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Leadership Lessons: Climbing the Thorny Ladder of Success

Leadership Lessons: Climbing the Thorny Ladder of Success

There's no one "right" way to lead a business. Today's leaders have a lot of wisdom to impart about managing the modern workforce, because each one approaches leadership in his or her own unique way. Every week, Business News Daily will share a leadership lesson from a successful business owner or executive.

  • The leader: Kal Mistry, EVP and chief administrative officer of VITAS Healthcare
  • Time in current position: 14 years
  • Kal's philosophy: "You need to have compassion and empathy, be willing to work hard, and not be afraid of making tough decisions." (Click to tweet)

My journey began in Uganda, East Africa. At the age of 13, my world turned upside down when my family and I fled the country to escape the violent dictatorship of a new military leader. As refugees, we immigrated to England and rebuilt our lives in the midst of facing numerous hardships — but change brought a new perspective.

As my family and I persevered, I diligently pursued my goals and graduated from college, got married and moved to Miami, Florida. I had great hopes of living a happy life but after a few years of marriage, I found myself having to flee once again from another type of dictatorship. Practically homeless and with two small children, I embarked on a new life.

I started my career in an entry-level position in HR management and worked my way up. I was determined to be successful and financially independent. The ladder to success was full of thorns, but through hard work, perseverance, courage and determination, I steadily climbed this ladder which led me to an amazing organization: VITAS Healthcare.

A leader in hospice care, VITAS' core value is, "Patients and families come first." It's the driving force behind the company's mission. In my leadership role at VITAS, I am able to draw from my life-changing experiences and apply myself to instill positive change within the company.

In my experience, dealing with adversity is an opportunity to create a new future, with new beginnings. We all are endowed with inner strength and courage — if we look deep within. My advice for living a prosperous life and climbing the corporate ladder is to surround yourself with positive people, don’t give up on hope, work hard and don’t allow fear or doubt to hold you back. Everyone has a story — be kind and compassionate, be tough when you need to and treat everyone with respect and dignity.