Common Sense in Leadership: Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 3

The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter

Developing Leaders for the 21st Century

Dear Readers,

Pepper de CallierWelcome to our Newsletter for March.

It is with no small amount of joy that I introduce you to our newest faculty member, Pavel Rehak. Pavel is the CEO of the iconic, century-old Ceska pojistovna, the Czech Republic’s leading insurance company with more than 4,000 employees.  If I’m not mistaken, he is the youngest CEO of a company of this scale in the Czech Republic and certainly one of the most successful from a leadership standpoint because of his stunning turnaround of this company.  I have known Pavel for more than five years and have followed his well-deserved ascent in the corporate world. In the months to come he will be sharing his trademark common sense thinking and approach with us in an article but, until then, please join me in welcoming him to our faculty. 

This month’s guest author is Kathy Gallardo, M.D., Ph.D., who is the Regional Medical Officer/Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry with the United States Department of State, based in the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan. In an extremely interesting and engaging piece, she discusses a topic that has been of deep interest to me for many years: mental health in the context of leadership. You will not want to miss reading her wonderful and insightful contribution to our leadership archive.  Thank you, Kathy!

I am writing this month’s companion piece to update you on PLI’s Leadership Series dinners and our expansion into Slovakia, Poland, and Germany.

In closing, I want to share with you what someone described to me last month as a life-changing experience.  As one of the Founders of Aspen Institute Prague, I was fortunate to participate in our first Young Leaders Program held in a lovely ski lodge in the low Tatra mountains in Slovakia.  24 exceptional young leaders from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic who came from the worlds of business, the arts, politics, and NGOs were invited to a four-day program of wide-ranging discussions and debates on values-based leadership in the 21st century. The sessions were led by a rare collection of senior leaders from fields ranging from the European Parliament to psychiatry.  More can be seen about our program at, but the highlight for me was when a young news anchor from Warsaw, in response to my inquiry of what she thought of the program said, “It was life-changing.” Many thanks to our Executive Director, Radek Spicar, and his team for a truly memorable experience.

To those of you who are following our YouTube videos every Monday, I want to thank you for your support and comments.  Please be advised that we are on hiatus from filming until May.  Stay tuned!

Each month two members of The Prague Leadership Institute’s faculty, or invited guest authors, share their thoughts on a wide variety of leadership-related topics.  To all of them go our sincere thanks for taking the time, and having the generosity of spirit, to share their wealth of experience.

Thank you, too, for taking the time to read our newsletter and for your support.


P.S. My book recommendation this month is Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.  Here’s my quote that will appear on the jacket of the Czech translation, which sums-up my thoughts on this important work:

“In an intelligent, down-to-earth, and holistic way, Sheryl Sandberg introduces us to a refreshingly new dialogue: Lean In sets the standard for 21st century thinking about gender.”

Guest Author
Kathy Gallardo, M.D., Ph.D.

Demeter, Bacchus and Moros in the Boardroom

Kathy Gallardo, M.D., Ph.D.
Regional Medical Officer/Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry, United States Department of State

Indications that people have long suffered transient and chronic incapacitating psychological states can be found as far back as the classical period in history. These include conditions of anxiety, addiction and melancholia.  While certain attributes of these conditions have varied over time and across cultures, core features remain remarkably recognizable today and cut across geographical regions and economic strata. Specific problems such as anxiety, chemical dependence and depression may even be more prevalent now and emerging data suggest elevated rates of occurrence in individuals from higher socioeconomic levels.

 While early studies focused on the epidemiology of mental health issues in the general workforce, increasingly we are appreciating the distinctive vulnerabilities of principal leaders...
From the Founder
Pepper de Callier

A Dialogue with the Leaders who are Defining the Future

Pepper de Callier
Founder and Executive Director, Prague Leadership Institute

In the spring of 2012, Todd Benson and Markus Klos, co-owners of Prague Daily Monitor (PDM), Prague TV (PTV), and Prague Connect (PC), asked me about a possible collaboration on a dinner series in which I would interview the top business leaders in the Czech Republic on timely issues in the context of leadership.  I must say that the thought of having professionals organize the logistics, locations, menus, photographers, etc., was very attractive.  Little did I know at that time what a pleasure it would be to work with them and how our effort would evolve.

Fast forward to today: we have just completed four “Leadership Series Dinner” programs, which have included, as interviewees, the CEOs and leaders of Ceska sporitelna, CSOB, Ceska pojistovna, T-Mobile CZ, Heineken SK, and Adidas CEE, among others. ....
Prague Leadership Institute
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