What's The Diff?

The things Quicken Loans team members care about and want to share with the world

DIFF Intern Contest Finalist – Cassie Bixler

Editors note:  please leave a comment about Cassie’s post if you like it.  Tell us if you think she should be the featured DIFF intern blogger this summer.

The Simplicity of Great Leadership

The most powerful people in the world are teachers.  To teach is to care enough to enhance the life of another, to give of yourself.  You will never find a successful or powerful person who solely focuses on himself.  Successful people care.  It is that simple.  They care about doing the right thing in every situation and with every person; and they pass that philosophy on to as many people as possible.  The power of caring is phenomenal.

In all the classes I have enrolled in at Purdue University I have never met anyone like Professor Richard Feinberg.  The first few weeks of class he was basically MIA.  He sat in the back of a large lecture room saying and doing nothing.  He sat back and watched us.  You can only imagine what happens when there is no leadership in a classroom of 250 college students: pure chaos.  Emotions ranged from the typical, “Kickass this is the best class ever!  We have nothing to do and no professor, sweet!”  Then there were the few dedicated students saying, “Screw this professor, I want to learn something.  This is so unfair!”  Some students just left.  Other students sincerely tried to figure out what the hell we were supposed to do.  Still others ignored the situation and took advantage of the time to kick back and chat it up.  There was absolutely no way we were going to get anywhere without direction.

Despite the lack of guidance from the professor, the class managed to structure itself into smaller sections, assign leaders, and attempt to run the class ourselves.  The class, the subordinates, had to follow the typical corporate hierarchy rules.  There was no open communication and no matter what we wanted the professor, “The CEO,” ultimately ran the show, and usually shot our requests down.  We were powerless and furious.  Curses were flying around about Richard Freaking Feinberg.

You see, Professor Feinberg, “The CEO,” was running his classroom like a typical corporate setting.  An environment where the leaders don’t care, aren’t involved, and are solely focused on bringing home the numbers.  Long forgotten are the people at the core of their company, the employees and clients.  Throughout the course of the class Professor Feinberg gradually became more involved and more of a teacher.  He became a leader.  He started to interact, be amongst us, and CARE.  He read us stories, made us laugh, conversed with us on an equal level.  He shared his memories, shared his life, opened up his world to us, and became a part of our classroom.  The moment I understood the method to his teaching madness came from an email he sent out before an upcoming “festive weekend” at Purdue.

The email read, “If you drink, don’t drive.  Do not get in the car with anyone who has been drinking.  Call me. I will pay for your taxi.  I will pay for your hotel.  I will come get you” – Richard Feinberg.  He attached his personal contact information and reiterated this statement in class.  What an impact his true expression of concern made.  It was then that I understood why he ran the classroom the way he did.  He showed us horrible, yet typical, leadership to show us the simplicity of great leadership. 

It was an extraordinary experience.  Someone in power truly cared.  This professor was concerned about me!  After realizing this, he earned my respect and dedication; I would follow him through anything.  Professor Feinberg knew the secret all along.  What separates the good from the great is to give a damn!  The freaking Golden Rule and beyond!  Care about others more than yourself.  It is so simple.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s true there is nothing worse than a professor who doesn’t care. You are very privileged to have had such a wonderful leader. If only others would stop to take a minute to think of others; you’re right, it is so simple!

    Posted by: Andrea Spencer | June 18, 2007
  2. Amazing piece of writing and a classic college professor story. My vote goes for this one.

    Posted by: Sean Baltazar | June 18, 2007
  3. I like this one!

    Posted by: Comaby | June 18, 2007
  4. This one is great. Very interesting and realtable to most interns.

    Posted by: Mark Messing | June 18, 2007
  5. Cassie you did an awesome job and I can relate to your story! My vote is for this one!

    Posted by: Erin McCormack | June 18, 2007
  6. As a fellow classmate during the course of this madness, it’s hard to grasp the chaos that we all endured during this class. Great job Cassie! An explanation well done. Professor Feinberg has provided us with amazing tools to become those individuals that WOW others. I’ve been touched. We all have.

    Posted by: Andrew Abeto | June 18, 2007
  7. Very well written and a great story. My vote goes to Cassie!

    Posted by: Kelly Repoz | June 18, 2007
  8. My vote goes to this one. I really enjoyed the story because it reminded me of professors I have had that strive to show how simple great leadership really is.

    Posted by: Holly Diehl | June 18, 2007
  9. Shows how much caring for someone makes a huge difference! Great writing!

    Posted by: Jamie Chai | June 18, 2007
  10. Great story!

    Posted by: Andrew Estigoy | June 18, 2007
  11. I like this one!

    Posted by: Rachele Steck | June 18, 2007
  12. My vote goes to this one. Great entry!

    Posted by: Brittany Miller | June 18, 2007
  13. This is a great story! Thank you very much for sharing with us such an inspirational person. My vote goes to you!

    Posted by: Kriste | June 18, 2007
  14. AWESOME!!!!! Love it!!

    Posted by: Huda Kattan | June 18, 2007
  15. I’m throwing my hat in the ring with someone who recognizes the value of this lesson. But, I have one question, Cassie: To which group did you subscribe? Were you one of the leaders? Or did you support one of the leaders trying to make the class worthwhile? Based on the “our” statements throughout, I’m assuming you’re not one who walked out. ;-)
    Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us, Cassie!

    Posted by: Christy | June 18, 2007
  16. Good story Bixler! Nice example of the quality education we get in West Lafayette.

    Posted by: Steve Ramey | June 18, 2007
  17. A GREAT story, well written, and relates with everyone. I hope your next story is as impressive as this one because I am looking forward to reading it.

