Life-saving leadership

Korn Ferry’s Gerry McNamara, seven years after surviving a flight ditched in the Hudson River, has sky-high praise for pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger.

It is the subject of a current hit movie, but for Gerry McNamara it was real life. In a Wall Street Journal story, the senior client partner and global managing director for Korn Ferry’s Chief Information Officer practice recounts his bracing, brief trip on US Airways Flight 1549 seven years ago. From seat 8F, the onetime US Marine Corps captain says he could “smell the flesh and the fuel,” even as he became an eyewitness to consummate air professionalism and exemplary leadership in a crisis.

The jet’s pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, deserves the highest praise for how he communicated superbly and galvanized his crew and 150 passengers to save their lives after his jet hit a flock of geese and he was forced to land the craft in the Hudson River, McNamara says.

Sully’s widely lauded emergency command changed forever McNamara’s views on talent, he tells the Journal, adding: “Now when I look at people, it’s all the easier for me to tell if they’re leaders or if they’re not. Many aren’t. They’re executives but they’re not leaders.”

Read more of McNamara’s memorable experience by clicking here.

Photo credit: Greg Lam Pak Ng, Creative Commons