Allen Brinkman has a history of success and a bright outlook for the future. After graduating from Columbus University and UGA, Brinkman went on to become the Chairman, President, and CEO of SunTrust Bank in Tampa (and SW Florida), and the former CEO of Wachovia Bank in Central, FL. In addition to his 20+ years of experience in the commercial banking industry, Brinkman is also active in Tampa’s philanthropic community. He has served as a board member for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Council, Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay, Boy Scouts of America, MacDill Air Force Base, Junior League of Tampa, and the American Heart Association, to name a few.
While his success can be attributed to hard work and determination, Brinkman believes it’s his interpersonal skills that have led him to where he is today. These “soft” skills are actually not soft at all, but rather a core component of leadership. Skills of emotional intelligence are not gender-specific and can be learned at any age. Brinkman credits the development of his inner leadership to both his personal and professional success as a parent, spouse, friend, colleague, and business leader.
Brinkman believes that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, and about 27,000 life-altering decisions a day. If that’s not enough, factor in the point that we are emotional beings before we are rational beings. For this reason, it is important to understand the inner workings of our minds and to manage our emotions appropriately. According to Brinkman, there are 5 skills we can master that can change our lives:
- Self-awareness: knowing yourself
- Social awareness: reading others
- Self-management: maintaining control
- Responsible decision making: perceiving accurately
- Communication and conflict resolution: communicate with flexibility
Sure enough, these skills correspond with those that comprise Social and Emotional Learning. Allen Brinkman is a living example of what can happen when you spend time learning and mastering your “soft” skills.
Brinkman’s Work With Frameworks
Not only does Brinkman’s theory agree with the Frameworks’ ideology, but it also transforms these ideas into practical application. Brinkman promotes the idea that we must know ourselves and our goals in order to start the path towards success. Once we have achieved emotional balance in our lives, we can then move on to other areas of intellect. When speaking to the volunteers of the Teens In Action program in September 2011, Brinkman said:
“We want to enrich the lives of youth through new knowledge and skills. As an employer, I see the need and while it seems intuitive, the research suggests that we have to be actively engaged in sharing this information regularly and in real-life situations so that we can both model and teach emotional intelligence right along with scholastic intellect.”
Brinkman’s attitude towards social and emotional skills furthers the idea that these skills can be learned and improved over time. Emotional intelligence is not learned once and forgotten, but rather a lifelong habit that should be practiced on a regular basis.