Shared Wisdom for Successfully Leading Organizations

The Story Behind the Book

An open book (iStockphoto)

Published on March 8, 2017

When Franca Gucciardi joined the first cohort of scholarship recipients at the Loran Scholars Foundation in 1990, she had no idea that one day she would be sitting in the CEO chair.

Franca moved from Sicily with her family at the age of eleven, and went to school in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood. In her early years she demonstrated a tremendous gift for organizing things so they worked better. As she matured and honed these skills, she realized she enjoyed leading people and organizations to effect change professionally.

Franca first met Toronto businessman, social entrepreneur and author Alan Broadbent, then chairman of the Loran Scholars Foundation board in 1994 when she was still a student. Right from the beginning, she admired him for his commitment and leadership in the non-profit sector.

Ten years after this first meeting, Franca got the call from the board of the Loran Scholars Foundation asking her to consider taking on the role of CEO. Alan was the first person she called to ask for advice. Since then, the two have met regularly over the years. Realizing that their conversations covered topics which could be useful to a larger group of people, they took to the keyboard and began writing You’re It!

You’re It! Shared Wisdom for Successfully Leading Organizations from Both a Seasoned and a First-Time CEO takes the reader through the life cycle of a CEO. From stepping into the role through to preparing for the next leader, Broadbent and Gucciardi draw from their own professional and personal experiences, missteps and interests to offer thoughtful insights and practical advice.

Written on the premise that wisdom is meant to be shared, You’re It! aims to demystify what it means to be a CEO. As the title suggests, when you’re at the top, the success or failure of an organization is not up to your staff or board — it’s up to you.

Whether you’re dreaming of becoming a CEO, are reluctantly on the track to lead an organization or are new in the position, You’re It! is for you. More broadly, it is for any senior leaders or CEOs who believe they still have something to learn, especially as they make a change to a new organization. Broadbent and Gucciardi prove that when a young, ambitious, goal-oriented leader-in-the-making meets a businessman with a love of prose, poetry and old master paintings, there is much to be learned.