The Journey Continues
The journey continues. It’s hard to believe that I retired in August of 2003 as President/CEO of The Berry Company 12 years ago. When I retired, I made the decision that I would devote the next phase of my life to giving back. I felt then, as I do today, that for those of us who have been blessed with the opportunity to lead organizations, we have a responsibility to give back and an obligation to share and I wanted to build giving back around health and human services, economic development, and education. It is my continuing belief that we must connect those dots if our region is to grow and prosper. This has played out on many stages for me, including chairing the United Way campaign in 2003 for three counties and for the next three years serving as Board Chair and Chief Volunteer Officer. In 2008, I became Board Chair of Green Memorial Hospital, leading the hospital into a merger with Kettering Health Network, and served as Vice Chair of the Kettering system for five years. Though I served on the board of the Dayton Development Coalition while at Berry, I took on a much more active role in retirement through volunteering, which included helping develop our 4 by 4 strategy and serving as a member of the Executive Committee for nine years. The highlight of those nine years was being recognized as the 2009 Regional Volunteer of the Year. On the education front, I have devoted all of my energy to the University of Dayton. Besides being my alma-mater and a university that I dearly love, I believe that the Marianist mission of learn, lead and continue to serve is a critical asset as we grow and retain the next several generation of leaders, which is tantamount for our region’s growth. I served as Executive Director of the University’s Center for Leadership for seven years, served on the University’s Board of Trustees for seven years, and continue to teach leadership courses at both the undergraduate and MBA level as an adjunct professor. While my wife is convinced I am the only person she knows who has work life balance issues in retirement, the last twelve years have been the most rewarding of my life. The chance to give back is the ultimate gift of leadership and knowing we are making a difference in people’s lives.
As I bring down the curtain on the “giving back” phase of my life, I want to devote this next phase to writing and speaking. Since retirement, I have been fortunate enough to work with over 200 companies, collegiate athletic programs, and numerous organizations sharing my behavior driven model, “The Leadership Pledge”. It has been through those presentations, as well as writing and publishing “10 Truths About Leadership, It’s Not Just About Winning” that I have been encouraged to devote more of my time to teaching, writing and sharing. Comments from people like Matt Graybill, COO of Dayton Children’s Hospital, “Thanks for speaking with passion to our leadership team. You have a great combination of on target philosophy and actual experience and honing that philosophy in leading a great company”, as well as Larry Baynes, an attendee at a Leadership Summit I spoke at in Chicago, “I truly can’t thank you enough for the impact you had on me. The fact that you are a phenomenal speaker but you spoke directly to me in so many ways. I long for someone that is passionate, honest, and direct and you hit the trifecta”, represent just two of hundreds of comments that I’ve had the privilege of receiving as a result of sharing “The Leadership Pledge”, as part of a half day workshop or a two hour keynote.