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Dr. Randal Pinkett speaks to the first class of Brody School of Medicine Leadership Fellows at the Greenville Hilton on Thursday. Photo by Cliff Hollis
Apprentice winner holds class in Greenville
GREENVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 7, 2009) — Successful entrepreneur and winner of the TV reality show "The Apprentice," Dr. Randal Pinkett, challenged Brody School of Medicine leadership fellows Thursday to consider the legacy they will leave.
Pinkett, a Rhodes Scholar, author and founder of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm, spoke at a student leadership summit held at the Greenville Hilton on Dec. 3.
The first 13 fellows in Brody’s inaugural leadership group have been participating in monthly presentations by physicians and community leaders through a grant from ECU's BB&T Leadership Enhancement Fund. Students will serve as mentors for next year’s incoming fellows and by their final year will complete a leadership project.
"Medical students naturally are looked at as leaders. We are giving them the background in how to do that," said Dr. Roytesa Savage, associate professor of pediatrics, who co-wrote the grant with Dr. Charles Willson, clinical professor of pediatrics, to start the leadership fellows program.
Pinkett began his remarks with a question for his audience: "Is success the standard or is greatness the goal?"
He said he takes for granted that Brody students are successful, because they are in medical school. They are better credentialed than generations before them. But he asked them to look deeper.
"People talk a lot about success but not so much about greatness," Pinkett said. "Success is finite. Greatness is limitless, a lifelong journey. I think of leadership when I think of greatness."
The pathway to greatness for leaders includes a sense of self-determination, ability to demonstrate excellence, finding their passion, understanding and working with their unique God-given gifts, and committing to make a difference in society, he said.
"You no longer confuse what you do with who you are," Pinkett said. "A title, job or degree isn’t what defines us. It doesn’t make you better than anybody else. What you do reflects your work as a physician, but who you are is someone who has the capabilities to be a blessing to someone else."
Throughout his talk, Pinkett highlighted people who had overcome personal struggles to go on to greatness and give back to others, from Dr. Ben Carson to President Barack Obama.
Going on Donald Trump’s show was his wife’s idea. He said it was a great experience, providing him with many opportunities.
When asked about his own legacy, Pinkett said he will start a Friends and Family Foundation to help people with great business ideas get the money they need to make their dream a reality. He said the biggest hurdle he faced in starting his own company was not having start-up money. Bank after bank told him he would have to go to his friends and family for assistance. The problem: None of them had any money either, he said.
Other speakers for the summit included Dr. Ronald Levine, former state health director; Dr. Elizabeth Kanof of the N.C. Medical Society; and Dr. Cassandra Acheampong, counselor in the Brody School of Medicine’s Academic Support and Enrichment Services. Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean, provided opening remarks.
For more information on Pinkett, visit his Web site at
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