Copy the Leader: Frank White III
Jayhawks in leadership positions are everywhere you look, including through the Jayhawk Career Network. KU Alumni, in partnership with SumnerOne, is highlighting Jayhawk leaders who are models for others in their industries with our “Copy the Leader” program.
Frank White III, c’93, is the chief executive officer of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
What do you do in your work?
As the CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, I am responsible for advancing public transportation options throughout the bi-state region. This includes short- and long-term planning to meet the mobility needs of residents in the metropolitan area, as well as planning and executing mobility for special events, such as Super Bowl parades, the NFL Draft and World Cup games.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
Good leaders lead by example. They are self-aware and have great clarity around the mission. They understand that authenticity builds credibility internally and externally. Good leaders understand the value of building strong relationships.
How do you practice leadership at your job?
I never ask anyone to do anything I am not willing to do myself. I try to be authentic, consistent and transparent. I empower employees to perform their jobs and then stay out of their way!
What makes a team/group successful?
Teams that share mutual respect and a common goal are destined for greatness. Add to that diversity of skills, personalities, experience and demographics and you have the formula to ensure associate buy-in. Successful teams understand they play a critical role in the success of the organization, no matter their position.
How can leaders in your industry help their organizations adapt to change?
First and foremost, by listening more than talking; helping employees understand that change is inevitable in our world today; humbly acknowledging that the CEO doesn’t have all the answers, and that teams are critical to the organization’s evolution to meet the shifting demands of our industry.
The Copy the Leader program is brought to you by SumnerOne. SumnerOne is one of the largest independent office technology dealers in the Midwest, with offices in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We’re a family of respected companies united by ONE goal: to exceed your expectations and help you get the most from your investments in printing, IT, and document technology.