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7 Questions with Luke Delavergne
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7 Questions with Luke Delavergne
Name: Luke Delavergne
Current title: VP Regional Operations
Current organization: Bethany
Luke is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as a graduate from Harding University. Luke works as a VP of Regional Operations for Bethany, a global non-profit organization serving refugees, children, and families. Luke is married for 20 years to his high school sweetheart, Erica. They have two incredible children, Mayz (15) and Olive (12).
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Learning how to “level up.” With each promotion comes additional responsibility and, more importantly, the need to remove myself from staying in the weeds of my previous role. Maintaining focus on the larger vision of impacting 1 million individuals through our work at Bethany can be challenged by the day to day fires that emerge.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I began as a therapist, but quickly found joy in supervising others. In particular, I love instilling confidence in others to grow and lead others. I came to Bethany in 2014 as a Regional Director overseeing Tennessee. Since then, my role has expanded to serving teammates from 20 states along the Eastern half of the U.S.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up at 5:00am, walk or jog in our neighborhood, and prepare myself to begin the work day by 7:30am. I schedule nearly every 30 minutes of my day. In fact, I’ve found it helpful to block time in my calendar for breaks and lunch. I schedule meetings to check in with my individual team members throughout the week. I finish work remotely from my home typically at 5:30-6:00pm. I love cooking, so I usually make dinner and express my creative side in the kitchen. I am frequently transporting my son to soccer or daughter to cheer practice during the week. My wife and I make an effort to eat dinner at the dinner table with our children at least 3-4x week. We spend time reading or watching our favorite show in bed before going to bed at 10:00pm.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I DON’T KNOW. Literally, that’s the answer to the best leadership lesson I’ve learned. In my early years of leadership, I felt compelled to have answers and solutions. Ultimately, mistakes are made and team members are disempowered when I pretend to have all the answers, so I began practicing humility by catching myself before sharing an answer to a question. I frequently say “that’s a good question. I don’t have the answer right now, but let’s see if we can discover it together.”
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The COACH Model by Keith Webb. This book helps leaders learn how to empower their team members through powerful open-ended questions rather than directing them with solutions and answers. This has been a game changer for my leadership style. If I’m not empowering others, I’m not leading well.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Being relational has been the most effective manner of growing into leadership roles. Asking senior leaders what is needed for you to grow is important, a few years ago, I was not chosen for a promotion. I felt hurt and rejected, despite the other chosen leader being well qualified. I asked the hiring team directly “what can I do to position myself better for future growth opportunities.” Their feedback was highly valuable and I let them know that growing in influence was important to me.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Becoming relational and actively involved with a branch dealing with a high level of staff tension was a significant moment in my leadership journey. I worked with our HR leaders, branch leaders, and staff members to rebuild a culture of grace and forgiveness.