Black Hawk Down hero defines what it means to be a leader

By Drew Drohan
Staff writer

Former Army Ranger Matt Eversmann expressed what makes a leader in business and life during his lecture Tuesday night at the University of West Florida’s College of Business. 

The one-hour discussion organized by the Executive Mentor Program drew on Eversmann’s involvement in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, from firefights to how to deal with leading fellow soldiers into combat. He explained how these events shaped his career and life today.

“For me, it’s being comfortable in uncomfortable situations that has helped me, regardless if it was a military operation or business venture,” Eversmann said. “We need strong young men and women who can thrive in these situations.”  

A pre-speech video used clips from the 2001 film Black Hawk Down that portrayed Eversmann’s heroics in Operation Gothic Serpent. The Dean of the College of Business, Tim O’Keef, introduced Eversmann at the start of the lecture.

Matt Eversmann addresses the full-capacity classroom. (Photo by Drew Drohan)

“Please welcome a true American hero who I hope can, even in a small amount, provide inspiration to each of you tonight,” O’Keef said.   

The filled conference room watched on as he recalled in detailed his actions in Somalia.

“His words were really powerful for someone like me who’s from a military family,” UWF business student Alex Bourdon said. “Anyone who has a chance should definitely see him speak.”

Even if what’s at stake between the business and military world cannot be compared, Eversmann explained that the goals are still quite similar. He advised future business grads to always stay alert and prepared in their careers.

“The next strategic shocking event can hit you out of nowhere, on the battlefield or in your career,” Eversmann said. “How will you deal with it?”  

A Q&A following the lecture allowed attendees and students to ask the speaker his opinion on certain issues, such as what qualities define a leader. Eversmann answered with what he says he’s always believed.

“What it essentially comes down to, honestly, is just being a good man or woman,” Eversmann said. “Take action and initiative and be a leader.”  

Matt Eversmann with UWF’s ROTC Argo Battalion. (Photo by Drew Drohan)

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