Mar 7th, 2017
Category: Class of 2018
From Gettysburg, PA; Friday, March 3, 2017
By Katie Mansouri and Tasha Bunting, Presiding Fellows
Day six of our Washington D.C. Seminar began at the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center. Upon our arrival, our group watched a short film depicting the events leading up to the battle of Gettysburg, the battle itself and the aftermath. Following the film, our group viewed the Gettysburg Cyclorama, oil on canvas, painted by Paul Philippoteaux in 1883. The painting took Paul a year to complete; at 42 feet tall by 377 feet long, it is viewed in the round and depicts the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 (the third day of battle).
We also walked through the center’s quality museum, which provided information and artifacts from life before, during and after the war. The experience was humbling. At the Battle of Gettysburg alone, 51,000 soldiers gave their lives for their country and for what they believed in. Had the Union lost at the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederacy would likely have won the war and the United States, as we know it today, would not be.
After our time at the visitor’s center, the group met our battlefield tour guide, Terry Fox. Terry is a sixth generation resident of Gettysburg, an historian, and a member of the Original Gettysburg Leadership Experience team. For the afternoon, Terry shared his vast knowledge with our group, speaking to both historical events of the battle on the first day (July 1, 1863) and to leadership lessons learned from the military tactics used during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Many of Terry’s messages on leadership aligned with those we have heard at our previous seminars. In highlighting the differences between General Robert E. Lee and General George G. Meade, Terry explained the distinct difference that enabled General Meade and the Union soldiers to prevail at Gettysburg. Meade used a participatory-consensus type of leadership when possible; General Lee lead with a mission to bring the army to the battlefield prepared and positioned to fight and win. After that, he felt it was up to his subordinates, events that occur and the will of God.
Another leadership takeaway from the first day of battle was the concept of establishing an off-ramp strategy. Although extremely outnumbered on the first day of battle, the Union Army fiercely protected the higher ground. The Union set up their defenses northwest of the town of Gettysburg, knowing if they were defeated, they could retreat through the town to the higher ground.
Our day concluded with a conversation with Kay Hollabaugh, who serves as the treasurer of Hollabaugh Bros. Inc. The company is a family owned and operated fruit and vegetable farm with an on-farm retail market, which includes a bakery. Many of us shopped in the market and found delicious items like apple doughnuts, pecan sticky buns, and cookies!
Our discussion with Kay centered on the issues facing their family farm. Labor shortages, succession plans, and regulations are all top concerns for the business that has been selling fruit since 1955. Kay’s willingness to have a very frank discussion on her worries for the future of the farm resonated with many of us in the class.
This week we’ve heard from many speakers on what makes a great leader, with a consistent theme throughout: treat people with honesty and respect. The Hollabaugh Bros. was a wonderful example of putting that theme to work. Inside the market is a giant wall of photos of every employee with the phrase: Hollabaugh Bros. and retail staff like family since 1955. It takes all the pieces to put the puzzle together.
As we wrap up day six, meeting with the Hollabaugh family was a great opportunity to learn more about a business very different from most of ours, but yet still have similar concerns. Here’s hoping weather tomorrow is a little warmer for our last day on the battlefield!