The BB&T Leadership Institute Magazine: Volume 1, Issue 1


A letter from Kelly King

Dear friends,

In June 2018, we officially opened The BB&T Leadership Institute’s incredible new campus, and today, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to the inaugural issue of The BB&T Leadership Institute Magazine.

At BB&T, our mission is to make the world a better place to live, and one way we’re doing that is through The BB&T Leadership Institute. At a critical point in my own development, I and some other key BB&T executives attended a program at Farr Associates, a noted leadership development firm. The program helped us so much, individually and collectively, that we bought the company.

We’re continuing to build on Farr’s 60-year legacy of leadership and organizational development—leveraging the science of psychology to help leaders understand their true selves and become the most effective leaders they can be.

As you browse through the pages of this magazine, you’ll get a glimpse into the programs we routinely provide and the powerful results they generate. You’ll be introduced to nationally acclaimed thought leaders who share their insights into what makes effective leaders and teams, and the transformative work occurring daily at The BB&T Leadership Institute. We invite you to look inside and see what positive leadership truly looks like.

Kelly S. King
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
BB&T Corporation


Leading the way: A message from Will Sutton

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The BB&T Leadership Institute Magazine! Published twice annually, the magazine is designed to allow us to share our latest thoughts on leadership, introduce you to a few of our favorite leaders and share the impact of our important work. In this issue, we speak candidly with Bill George, an extraordinary leader, teacher and author whose leadership philosophy perfectly mirrors our own. I was fascinated by his comments on the need for leaders to understand their life stories and face their “crucible” moments. At The BB&T Leadership Institute, our programs are founded on those same principles: Who we are is how we lead, and our leadership potential is limited only by ourselves.

We hope you will also enjoy learning about our important philanthropic work with educators and students, and find inspiration in the remarkable story of John O’Leary, a case study in filling one’s life with meaning and purpose. Purpose, after all, is an integral concept at The Leadership Institute, and we spend a great deal of time helping leaders understand and leverage their purpose. Our purpose is to make the world a better place, and the gratifying work we do with school principals and student leaders helps us fulfill that purpose.

The Leadership Institute was founded on the idea that there is no facet of society that can’t be improved through better leadership. Our life- and career-changing work always starts with an exploration of beliefs—leaders’ beliefs about themselves along with their employees’ beliefs about their leaders, their work and their company. Once a leader is conscious of these beliefs and how they interplay, that leader can chart a path to greater success.

Building on this transformational concept devised by our predecessor firm, Farr Associates, we have been developing leaders for more than 60 years. Grounded in psychology and informed by modern science and research, our programs are designed to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Our tagline, “The Psychology of Better Business,” conveys the essence of what we do—leveraging the science of the mind to help men and women run better companies, schools and organizations.

If you’re in the area, please visit our new home in Greensboro, North Carolina. Situated on 12 acres in the beautiful Piedmont Triad, our retreat-like campus was custom-designed and built for our work. It features state-of-the-art classrooms, 48 guest rooms and even a treehouse for executive team-building.

As ever, we stand ready to help you develop better leadership capacity in your organization.

Our tailored and high-touch approach means you get exactly the results you want. We invite you to enjoy the first issue of our magazine. Until we speak in person, happy reading—and leading!

Will W. Sutton
Executive Vice President & Director
The BB&T Leadership Institute


Articles in Volume 1, Issue 1

Be True to Your Schooling

Our ideas always come back to us, such as 'Beliefs drive behaviors, and behaviors drive results.’

Demystifying Millennials

Psychological research and theory support the idea that fundamental human needs, and the brain functions that support them, apply to everyone.

Leadership 2.0

Understanding who you are as a person and how you got to be that way is critical to understanding your own leadership strengths and weaknesses.

Leveraging Leadership

Leadership is a moment-by-moment undertaking. We often miss opportunities to be at our most effective because we're acting on autopilot.

The Engagement Matrix

An engaging work experience feels invigorating, positive, energetic and fulfilling.

The Passions of Bill George

The easy side of leadership is getting the numbers right. We all know how to do that. Getting an organization’s culture right and getting the leaders right is very hard. And it’s never-ending.”

The Power of Four

We've found employees will give you their best only when they believe you deserve it.

Trial by Fire

John O’Leary discusses overcoming obstacles, leading by example and the power of the piano.

When Tradition Embraces Change

At Hooker Furniture, there’s an openness from our people to say, ‘Wow, we could move faster. And maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if we were willing to take risks more often.’

Words to Work By

Here are the season’s must-read (or listen to) business titles.