A Conversation on Leadership with General Joseph L. Votel, USA (Ret.) 

General Joseph L. Votel, USA (Ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, and current president and CEO of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), speaks with Michelle Giuda, executive vice president of Geopolitical Strategy & Risk at Weber Shandwick, about actionable leadership advice that business and organizational leaders can implement now as they continue to lead their companies, employees and communities through the complex challenges and extreme uncertainty of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A Conversation on Leadership with General Joseph L. Votel, USA (Ret.)

General Votel discusses the vital role communications plays for leaders in times of uncertainty, as well as the importance of empathy and leaning on corporate values and culture as guideposts in tough times. He also shares insights for strengthening resiliency in organizational culture and operations, and the value of empowering people at all levels to make decisions in times of crisis in order to create a culture of readiness.

Communicating effectively with your employees, with your communities, sharing empathy with the situation that people find themselves in is obviously very important. This is basic leadership. And the basics really matter, especially in periods like we’re dealing with

General Joseph L. Votel

USA (Ret.)

General Votel notes the necessary relationship between sectors in the fight against COVID-19: “Public, private, civic collaboration, communication, cooperation, I think is absolutely essential.”


Over his distinguished 39-year military career, General Votel commanded special operations and conventional forces at every level. In his last role as Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), he was responsible for U.S. and coalition military operations in the Middle East, the Levant, and Central and South Asia.


To view the full conversation, click here.