Wilson in Washington: President Bill Clinton’s Leadership Lessons for Entrepreneurs

In the process of creating any meaningful venture, startup, project or business, entrepreneurs would need to possess the strength of character and leadership to lead their teams to produce more meaningful wealth and benefits to the society. At the conclusion of Wilson Beh’s experience at the Clinton Global Initiative in the USA,’s resident columnist shares about President Bill Clinton’s main points on leadership that can be learnt and applied for entrepreneurs.

The 2nd day of CGIU 2012 was closed by President Clinton and Jon Stewart as they had a candid discussion and addressed questions directly from CGI U students on a wide range of topics.

I remember a young single mother asked President Clinton: “How to be not obstructed by the past, fear and move forward in times of difficulties and uncertainties?

He told a story which ended with the loudest applause from the highly inspired audience. And his words touched deeply for me to remember forever.

Mandela made a grand, elegant, dignified exit from prison and it was very, very powerful for the world to see. But as I watched him walking down that dusty road, I wondered whether he was thinking about the last 27 years, whether he was angry all over again.”  It was a time when Chelsea was still a little kid.

“Later, many years later, I had a chance to ask him. I said, ‘Come on, you were a great man, you invited your jailers to your inauguration, you put your pressures on the government. But tell me the truth. Weren’t you really angry all over again?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I was angry. And I was a little afraid. After all I’ve not been free in so long. But,’ he said, ‘when I felt that anger well up inside of me I realized that if I hated them after I got outside that gate then they would still have me.’ And he smiled and said, ‘I wanted to be free so I let it go.’ It was an astonishing moment in my life. It changed me.

2nd day of CGIU 2012 ended with a blast. The young leaders enjoyed networking dinner with live music at the Smith Center of George Washington University. Many formed a friendships built to work on social cause and while a couple of delegates dancing gracefully in the music, I couldn’t help but smile and told myself: “When you found the same-minded individuals, you know that there are many people out there, like us, believing that our actions can change the society to be a little better, and the belief itself can make a difference.”


Special Thanks and Credit to Wilson Beh, our reader from USM, Penang.

Wilson Beh is a currently studying Finance in Washington D.C. as a Department of State’s scholar in the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. He interns at the World Bank Group and blogs actively at He is currently back in Malaysia to finish his studies in USM.