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Positive Leadership: When We Believe It, We Will See It.


By John Tsaras, EMBA '20

As I approach the end of the Executive MBA program, it’s humbling to reflect on my journey so far, which has included an amazing cohort of fellow students, exceptional EMBA courses, and identifying my purpose as a leader. 

During the course of the program, elective classes like Positive Leadership set a great framework for me to identify my purpose. Through a series of activities and exercises that helped me understand my strengths and my “best self” through the eyes of family, friends, and others, I was able to develop stronger connections with others and build on my leadership approach.

I also learned to challenge my higher purpose in this course — to connect the people to the purpose.

I recognize that in every workplace conversation, I’m contributing to the culture. I’ve challenged myself with a simple question: “If I want a better culture, what am I going to do about it?” People don’t care how much I know, until they know how much I care. In every interaction with peers and clients, my priority is to always go in with a helping hand to make sure their needs are met. This mindset has made a huge difference in building partnerships and driving business outcomes. I continue to leverage the key learnings of the Positive Leadership course, to enable a significant cultural change where everyone brings their best self to work.

Through the leadership and career sessions with our executive coaches, I’ve been able to assess what I am doing right, how to approach my career goals, and most importantly, how to make a difference in the world. On a few occasions when I needed career advice, my career management coach made time to walk me through different approaches and considerations, highlighting the support system we have at Ross. I’ve always felt that I have had a true partner in navigating my career since joining the program. The faculty and administrators at Ross have shaped my learning experience, and I recognize the EMBA program as a defining moment in transforming my leadership potential.

Ross has also provided me the tools to be at the forefront of leading transformations related to globalization, digitizations, and sustainability at Dow. I have integrated the knowledge and perspective I’ve gained from the EMBA program to explore how digital platforms can drive down costs, increase profits, and ultimately reward shareholders. I’ve even reached out to colleagues in different domains to search for opportunities to apply my learnings to effectively execute the priorities of the company. 

Working in corporate America, I’ve long been a believer that we need to think of the unintended consequences of not having inclusion or sustainability embedded into how we allocate resources in capitalistic systems. Through my time at Ross, I’ve made strides in my contributions to driving sustainable change in the world through non-profit organizations, such as the Asase Foundation, of which I was chairman of the board.

By joining industry and sustainability initiatives, I am excited to participate in solving this critical challenge, by developing a waste infrastructure system to ensure that waste does not end up in the environment. I look forward to the near future where waste does not end up in the environment through circular-economy efforts across the value chain.