From Crisis to Calling

Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions

Sasha Chanoff (Author) | David Chanoff (Author) | David Gergen (Foreword by)

Publication date: 05/09/2016

From Crisis to Calling

We are often confronted with choices where morality and pragmatism seem to be at odds. In these situations leaders are supposed to go with pragmatism—making “tough calls.” But Sasha Chanoff became a better leader—and saved lives—when he chose empathy and altruism. Through his extraordinary story and the stories of other brave leaders, this book inspires everyone to be guided by his or her deepest moral values.

All leaders face defining moments, crises that reveal their true character. Here, Sasha and his father, David, expand on Sasha’s defining moment, recounted on The Moth podcast as “An Impossible Choice.” Working in the violence-torn Congo, he was charged with evacuating a specific group of refugees. Then he and his colleague discovered a group of widows and orphans not on the rescue list. Leaving them behind would mean their deaths. Attempting to take them would jeopardize the entire mission.

From Crisis to Calling puts you with Sasha as he agonizes over what to do, revealing five principles for confronting critical decisions that emerged from this experience. The book tells the stories of eight other leaders—from business, government, the military, and nonprofits—who stayed true to their own moral values in the face of enormous pressure. They illustrate the power and fulfillment that come from investing your work with compassion, empathy, and an awareness of others.

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We are often confronted with choices where morality and pragmatism seem to be at odds. In these situations leaders are supposed to go with pragmatism—making “tough calls.” But Sasha Chanoff became a better leader—and saved lives—when he chose empathy and altruism. Through his extraordinary story and the stories of other brave leaders, this book inspires everyone to be guided by his or her deepest moral values.

All leaders face defining moments, crises that reveal their true character. Here, Sasha and his father, David, expand on Sasha’s defining moment, recounted on The Moth podcast as “An Impossible Choice.” Working in the violence-torn Congo, he was charged with evacuating a specific group of refugees. Then he and his colleague discovered a group of widows and orphans not on the rescue list. Leaving them behind would mean their deaths. Attempting to take them would jeopardize the entire mission.

From Crisis to Calling puts you with Sasha as he agonizes over what to do, revealing five principles for confronting critical decisions that emerged from this experience. The book tells the stories of eight other leaders—from business, government, the military, and nonprofits—who stayed true to their own moral values in the face of enormous pressure. They illustrate the power and fulfillment that come from investing your work with compassion, empathy, and an awareness of others.

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Meet the Authors & Other Product Contributors

Visit Author Page - Sasha Chanoff

Sasha Chanoff is founder and executive director of RefugePoint, a nongovernmental organization that finds lasting solutions for refugees. He is the winner of the Charles Bronfman Prize and the Gleitsman International Activist Award, given by the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. Sasha is a fellow and grantee of Ashoka, Echoing Green, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and other organizations sponsoring social justice and humanitarianism.

Visit Author Page - David Chanoff

David Chanoff, PhD, has written on literary history, foreign policy, refugee issues, education, religion, and other subjects for publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, American Scholar, and Journal of American Education. He has authored or coauthored eighteen books, including several on the Vietnam War and the Holocaust.

Foreword by David Gergen

David Gergen is a CNN Senior Political Analyst and has worked as an adviser to four U.S. Presidents. He is also the co-director for Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: The Five-Step Pathway to Moral Decision Making
Part One: The Congo Rescue Story
1. Be Prepared: Confronting the Unexpected Dilemma
2. Your Values in the Balance: Opening Your Eyes, Confronting Yourself, Knowing Yourself
3. Take Courage: Making the Decision, Implementing It
Part Two: The Moral Decision Pathway
4. Empathy: Where the Moral Sense Comes From
5. Self-Knowledge: How Self-Knowledge Impacts Leadership and Organizations
6. Calling: How Crises Lead to Callings
A Final Word

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From Crisis to Calling




Confronting the Unexpected Dilemma

Sasha’s story begins here, on his and Sheikha’s first day in the Congo. They had been to the US embassy and to the Congolese so-called Ministry of Human Rights, which was anything but. At the day’s end they met with representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and with officials from other nations supporting the Tutsi rescue operation—the “contact group.” They made it clear they would only be taking the 112 people on the list and no one else. Sasha begins by describing what happened then.

