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Maddox speaks on leadership

Mayor Walter Maddox spoke at the second event of the Leadership Speaker Series. CW | Layton Dudley

Christian Elliott

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For the second event of the Leadership Speaker Series, External Affairs brought Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox to campus. Maddox, who has been in office for 10 years, spoke on leadership and topics such as current local and state politics. Within Maddox’s address to the student and faculty, he spoke on important qualities such as vision, implementing the vision and understanding that everyone counts.

“Vision is a term we use a lot in today’s society,” Maddox said. “It is something that is the crucial element when it comes to leading an organization.”

Maddox referenced the city’s dealings with the aftermath and devastation of the 2011 tornado. The New York Times even wrote that Maddox helped execute one of the most effective responses to a natural disaster.

“That night while we were dealing with all the life-safety issues, I asked our Director of Planning and Development Services to walk down the hallway with me because I needed to talk to him, and I said ‘We have to create a vision for us to make it out of this,’” Maddox said, “Never underestimate the framework and vision that you can create in an organization to make effective change happen.”

Maddox also placed emphasis on implementing a productive image as well as making sure every one counts within an organization.

“A good leader has to hear and honor those voices and respect those voices,” Maddox said. “When the times comes to do something that is challenging, you want everyone in the organization to buy into the vision of the organization.”

Maddox spoke on current topics ranging from local and state politics, the subject of Birmingham’s raising of minimum wage in relationship to Tuscaloosa, the Uber matter, and the topic of future expansion within Tuscaloosa’s infrastructure. The city currently has $250 million in infrastructure upgrades which will be used to further develop the area. Within Tuscaloosa’s recovery zone, the city has already completed $59 million worth of new projects.

“I think the mayor had very critical and crucial words to say to the people here ahead of this time in our lives,” said Jonathan Hess, vice president of External Affairs. “He taught us about vision, and vision is key in any organization such as the Student Government Association or anywhere on the University of Alabama. You need to have that vision and you need to have that to steps to accomplish that goal. I think it was great that he articulated those things. Most importantly, I really liked to hear, especially from him, the policy details he gave us. He told us what was going to happen within the city. He talked about issues that matter to students.”

In the future, the Student Government Association and External Affairs will present two more key political figures, both local and from different areas of the state. Jo Bonner and Birmingham Mayor William A. Belle will address the qualities of leadership in upcoming events for the series.

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Maddox speaks on leadership