What makes an effective leader? Burger King CEO shares his philosophy.

A crowd of more than 145 students, faculty, alumni and representatives of the business community convened at Florida International University (FIU) on October 27, 2011 to hear Bernardo Hees, chief executive officer, Burger King Corporation, talk about leadership.

Hees’s appearance at the College of Business Administration was part of the Herbert A. Wertheim Lecture Series. This program has brought distinguished speakers and experts in business leadership and entrepreneurship to FIU since 1993.

David Suarez (MBA ’04), Dean’s Alumni Circle member, found Hees’s presentation interesting and enlightening.

Bernardo Hees

“It’s not often we get the chance to listen to a CEO of a major local Fortune 400 company,” he said. “His presentation ended with a very open question-and-answer session that gave us even greater opportunity for discussion.”

Suarez summarized the key points of the lecture, which he also shared via Twitter during the event.

“Hees said that effective leaders serve before being served,” Suarez said. “Leaders don’t have all the answers but ask the right questions. They lead by example, asking for clear, direct feedback and setting the vision for their organization.”

Olga Alvarez Caveda (BBA ’95) attended the lecture because she was interested in hearing Burger King’s CEO speak about how he runs a multimillion-dollar corporation.

Joyce J. Elam, executive dean, College of Business Administration; Bernardo Hees; and FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg

“Hees shared some of the strategies he uses to help Burger King stay profitable,” she said. “I learned that being consumer oriented can give you an edge over your competition.”

Lecture series help everyone keep learning.

Suarez encourages students and fellow alumni to continue attending events like the Wertheim Lecture Series.

He appreciates that the university has not only an incredible alumni community but also a tremendous resource in the business people in the area who are affiliated with the school.

“Don’t hesitate to attend the next lecture or presentation,” he said. “It’s a great way to augment your learning experience at FIU. Always be open to keeping your tools sharp and learning new skills.”

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