I was just finishing my briefing when the man from the International Committee for the Red Cross stood up. “I understand what you said.” His voice had an edge to it. “You’re only going to take the people on your list. You say you don’t have permission for anyone else and you say you don’t have any extra seats on the plane. But now there’s a new group of people you have to take. Yesterday we brought thirty-two widows and orphans into the protection center from one of the execution prisons. They were there for sixteen months. All the adult males were killed. None of these women and children will last another week. You must put them on this flight.”

David Derthick, our boss, had warned me about the contact group players. “They’re all going to have people they’ll want you to take out,” he said. “They’ll pressure you to do it. Don’t take them! Just go in, tell them what the plan is and stop there. If you let anyone outside the list on that plane, you’ll kill the whole mission. The Congolese will flood you with fraudulent cases and you won’t have any way of saying no. The whole thing will implode and you’ll lose everybody. They’ll kill everyone who’s left. You tell them. Just the list. No one else.”

The ICRC man was still standing. “Unfortunately,” I told him, “the flight is completely full. We don’t have any more room on the plane. We simply are not able to take further cases. The list is closed. This evacuation is closed.” But as I spoke, my eyes met Sheikha’s. Widows and orphans, right out of a death camp. We never expected anything like this. What were we supposed to do now?

At seven the next morning, a beat-up black compact was waiting at the curb outside our hotel. Sheikha knew the driver, a short, fat man with a furtive look. He had worked for Sheikha and David during the earlier evacuations. We had also hired three other drivers to be on call for Immigration Department or Ministry of Human Rights officials we might need to ferry around for one reason or another. On the previous missions, if David or Sheikha needed an official’s presence or documents delivered, or if there was an offsite meeting, people often claimed they didn’t have cars—or if they did, the cars had no gas or had broken down. A money present would fix any of that, but the delays had made life difficult. We figured that if we hired cars we’d have fewer problems.

The protection center was an hour’s drive from downtown Kinshasa. We drove through a sleepy suburban area that looked upscale, with nice houses and gated yards. Kinshasa itself was so tense it felt like it might explode at any moment. But the neighborhoods out here seemed peaceful. A few people were leisurely strolling on the streets, small shops were opening, the owners setting up display stands for their goods.

We pulled off the main road onto a street bordered by walled compounds. In front of us were massive black double doors set in a high wall topped by jagged glass shards jutting into the air. Sheikha gave a little nod. “This is it, the protection center.” Guards with AK-47s stopped us. One of them peered into the car, then swung the doors open, and we drove through.

The walls surrounded an area that looked to be about two acres. A large gray building sat in the middle with tents set up around it. A lot of people were milling around, more than I expected. Many more than the 112 on our list. They were watching us; a car with visitors meant something. As we drove slowly toward the building, faces appeared at the car windows, staring in. Then somebody shouted, “Sheikha!”

It was as if an electric shock swept through the compound. People were suddenly streaming toward us, and in moments the car was surrounded. People were shouting, “Sheikha! Sheikha!” which quickly turned into a chant: “Sheikha Sheikha Sheikha Sheikha!” They were jostling the car, faces pressed close to get a look. I tried to keep my head down. I wanted to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, which was a crazy thought. With only Sheikha and me in the back seat, I was drawing as many stares as she was.

Before we left, David had told me that people would be overwhelmed when they saw us. “They’ll be so happy to see you, they’ll be crying,” he said. “They won’t be able to control themselves. It’s going to be rough, so you better prepare yourself. Most of them are sure they’re going to die there.”

I thought I was prepared, but not for this mob of deliriously excited people. Sheikha had spent many months in this center, interviewing and screening people for the earlier evacuations. Many knew her from then, and those who didn’t seemed to have instantly understood who she was and what she must be here for. Sheikha’s arrival was the absolute best news they could possibly have. No one in the compound knew that another evacuation was planned. As far as they could tell, they were in limbo, expecting sooner or later to die—probably sooner—and sure they would never see their loved ones again. But suddenly, here was Sheikha, their hope. A straw they could grasp on to. Sheikha meant another evacuation flight must be happening. Sheikha had come back to save them.

Most of these people weren’t going anywhere, though they didn’t know it yet. They were going to find out soon enough: as soon as we registered the 112 and not them. Then what? When we drove in, I had seen police around, but only a few. Nowhere near enough to control this big a crowd. How this might work out was anybody’s guess.

The car stopped. We were surrounded by chanting people and couldn’t move. We managed to shove the doors open and get out as a couple of police tried to clear a little space. People seemed almost out of their minds to see Sheikha. They were smiling, laughing, shaking her hands, reaching out to pat her on the shoulder, trying to hug her. And Sheikha was smiling back, recognizing them, saying hello, as if she was genuinely happy to be back here.

