New book tells the story of how Pope John Paul II’s influence forged a Swiss Guard into a CEO.
The Pope & The CEO
John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard
by Andreas Widmer
Foreword by George Weigel
“John Paul II showed me what real leadership looks like. He modeled for me how to pursue our God-given potential. Not coincidentally, this also makes us and those around us better employees, more capable of and more willing to work hard at building a stronger company. That’s something that makes both good human sense and good business sense.”
– Andreas Widmer
Former Swiss Guard, CEO and business leader Andreas Widmer gives a behind-the-scenes look into Pope John Paul II, “the most authentically human person I’ve ever met,” and reveals how those memories shaped and forged his success as a corporate executive. In what papal biographer George Weigel calls “a powerful example of leadership at work,” Widmer recounts his personal experiences serving Blessed Pope John Paul II in the Swiss Guard, and the secrets of successful leadership that he learned at the feet of the great pope.
“John Paul’s influence made me understand that business and faith go together. The free market and Christianity are not opposed to each other but business can be a wonderful school of virtue and faith. Faith and virtue, on the other hand, make a business and the economy truly prosperous. The late pope is a great inspiration and example for business leaders and CEOs. He is for me and I hope he will be for you as well.”
“Andreas Widmer has given us a true gift by sharing his first hand experience of Pope JPII’s personal habits so that we can incorporate these in our own leadership journey,” says Dr. Carolyn Woo, Dean of the Business School at Notre Dame.
This up-close look at the pope’s influence raises the bar for leadership to new heights. Christian executives, CEOs, entrepreneurs, small business owners—anyone who wants to avoid mediocrity—will find the lessons Widmer learned and imparts both inspirational and practical.
Peter Cardinal Turkson comments that this book is “an excellent tribute to the memory of [Pope John Paul II] and a commendable guide to successful entrepreneurship.”
Widmer learned from the pope that moral leadership doesn’t just make a difference for the leaders themselves, but makes a difference for their companies, customers, and teams. Companies, led by a strong, moral leader, says Widmer, also have a proven track record of performing better in the long run.
“Andreas’ insights from daily life with a great man like John Paul II drives home the point that business decisions can be made from purely human motives OR with God’s inspiration for us and for our work. The anecdotes and insights make The Pope & The CEO a worthwhile read,” says Claire Huang, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The Pope & The CEO offers nine chapters of stories and reflections about John Paul II and practical applications connecting those teachings to the world of business, big or small, and to anyone wanting to lead a team of people in today’s world.
Published by Emmaus Road, this is a first of its kind look into the life of a Swiss Guard and what he learned from perhaps the greatest Christian of our time. Widmer’s observation of John Paul II, and his direct experience of the late pope’s approach to leadership, had a profound impact on the way he sees the centrality of human interaction: “When you were with the Holy Father, you felt like you were the reason he got up in the morning.”
John Paul II’s witness to the reality of God’s grace in the life of man so inspired and touched the life of one Swiss guard, that when the latter became an entrepreneur and a CEO, he set himself to emulate the virtues of leadership of the Pope. In this book, the Swiss-Guard-turned-CEO gives a personal witness to the successful application of the Pope’s leadership virtues and offers the same to other CEOs and all of his readers. The book is thus an excellent tribute to the memory of the Pope and a commendable guide to successful entrepreneurship.” — Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
“Andreas Widmer gives us a true gift by sharing his firsthand experience of Pope JPII’s personal habits so that we can incorporate these in our own leadership journey. By making the Pope accessible and by appropriating the Pope’s demeanor into his own personal and work lives, Andreas gives us a role model who is truly worthy of the word; he shows us that it is possible to achieve the sanctity of leadership even in the context of business.” — Carolyn Y. Woo, Dean, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame; newly named President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services
” Andreas Widmer is an honest man, a good man, and an insightful man. His reflections on what he learned from perhaps the greatest Christian of our time offer all of us a powerful example of leadership at work.” — George Weigel, Pope John Paul II’s Biographer, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center
“What we find in Andreas Widmer’s book is the fruit, both of his own disciplined and [shrewdly perceptive] scrutiny of his life, and of the influence on that life of the years he spent, not only in close proximity to Blessed John Paul ll, but in what turned out to be a close friendship. It is a story suffused with the luminescence of wisdom and holiness.” — Thomas Howard, Author
“Andreas Widmer has produced an excellent management tool for those of us who believe the teachings of the Church will enlighten our path and guide us to succeed in every endeavor.
John Paul II’s relentless defense of freedom helped shape the XX Century. He was a living example of what can happen when the virtues of faith, hope and love merge with wisdom, a positive attitude and strategic thinking.
From the C-Suite of large corporations to the day-to- day small entrepreneur, the lessons of The Pope & The CEO are right on target.” — Juan J. Daboub, Ph.D. , Former Managing Director of the World Bank and Former Minister of Finance of El Salvador, entrepenuer and businessman. He is the Founding CEO of the Global Adaptation Institute.
“A captivating book filled with many memorable images of Blessed John Paul II, as well as countless practical pointers. A must-read for any executive seeking to do well and do good.” — Jo Tango, Kepha Partners
“In The Pope and the CEO, Andreas Widmer captures John Paul’s deep commitment to the human person and provides an engaging and insightful look at how this understanding of the human person is necessary for personal and professional flourishing. The book captures the essence of the tradition and teachings on the human person and the good life, and provides compelling and clear guidelines for applying these ideas to current business and professional challenges.” — Anna Halpine, Founder of the World Youth Alliance
See the Swiss Guard in action.
Visit ThePopeandTheCEO.com website for more information, chapter summaries, excercises, links to additional resources and as well as Andreas Widmer’s excellent blog.
About the author:
Andreas Widmer is a former Swiss Guard, an entrepreneur, and the co-founder of the SEVEN Fund, a philanthropic organization which promotes enterprise solutions to poverty. Widmer is a dedicated husband and father. He blogs daily at www.faithandprosperity.com.