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Best-selling author Mark Crowley to share personal story at USM Leadership Summit on Aug. 28

A message of compassionate management  — illustrated by “Lead from the Heart” author Mark C. Crowley — is coming to the University of Southern Maine’s Leadership Summit.

The Aug. 28 event will feature a keynote address by Crowley, who thrived for more than 25 years in the sometimes ruthless financial services industry. His book, which is being taught in many colleges and universities, grew from comparisons between his own management style and other managers’ use of cool logic and fear to drive workers.

“The big picture is that people are coming to realize we are doing more harm than good in the way we traditionally manage people,” Crowley recently said. “How leaders make people feel has almost everything to do with whether they come in to work wanting to do good work and be engaged and productive.”

The summit is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration and a networking breakfast held in the Abromson Center on USM’s Portland Campus. Attendees will learn about a variety of professional development programs offered at USM. The keynote address will follow at 9 a.m. in Hannaford Hall.

Crowley’s talk will be moving, said Jeanne Paquette, USM’s vice president of Corporate Engagement and Auxiliary Services.

"I knew Mark as a colleague many years ago in San Diego and knew he would do something powerful in leadership someday,” she said. “ I'm thrilled we are hosting Mark here at USM so he can share his inspiring message and best-selling book, ‘Lead From The Heart.‘“

Crowley said he will talk about his own story: coming of age in a troubled home, putting himself through college and becoming a manager. Twice, he held national-level responsibilities with his companies. Most recently, he served as senior vice president-national sales manager for investment products at one of America’s largest financial institutions, where he was named “Leader of the Year.”

Today, he travels the country as a speaker and leadership coach.

“Leadership is about how you make people feel,”he said. “Anyone can learn it, if you have an authentic interest.”

Part of it is understanding.

“What I know is that feelings and emotions are really what drive people,” he said. “Yet, we have always made appeals to people’s minds about work.  We’ve said, ‘If you do this, you’ll make more money,’ or ‘If you do this, the customers will be happy’ or ‘the company will be more successful.’”

Hiring and retaining a new generation of workers requires more than a paycheck or the fear that it could go away, he said.

“I am a baby boomer, and my generation was willing to suck up any kind of management that was handed to us,” he said. “The children of the baby boomers — the millenials —are repelled by it. They are just not going to want to stick around if those needs aren’t being met."

Registration for the USM Leadership Summit, which includes a copy of Crowley’s “Lead from the Heart,” is $39 for general admission and $19 for USM faculty, staff, alumni and corporate partners.

Limited sponsorships are available. Please contact Jeanne Paquette at for more information.