Lessons from an Ambassador


Steven Gaffney and Olexander MotsykLast night, I had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), honoring the Ukrainian Ambassador, Olexander Motsyk. He has had the longest tenure of any ambassador from Ukraine with the US since its independence.

Olexander has encountered a lot of challenges in his tenure – he has weathered different regimes within Ukraine, as well as conflicts with Russia. Although many of the stories revolved around the ambassador’s ability to confront issues and problems head-on, I also heard people share their admiration for his gift of listening and his personable, inclusive nature. The people in the room were truly there to honor him.

So, when we look at our own lives, especially during difficult times, are we taking a page from the ambassador’s book?

  1. Do we listen, acknowledge people, and share information whenever we can?
  2. Do we uphold our passion, the way he does for his country?
  3. Do we treat all parties involved with dignity and respect?

It is important to integrate these ideas with the people in our lives, even if they have opposing points of view, and not default into avoidance mode out of fear or discomfort. The ambassador is a remarkable model as someone who didn’t pull back when the going got tough.

I’ve encountered many people who believe that, and can think of different times in my life where, avoidance seemed like the easiest choice but it is never the solution. Bringing people together, and following his example, can change our lives and the lives of others.

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