We had to find a relatively private place where we could bring people in one at a time, or one family at a time, to interview them, record their information, and take their pictures. There were a couple of tables set up on a hill nearby, and we waded through the crowd in that direction. After climbing a few feet, I turned back around and scanned the faces, wondering if I could somehow spot the thirty-two women and orphans. Nobody stood out, except for a tall man in a fedora and sunglasses who was keeping off to one side. Unlike everyone else, he didn’t seem excited or happy about Sheikha’s arrival. He just stood there and watched, looking out of place and vaguely sinister. He seemed to be watching me as well as Sheikha. I wanted to say something to her, but people were still pressing around. Across the compound the guards were swinging the big doors closed and barring them. I turned away and headed up the little hill.

At the top, an ICRC person introduced himself. The International Committee for the Red Cross was in charge here. They were running the protection center, though they seemed to have only a few people. A couple of Congolese men in suits were sitting at the tables already, obviously officials, I assumed from the Ministry of Human Rights, which, given their history of corruption and abuse, was a name right out of George Orwell. I wasn’t clear on what they were doing here, but Sheikha hardly took notice of them so I didn’t either. Looking down at the crowd at the bottom of the hill, it seemed to me like four or five hundred people. By now they had quieted down. I took the list out of my bag and read the first names: a group of three, apparently single women as there was no notation of families. I asked one of the guards to find them and bring them up.

While we were waiting, I asked Sheikha where she thought the widows and orphans might be. Sheikha glanced over at the suits and gave me a quick look that said shut up. I kicked myself for being a little slow. These were our so-called helpers from the ministry, but they were really our minders.

The guard brought the three women to our table. I wondered what they had been through and why they were alone. What had happened to their families? But we didn’t have time to start asking people about their experiences. This was Sunday. Our chartered jet was coming on Thursday. We were going to have to get the basics quickly. Name, date of birth, gender, relatives in the center. Our list had only minimal information, but from my experience in similar situations I knew that when you start asking people questions you often find that even your basic information isn’t only incomplete, it’s wrong.

We verified the first three and I took their pictures. Next was a family of six: mother, father, four children, including an infant. The parents looked nervous and surprisingly healthy. Again I wondered.

After them came two men, a father and son. Our list said they had been split off from the rest of their family during the last evacuation. Before Sheikha could ask the first question, the father started questioning her. Did she know how his wife was doing in Cameroon, where the evacuees had been sent? What about his three daughters? Security had grabbed him and his son from the line as they were waiting to board the plane. Why had they done that? His wife had tried to hold on to him, his daughters were hysterical. The soldiers had torn them apart. All this just came flowing out. What had happened to his family? Did they know he and his son were alive? They probably thought they were kept back to be killed. Was there any way he could get a message to them to tell them they were okay?

He was talking so fast he was practically incoherent. Sheikha told him that we couldn’t get his wife a message now, but that he’d be seeing her and his daughters soon. Right now we had a lot of work to do and she needed to ask him some questions. The faster we could do that, the faster everything would go. She looked him in the eyes as she said this, and there was something about her that calmed him down. Her look said: Don’t worry. We’re going to get you out of here and reunited. Everything’s under control. You’re going to be fine.

The man took a deep breath and composed himself. Then he answered her questions. When I took him and his son aside for their photos, he said under his breath, “Please hurry. This is a dangerous place.”

As we called up more individuals and families for verification, I could feel the mood shifting in the crowd below. People were supposed to stay at the bottom of the hill, but some we hadn’t called found their way up to ask if they could be included. If not, when was the next flight going to be? Could we register them for that one? We didn’t say anything. Not about this flight or any other flights. If their names were on the list we’d been given, we would interview them. About future flights, there might be one but we didn’t know. We were sorry, we simply had no information.

While this was going on, Sheikha looked calm, unruffled. I tried hard to look the same. But we both knew exactly what was going through people’s minds as they watched those called for interviews walk up the hill to our table. “That family is getting out,” they were thinking. “But what about me? What about my wife and my children?”

As more people came up and asked the same questions, we could feel the tension building. One young man looked straight at me and said, “What do you think is going to happen to me if you don’t take me out? They’re going to kill me.” He had a long face, wide eyes, fine features—the stereotypical Tutsi look. He wasn’t hysterical. His tone was calm and measured. He was quietly pleading for his life. “You know what’s going to happen to me? You need to take me out of here.”

