Davia Temin to Talk of Importance of Identifying, Living One’s Legacy

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Wall Street Women, Stiletto Network and The Board Game.

Davia Temin, Forbes columnist and president/CEO of the boutique management consultancy Temin and Company since 1997, is prominently featured in those and other books about highly influential businesswomen.

For the past four years, Trust Across America has named Temin one of America’s “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior.” The National Council for Research on Women honored her as one of “30 Outstanding Women.” The Girl Scouts of New York presented her with its highest honor, the “Pinnacle Award for Leadership.”

“Pretty much I’m a real life Olivia Pope, and I also coach at the senior level,” Temin said. Pope is the fictional Washington, D.C.-based crisis manager whom actor Kerry Washington plays in “Scandal,” the American political thriller TV series on ABC that will be in its sixth season next year.

“I spend most of my time managing crises, creating reputations and coaching for leadership,” she said. “I’m going to apply the lessons I’ve learned.”

At 1 p.m. Monday at the Women’s Club, as part of the Chautauqua Professional Women’s Network series, Temin will speak about “Living Your Legacy Every Day, and Having Fun Doing It!” This will be her third CPWN talk since 2013.

Temin said this is one of her best talks ever.

“This one is about the essential. Branding is fun, but on the superficial end of it,” she said. “This is about essence, legacy and living a cohesive, purposed life day in and day out. There’s a reason The Purpose Driven Life is second in sales after the Bible.”

The song in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton — “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” — is for her emblematic of what legacy is about. She said everyone has been worried about it, from the ancient Romans to America’s founding fathers to its leaders in the 1950s and the present.

“It has nothing to do with money,” Temin said. “Rather it is about handcrafting the story you leave behind for the world.”

When coaching CEOs and boards of colleges and corporations, she wants to know what they stand for as leaders, what they want their organization to stand for, what they want to accomplish and how they will lead.

“I work with this a lot,” said Temin, who earned a master’s degree in psychology at Columbia University before heading marketing, strategy, external affairs and crisis management initiatives for several companies and Columbia Business School.

“I can’t tell you how many times companies lose their center,” she said. “This has been resonating in the corporate world.”

Monday, Temin will share coaching and social media tips and secrets so those who attend can begin to circle what their purpose is, what they want to be known for, what is synchronous with their core, what other people really think of them and how to tell their own story, making it both memorable and human and how to live on a daily basis.

“Day in and day out is where your reputation really comes from,” she said.

What Temin will share this afternoon applies equally to men and women.

“Just because we get older, doesn’t mean we give up on making a strong statement of who we are,” she said. “Today’s world is topsy-turvy. It’s important to know what you stand for and to identify what other people around you stand for.”

Having a clear vision of who you are and want to be does not mean you don’t adapt to changes and challenges, she said. The moral and ethical core identity of who you are does not change, however. Ask yourself, “How are you socially responsible for your own life?”

No matter your occupation, “you can be a light, a beacon,” Temin said. “This sounds like church, but it’s not. As we get more venal in some ways, it’s more critical that we do this. Because of social media, people can say all kinds of things. It’s almost as though, if I can say it — ‘I’m a guru,’ for instance — I am it. Have we ever been more in need of a moral center? Every single one of us can do it and be an inspiration to others.”

Last summer Temin spoke to the CPWN about resilience and bouncing back from life’s slings and arrows.

“What you stand for helps you with resilience,” she said. “It gives you a reason to come back.”

Temin said she will go deeper with Chautauquans than she has with other groups to whom she has spoken about living their legacy. She will guide them through the process of building their own credo.

In part she will ask: “What do you stand for? What would you go to the mat for? Who are you?”


The author Deborah Trefts

Deborah Trefts is a policy scientist with extensive United States, Canadian and additional international experience in conservation. She focuses on the resolution of ocean and freshwater-related challenges and the art and science of deciphering and developing public policy at all levels from global to local.