Name: Dan Roth
Leadership Charlotte Class: 35
Title/Company: Head of Strategy and Chief Transformation Officer / Hamburg Commercial Bank
Hometown: Kettering, Ohio
Education: University of Dayton
Current personal or leadership goals: Authenticity, consistency and empathy in a period of tremendous change and uncertainty. People may not always like the message and what’s required to transform a former German state bank (especially during a pandemic), but all employees must know and feel that they are respected and will receive open and transparent communications on the necessity for change. Embrace that “there is no status quo”.
Name: Young-Sun Roth
Leadership Charlotte Class: 36
Title/Company: Hausfrau und Mutter (German for “housewife and mother”)
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Education: BBA, University of Georgia
Current personal or leadership goals: “Rüm Hart – Klaar Kiming” – this is a motto of the North Frisian seafarers (minority language in Germany) that translates to “big heart – clear horizon”. When I learned more about its meaning, it became my goal that I could not name before – to have a big heart, go through the world with open eyes and ears and use a clear mind. When the mind is clear, you can see the way.
If you could describe your Leadership Charlotte experience in three words or phrases what would they be? Dan: Reveal, Connect, Go Deeper
What advice would you give to current Leadership Charlotte participants? Young-Sun: Attribute positive intent to yourself and others – it takes a conscious effort to think about positive reasons why a person would say or do something esp. when it’s something that illicits negative feelings. One of my favorite parenting books gives this advice – “negativity breeds resistance and optimism yields cooperation”- I think this applies to all relationships.
If you could relive any program day, what would it be and why? Young-Sun: Sustainability Day because my lens is so different now that we’re living in Germany. In Charlotte, I thought I was being a good environmental citizen by recycling. In Germany, biking is our primary mode of transportation – our 6 year old son, Luke, bikes to school, parks and even to the city centre (kids are biking everywhere starting at 2); Dan bikes to work, and I bike to stores and appointments. Recycling is a must or it will cost you financially. There is no A/C, only heaters (I do miss A/C though). Local farmers markets are in every neighbourhood multiple times a week. Most restaurants serve locally sourced foods. We drink tap water. Dan is also leading the ESG program for Hamburg Commercial Bank, emphasizing the important role that banks play in directing capital to sustainable business models. While living here I’m realising that we’ve got to do a lot more in the States to make sustainability a regular part of your life.
What’s a lesson that you learned through LC that has stuck with you and why? Dan: LC taught me the importance of connection, telling your story, and listening to the story of others. Connection makes empathy possible and builds the foundation for working together on mutual solutions.
What do you hope to be doing (differently) in five years? We are enjoying the experience of living abroad and fortunate to be in Germany during this Covid pandemic but the U.S. is home and we’re looking forward to being rooted back into a community.
We want to live in a neighbourhood that Luke can grow up in surrounded by kids of diverse backgrounds, where neighbours gather frequently to socialize and we spend as much time as possible outside. We want to shift our career focus towards more entrepreneurial endeavours that feed our soul and has a meaningful purpose but it must allow us to spend more time with our family. And we want to be active members again in a church and community focused on social justice.
What’re you doing in the community these days? Young-Sun: We moved from Charlotte to Germany three years ago and have lived in 2 different German cities so our community, jobs, social network and everyday routine completely changed.
Since my German is extremely basic, it’s been a challenge to be involved but I found a couple of opportunities with English speaking groups. Before Covid, I led a newly formed Hospitality Team at our Catholic Church to build social connections among a diverse, international parish.
When schools closed to stem the spread of Covid, I started a Virtual Morning Circle with Luke’s school three times a week where we read stories and the kids danced, played games and learned the alphabet through a Home Scavenger Hunt – I would speak in English and Luke in German and we discovered Luke has a talent for entertainment. It was a fun, regular routine that helped keep our kids and parents connected and sane! Fortunately, my son went back to school after 9 weeks at home so after our experience I created a Memory Book of Corona Time for Luke and his school friends.