Former Mayor, Congressman Followed Tips to Find Success

Hal Daub
Luke Koesters
The Daily Record

Former Omaha mayor and congressmen Hal Daub was recently recognized with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

Early on, Daub knew he had a calling to be an attorney. Every Wednesday night, he would turn on his dad’s old Zenith tube TV to watch “Perry Mason” – long before graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1966.

“Our position may not be right,” Daub recalls Perry Mason saying, “but our position is more tenable than the opposition’s.”

Memories and moments like this one have stuck with Daub and have shaped him into who he is as a person. The three most prominent of these experiences – in no particular order – were his time as a Boy Scout, and eventually as an Eagle Scout, as well as his military service and his academic career experiences as an attorney and public official. 

These experiences piqued Daub’s interest because they involve bringing people together and provide the organizational challenges he sought out in his work.

Whether that be as infantry company commander during the Vietnam War, an attorney in the private sector or his time in Congress, where he was the minority for his entire eight years, his jobs have been about bringing people of different ideas together.

“For a while there I was kind of a leper,” Daub jokingly recalled as he remembers his time authoring the bill requiring members of Congress to pay Social Security.

The bill died when put to a vote before the Ways and Means Committee. However, it was later passed, and Daub found himself sitting on that committee – a feat he swore he would accomplish.

“That’s the kind of thing that gives credibility and restores confidence in the law-making process – when we don’t exempt ourselves,” Daub said.

Daub became well versed in the law-making process as he wrote his non-working spouse IRA plan and more than 200 other separate pieces of legislation, including 40 which are still in the law today.

His experience in the Omaha Mayor’s Office was a very different environment. Daub was CEO, which allowed him to get things done just by receiving a phone call on the mayor’s hotline, rather than every action being subject to a formal vote.

Being a leader in many different capacities has given him a unique outlook on what that means and how he feels he can be successful. He lives by 10 tips for success, including one that reads, “Share leadership opportunities with others around you.”

He reads his list of tips once a week and shares it with leadership classes he teaches, whether that has been as a lawyer in his 55th year – including as a partner at Husch Blackwell since 2001 – or during an officer training class as lieutenant during the Vietnam War era. Daub said it is important that everyone have an idea of how to become successful.

No matter if you ask Daub about fixtures of Omaha he helped establish, or bills he authored in Congress, the rhetoric remains the same: teamwork.

“No one ever gets anything done by themselves,” Daub said. “You have to have help. I can’t think of a single thing I might have ever accomplished by myself.”


Hal Daub’s Top 10 List For Future Success

1. Always prepare for a meeting.

2. Demonstrate that you not only listen but heard what was said.

3. Share leadership opportunities with others around you.

4. Always say “thank you” to those who help along life’s way.

5. You can’t get there by yourself. Credit others for your success and their contribution to efforts.

6. Don’t be in a hurry.

7. Two can accomplish more than one – a “we” not “me” attitude.

8. You have to be appreciated as a helper before you can be a leader. Set the example for others.

9. Be a good citizen – honest and ethical. Believe it’s important.

10. Give thanks to your God. Spirituality, worship and prayer sustain one’s soul.


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