Lori Lee, chief executive officer of AT&T International and global marketing officer of AT&T Inc was one of the speakers at the first day of the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, an event in Columbus, Georgia that included an evening keynote address by Steve “The Woz” Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple Inc. Lee centered her message on how values influence leadership in government, schools and businesses. She said leaders need to give more thought about their principles beyond establishing a vision, setting lofty goals, measuring success, holding everyone to high standards and developing a workforce and management team. Lee quickly turned to today’s expectation that companies remain aware constantly of issues throughout society. Long gone are the days when businesses, in particular, simply could mind their bottom lines and stay out of the social fray both in the U.S. and around the globe. It all has changed as social media messaging via smartphones, computers and other devices has flourished. “Nearly 3 out of 4 engaged consumers now expect companies to be more active in society. Half of consumers say a company’s stand on a social or political matter is important when it comes to buying a product or service. As a global marketing officer, I’m listening to that,” said the executive. Lee’s presentation included a short video of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson addressing a large group of the firm’s employees in 2016 following the shooting deaths of five law enforcement officers near the corporate headquarters in Dallas during a rally against the killings of two officers elsewhere. The CEO, drawing loud applause, disagreed with a friend who had used the term “All Lives Matter” as the nation also was reeling from “Black Lives Matter” protests.

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