An hour or two into the process I walked down the hill to the gray building to go to the bathroom. As I was coming back I was suddenly surrounded by four young men. They were too close, right in my face. I tensed up and looked around for the police. But they were all smiling. One of them said, “We’re El Memeyi’s nephews. Do you know him? Do you know anything about him?”

El Memeyi was one of the Tutsi leaders. He had been on an earlier evacuation that had gone to a UN refugee camp in Benin. I had met him there when I was preparing people from that evacuation for resettlement in the United States.

“Oh, my God,” I said. “I was just with El Memeyi in Benin a little while ago.”

Their eyes lit up. “Really? What’s happening with him? How is he? Tell us about him.”

“He’s fine. He and some of your other relatives will be going to the United States soon. They’re worried about you. When they heard you didn’t make it onto the last flight they didn’t know what to think.”

I was about to tell them more—I was excited to see them and wanted to fill them in about Benin. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the tall man in the fedora and sunglasses was moving closer to us, obviously trying to catch what I was saying. I quickly cut off the conversation. “Everything’s fine with them, don’t worry.” The guy in the fedora gave me the creeps. I was getting a definite sense of menace from him. “Maybe we can talk later,” I said to the nephews.

Up at the tables Sheikha was by herself. Our minders had gone off for their own break. I gestured down the hill. “That guy in the hat and sunglasses, with the ratty sport jacket. Do you see him? Do you know anything about him?”

Sheikha looked. “That bastard is going to burn in hell,” she said. “He’s Interahamwe.”

I was shocked, not just by what Sheikha said but by how she said it. I had never heard her curse before.

“When they took the 112 off the buses last time, that bastard was gloating about it.”

Interahamwe! I took a moment to process what it meant that we had an Interahamwe here. Interahamwe were the Hutu Power paramilitaries who carried out the Rwandan genocide. They were mass murderers. They had had plenty of help, but they were at the heart of it. When they were finally driven out of Rwanda, they reorganized in the Congo, planning to go back into Rwanda to finish what they had started. It was their presence in eastern Congo that started the giant conflagration currently tearing the country to pieces. It made me feel dirty just having one of those people here, like being in the same space with a Nazi SS officer.

Sheikha had spent so much time at the center that she knew the place inside out. People had told her about this person and about others like him. He wasn’t the only bad guy who had been placed among the Tutsi refugees. They were there to do whatever damage they could—to sabotage the evacuations or spy for the Congolese security forces. Or maybe worse. Refugee camps are dangerous places. Refugees come from places in conflict, and often the conflict follows them in the form of assassins who want revenge or to permanently silence witnesses. The Hutu/Tutsi killing didn’t spare people just because they happened to be in some supposedly protected camp, and this center was a shaky place with just a handful of guards, drawn from a regime that hated Tutsis.

The whole thing was a giant paradox. The Congo regime was slaughtering Tutsis right and left, but at the same time was being forced to help save at least some of them by allowing this protection center to operate.

What had shut down IOM’s rescue missions was that the Congo’s strongmen had seen the huge financial potential of the evacuations. Their country was coming apart. Seven African nations had armies in the Congo fighting it out for the country’s vast mineral resources. Free flights out, along with potential US visas and future green cards, were worth a fortune to anybody able to pay. The intimidation and fraud had finally become too much for my boss, David Derthick, and he had told the Americans, the UN, and the ICRC that the International Organization for Migration couldn’t run any more flights. Sheikha and I were handling the ground operation for this final mission, while Davide Terzi, an IOM senior emergency management person, was trying to keep the Congolese big men in line.

That was why the Interaham we were here. They had been sent in by the regime to assassinate anyone on their hit list. I only knew one intended victim for sure: Jacob Batend, one of the 112 people on our list. We hadn’t registered Jacob yet; he was somewhere down there in the crowd. Jacob’s name had come up time and again. David Derthick had said that if we got only one person out it had to be him. Jacob was a lawyer, one of the leaders of the Congolese Tutsis from the southeast. A gentle man, he was widely admired and beloved by his people. Before the regime decided to cleanse the country of Tutsis, Jacob had worked for the government in the president’s office. When the terror started, he was in the crosshairs. Because he had been part of the government, he now had a price on his head. He was a Tutsi who knew too much.