    Posted by: Calvin Bushor | June 18, 2007
  18. This is a great and extremely well written story! You definitely have my vote.

    Posted by: David Barnes | June 18, 2007
  19. Great post. Good work.

    Posted by: Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner | June 18, 2007
  20. I vote for this one.

    Posted by: Jordan Ulfig | June 18, 2007
  21. This story has changed my entire outlook on life and I may just read it again for some great encouragment!! My vote goes to this one and it should win.

    Posted by: Nick Rem | June 18, 2007
  22. Awesome!

    Posted by: Bethany Bol | June 18, 2007
  23. My vote is for this one!!

    Posted by: Jacob Probe | June 18, 2007
  24. Love this one! Nice work, Cassie!

    Posted by: Kelly L | June 18, 2007
  25. Great professors are really hard to come by (as I recall…) thanks for sharing your experience!

    Posted by: Kate | June 18, 2007
  26. I like the creativity. He definitely will be memorable.

    Posted by: Chris Yurgens | June 18, 2007
  27. you got my vote

    Posted by: Bill Gibbons | June 18, 2007
  28. I like it!!! You have my vote :)

    Posted by: Jen Z | June 18, 2007
  29. this gets my vote.

    Posted by: mike | June 18, 2007
  30. you get my vote

    Posted by: stu | June 18, 2007
  31. Great stuff….people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!

    Posted by: Jim Woodworth | June 18, 2007
  32. Again… just awesome!

    Posted by: J.R. Le Mon | June 18, 2007
  33. Wonderful story! This is great!!!!!

    Posted by: Heather Barber | June 18, 2007
  34. I vote for Cassie!

    Posted by: Martha Richards | June 18, 2007
  35. I really enjoyed your story Cassie. It reminds me of some of the influential teachers I had when I was in school…

    Posted by: Eric Lomori | June 18, 2007
  36. Cassie,
    This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing “your Diff” story with us. The obersvations that you shared with us, truly makes you stand out as a great current and future leader.

    Posted by: Robin Althaver | June 18, 2007
  37. Great story Cassie!! Nice examples of Great leadership skills!!

    Posted by: Tony Vrana | June 18, 2007
  38. This is the one!!!

    Posted by: Ian Campbell | June 18, 2007
  39. Love it!

    Posted by: Jeanette Christe | June 18, 2007
  40. This was a great story…thank you for sharing it Cassie, it was very well written, interesting and sent a good message!

    Posted by: Michelle Roach | June 18, 2007
  41. My vote goes to Cassie. This entry is very well written and I’m sure hits home for a lot of the interns. We’ve all had classes where we didn’t know what was going on. Leadership that cares really makes “The Diff”.

    Posted by: Stan Osdras | June 18, 2007
  42. Fantastic story. I’d love to have a prof like him!

    Posted by: Steve McKinney | June 18, 2007
  43. Great story Bixler!

    Posted by: Shannon O'Harris | June 18, 2007
  44. Love it! Put my vote for this one.

    Posted by: Jacque | June 18, 2007
  45. Nice work, girl. Love your writing style and great story.

    Posted by: Marni Raitt | June 18, 2007
  46. Great Job Cassie!

    Posted by: joe kustra | June 18, 2007
  47. This one should definitely win!

    Posted by: Melinda | June 18, 2007
  48. Awesome Story, We all have someone in our life who has helped give us direction. You have my vote

    Posted by: Jennifer Burke | June 18, 2007
  49. Awesome story!!!
    You get my vote

    Posted by: David H | June 18, 2007
  50. Great story!!!

    Posted by: Lynda M | June 18, 2007
  51. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This has my vote.

    Posted by: Brian | June 18, 2007
  52. Thanks for sharing the story of the “simplicity of great leadership” with us!

    Posted by: Chris Klau | June 18, 2007
  53. Great story Cassie. You have my vote!

    Posted by: Kyle | June 18, 2007
  54. great post! good narrative example of the care given by a professor. Cassie, you are awesome.

    Posted by: Bobby | June 18, 2007
  55. I love it!! This is the shiznit!!

    Posted by: Jennifer | June 18, 2007
  56. This story is great! Amazing Job Cassie!

    Posted by: Maria | June 18, 2007
  57. Great job Cassie! This is an amazing well written story.

    Posted by: Maria | June 18, 2007
  58. Great story, easy to relate to. One more vote from me.

    Posted by: Josh | June 18, 2007
  59. Fantastic Job Cassie!

    Posted by: Chris Vargo | June 18, 2007
  60. That was a great story. Awesome job Cassie

    Posted by: Will | June 18, 2007
  61. WOW…Big time!

    Posted by: Brad | June 19, 2007
  62. You’ve got my vote :-)

    Posted by: B. Lovy | June 19, 2007
  63. It is great to experience various forms of leadership and wonderful that you recognized it.
    This is a nice tribute!

    Posted by: Khalida Jarbou | June 19, 2007
  64. This one is the most relavent post! It is the diff

    Posted by: Trevor Frauhiger | June 19, 2007
  65. LOVE it!! Good job and good luck Cassie!!

    Posted by: Lindsay Hoffman | June 19, 2007
  66. I took this class, and Cassie speaks the diff! Got my vote!

    Posted by: Rory | June 19, 2007
  67. Great story, by far my favorite.

    Posted by: Rachel | June 19, 2007
  68. Cassie i can’t believe how cool you are. i wanna be you. great blog. keep up the good work.

    Posted by: Julian | June 19, 2007
  69. What a great case of leading by example instead of a lot of hot air. Lovely writing style.

    Posted by: VeeDub | June 20, 2007

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018