During the chaos, confusion, and fear of Sept. 11, 2001 (9/11), one man’s words and actions rose above it all and brought some solace to the millions impacted on that day. The voice was that of Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York City. In light of this extraordinary contribution, it was a great honor to have the former mayor address a large and eager audience of neurosurgeons during the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Meeting in New Orleans as the Walter E. Dandy Orator. Guliani did much for New York City beyond his efforts related to 9/11. He worked to reduce crime, reformed welfare and improved the quality of life of the citizens of New York City during his term as Mayor. Most New Yorkers give bipartisan credit to the city’s turnaround during his tenure. The result was a clean, safe city that welcomed visitors and rewarded locals as a great city in which to work, live and play. Beyond his calming appearances during the hours and days immediately following the World Trade Center attacks, he also led the recovery of the city in those darkest hours after the terrorist attacks.
Clearly renowned for his demonstrated leadership skills, it was inspiring to hear Guliani speak about the importance of leadership. He poignantly related the top six characteristics of an effective leader:
- Strong beliefs;
- Relentless preparation; and
Giuliani also emphasized the critical value of mentorship in guiding one’s career development. These topics reflected and reinforced for the neurosurgical audience the important theme of the CNS 2015 Annual Meeting: Mentorship: Service, Education, Progress.
On behalf of all neurosurgery, I thank Rudy Giuliani for his inspiring words and actions.