Fortunately for Jacob Batend, his wife wasn’t Tutsi. She was from a tribe that was well-connected politically, so she and their young daughter were safe. Jacob went into hiding. Sheikha had spent time with him on her earlier missions at the center and knew many of the details of his story. He spent a year moving from one hideout to another, never staying in one place for more than a couple of weeks at a time. Jacob’s friends had hidden him, but people who harbored Tutsis were putting their lives and their families’ lives at risk. Children were curious about the man in the attic whom they had been told was there to fast and pray. They would wonder why they weren’t allowed to invite their friends over. Neighbors would become suspicious. After a while, the place would just become too dangerous and Jacob would have to move on.

Since Kinshasa was under curfew, Jacob could only be moved during the daytime. Buried under blankets and clothing in a sweltering car trunk, he had to wait until the children in the next safe house had gone to sleep. That often meant an entire day in stifling 140-degree heat.

After many months on the run, Jacob heard that his wife, who was pregnant when he fled, had given birth to another daughter. He also heard that his eldest brother had been killed along with his wife and their children, then that his second brother and his family had been killed. And that was only the beginning. His two sisters and their families, and many of his uncles, aunts, and cousins, were also among the dead. Jacob’s entire extended family was all but wiped out.

It was a year into the anti-Tutsi pogrom before the ICRC, the United States, and others brought enough pressure to force the Congolese to allow a protection center. Jacob Batend found his way there, where he was reunited with his wife and two little girls. He had been on the run for thirteen months. Once in the center, as weak as he was, he had taken the lead in helping and counseling other Tutsis, many of whom had suffered tragedies as terrible or even more terrible than his own.

Jacob and his family had been scheduled to be evacuated on David and Sheikha’s second mission, but at the last moment security held them back. On David’s final mission, they were scheduled again. This time they were allowed to board the buses for the airport. But that last evacuation had spiraled out of control. A Kinshasa newspaper was fed information that IOM was giving out free US visas. Thousands of people mobbed the Human Rights Ministry, where David and Sheikha had often been seen. David heard that people were offering bribes to government officials—houses, cars, and giant sums of money, anything to get themselves or their relatives onto the evacuation. The day before the departure date, Sheikha’s main black market money contact was arrested. The pressure was so great that another IOM officer who worked with David and Sheikha buckled under it and returned to Nairobi.

When the caravan with Jacob and his wife aboard arrived at the airport, the buses were surrounded by soldiers, police, and UN and US embassy staff. Jacob got off the bus with his family and walked toward the plane. Then immigration officers grabbed him and hustled him off.

I had heard this story from Sheikha, who had been devastated. She had cried bitterly when soldiers dragged him away from his wife and daughters. When she and David followed up to see what had happened, they were told that Jacob had been taken for interrogation and was about to be hauled off to an execution site when ICRC personnel succeeded in finding him and pressuring the soldiers to return him to the protection center. I wondered exactly how they had managed that particular feat.

As far as we knew, Jacob still had a price on his head. It was possible that the Interahamwe’s main goal in the protection center was to assassinate him.

That was only one reason we were keeping our mouths shut. We didn’t want news to spread about timing or anything else. The ministries had our schedule, but that didn’t mean the information had filtered out to the Interahamwe or any other sinister types who might have gotten into the compound. Knowing our deadlines might jolt them into action. If people with bad intentions knew when we were leaving, they could arrange for roadblocks. They could stop the buses and incite mobs to attack or arrange for some kind of militia ambush. Someone might bribe the bus company to suddenly find they had no buses available on the day we had ordered them. They could blackmail us with these or other threats. Political figures or power brokers could use the popular anti-Tutsi bloodlust to wreak havoc in a dozen ways. Unscrupulous types could sell information about when the flight was leaving along with promises to get people on it. The possibilities were endless, none of them good.

On previous evacuations, David and Sheikha’s hotel phones had been bugged. They had been followed. Their rooms and things had been searched. We anticipated that this was going to be happening to us as well. I expected that my email would be monitored. We assumed our drivers were being paid off by the government to listen in on our conversations. The situation made me think of the old joke—if you’re not paranoid, you must be crazy.

Jacob Batend was in the middle of our list. When we called him up, I watched to see if our ministry minders showed any signs of recognition. They didn’t. Jacob was a smallish man, five-foot-eight or so, very gaunt. He smiled and answered our questions in a soft voice. Despite their history with each other, neither he nor Sheikha gave any indication that this was anything more or less than any other interview. They hardly looked at each other. A few simple questions, a few simple answers. When I took him aside for a photograph I was thinking, this is him. This is the man we are meant to get out of here whatever happens. Then he was gone down the hill, back into the crowd.


