I am certain you are worth it.

Perhaps Fleet Admiral William Halsey said it best:

“There aren't any great men (or women). There are just great challenges that ordinary men (and women) like you and me are forced by circumstances to meet.”

So meet your challenges with courage - meet them with commitment. Find a way to give back regardless of the circumstances you will face and the forks in the road you will have to choose.

Thank you and congratulations.