A conversation with Admiral Thad W. Allen in the August issue of Cape May Magazine

Cape May Magazine’s August Issue features an interview with this year’s speaker in the annual Lessons of History Distinguished Lecture Series Sunday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.: Admiral Thad W. Allen

If you are wondering how to identify a good leader, take note.

The August issue of Cape May Magazine features an interview with Admiral Thad W. Allen (U.S.C.G. Ret.), and as the writer of that piece I wanted to share a bit of that experience here and encourage you to read about Admiral Allen, who will be coming to Cape May, N.J., Sunday, Oct. 8.

Admiral Allen served as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 2006–2010. He was appointed to lead disaster recovery efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by President George W. Bush, and was appointed incident commander for the BP Oil Spill Disaster in the Gulf Coast by President Barack Obama. Admiral Allen is widely and internationally respected as a uniquely skilled leader. He will share his stories and insights into leadership honed during these unprecedented disasters in the nation’s recent history during his lecture, “Always Ready: Stories of Leadership & Unity During Crisis,” Sunday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. at Cape May Convention Hall, Beach Ave. presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC).

One thing I discovered through the interview process is that Admiral Allen is able to communicate a sense of respect for persons even through the briefest of interactions. He inspired this feeling in me without even a face-to-face meeting — simply through his courtesy and responsiveness to my emails. I was so impressed by how this extraordinarily accomplished national leader made me feel comfortable and relevant.

A good leader, Admiral Allen said, can be recognized “by the way they treat people and how they are perceived by subordinates and peers, together with intelligence, critical thinking and emotional intelligence.”

Leadership, I think he is saying, is the opposite of lofty.

The day he wrote his responses to my list of interview questions, he told me he had been flying across country for an official function. He used the time in the air to type on the tiny keyboard on his smart phone — letter by letter — idea by idea — complete, detailed and sometimes surprising answers for me, the substance of which would ultimately comprise the entirety of my story.


I encourage you to purchase and read the August issue of Cape May Magazine at Cape Publishing, 513 Washington Street Mall, available during regular hours. It is also available for purchase daily at the Carriage House Museum Shop at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St.

I also encourage you to purchase a ticket to his lecture on Oct. 8 to listen, learn and hopefully be inspired as I have been. You can do so here via the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) website.