It was late in the afternoon when Sheikha and I finished the interviews. We were physically exhausted from the heat and emotionally exhausted from the imploring eyes of the many hundreds who now understood that they would not be getting out. We had registered all 112, everyone we had been sent to take out.

As we were packing up, Francois, the ICRC official, motioned us aside. “I know what you announced at the meeting yesterday, that you’re only evacuating the ones who were left behind last time.” He glanced at the minders. “But what is this, that IOM will not consider these other people? These women and children we just brought in. Widows, orphans. They came straight from prison, a death camp. Have you seen them?”

He gestured toward a big tent pitched near the back end of the compound’s crumbling cement dormitory. “Please, they’re in there. Go. See them.”

Sheikha and I looked at each other. One day gone and we could already feel what was building up in this place. We had four or five hundred desperate people in front of us, only 112 of whom would be leaving for safety. All of them were Tutsis, many of them tall and thin with straight noses and narrow faces, features that were an automatic death sentence everywhere in this country but here.

Trying to get anyone else on the flight was out of the question, even assuming we could think of a way to finesse our minders or maybe find the right people to pay off. And many of those not on the list had been in the compound for a month or two already, after surviving who knew what horrors. The women and children in the tent had just arrived. How could we even think of putting them ahead of others who were here earlier and needed to get out just as badly? We were probably going to end up with a riot on our hands. Trying to take any of these new arrivals would be pouring gasoline on a fire.

“Listen,” Sheikha told Francois, “you know we can’t take anyone else. That’s all they’re allowing. We don’t have a way around it.”

“I understand,” he said. “All I want you to do is go and see them.”

I didn’t want to go. I knew what I was going to see if I did. Women and children who had been through hell. We had just interviewed a hundred-plus people who had been through hell. Seeing these people in the tent would only make things worse. There was nothing we could do for them.

“Anyway,” said Sheikha, “how did you find them, how did you know about them?”

“I’m not sure,” said Francois. “I heard there might have been a relationship between one of the teenage girls and some military person.”

“How was it that you didn’t find them before?”

“They were in Kananga. In a military prison. It was an execution center. You must see them.” He looked straight at Sheikha. “Go, go see them.”

“No,” she said. “I can’t.”

“Just see them. Go and look at them. They’re Tutsis. Women and children. If you leave them here, what will happen? You know what will happen.”

I could feel Sheikha’s agitation. She was beginning to tremble. “Sasha,” she said, “you stay here. I’m going to go.” This was just what David said would happen. This was why he wanted me to be in charge instead of Sheikha. Sheikha was a bleeding heart, he told me. It was her one flaw. And now I was going to have to deal with her and whatever she was going to think after she saw what was down there.

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In From Crisis to Calling, David and Sasha Chanoff use powerful and deeply personal stories of insight, courage, and moral courage to highlight the important role of moral courage in answering the type of call to action that many of us face...but sometimes ignore. The people whose stories are included in this short book answered that call courageously, dramatically illustrating the lessons of crisis and true leadership that the Chanoffs tell: be prepared for whatever you need to face, open your eyes to what is real, confront yourself including your fears, know yourself, and take courage even when there is risk involved. Not all of us will face the types of dangers that some of the people they interviewed faced--but we can all learn from the lessons that these stories give.

Sandra Waddock
Galligan Chair of Strategy
Professor of Management
Carroll School Scholar of Corporate Responsibility at Boston College

From this extremely readable book filled with the compelling stories of individuals who not only espoused but acted upon their values in times of trial, we can draw inspiration, insight and perhaps most importantly, a sense of hope and of possibility. We see that there can be paths of action at times when the choices seem untenable, and that more than courage, this sort of journey requires planning and rehearsal and honest conversations, both with our colleagues and with ourselves.

Mary C. Gentile, Author of Giving Voice To Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right

Sasha and David Chanoff have taken the by now widely accepted notion that moral leadership is necessary in order for organizations and businesses to succeed and provided a unique look at the psychological underpinnings of what that means. Equally interesting, they have illuminated the potential of embracing moral dilemmas to transform the lives of leaders, and indeed of everyone faced with critical decisions. The array of dramatic stories in this book is nested in the context of neuroscience, primatology, and sociology in prose that is elegant and a pure pleasure to read.

Louis Wade Sullivan, MD.
Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Founding Dean and President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine.

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