In 1976, the KC Chamber launched a new program designed to prepare Kansas City’s leaders of tomorrow. They called it the Centurions Leadership program. Throughout 2017, in honor of the Centurions 40th Anniversary, we’ll be sharing some of the stories of Centurions alumni.
Where were you in your career when you went through the Centurions program?
I started in the program at age 31 while Executive Vice President of Mission Hills Bank, which was a $100 million community bank at the time.
What would you say about the program to companies that have never participated in Centurions?
Centurions is an excellent leadership development program that enhances upcoming leaders by exposing them to a variety of external perspectives that are outside of any development program you might have within your organization. Participants tend to be smart up-and-comers from their respective companies and the opportunity for personal and professional development is high. Perhaps underappreciated, is that by investing in your future leaders through the program and educating them on the many facets of the Kansas City community, their loyalty to both your company and the community is strengthened.
What is your fondest memory during your time as a Centurion?
I was diagnosed with cancer two days before our second year retreat. The support and outreach from the other participants (most of whom were strong Type-A’s!) was amazing and helped ease the journey of balancing home life, work and medical treatments over the next year. It was such a great support system.
How did Centurions make you a better leader?
As a participant-led program, Centurions provides the opportunity to set direction, develop plans and execute while working with successful people from different organizations and backgrounds. The rich diversity of the group exposes you to a variety of successful styles and teaches how to lead and be a productive member of high-performing teams.
What did Centurions teach you about service and giving back to the community?
When I was in Centurions, there was less emphasis about performing service while in the organization than there is today. However the program provided exposure to a broad range of civic and social organizations while fostering an expectation of community engagement.
What advice would you give to current and future Centurions?
You will only get as much from it as you put in—don’t be a spectator.
How has Kansas City changed since you were in Centurions?
Kansas City remains a city of collaboration, modest pride, and cautious optimism. While there has been significant change and progress across a wide spectrum, I’d have to point to the transformation of Downtown over the past decade as the most dramatic.
What boards do you currently serve on?
As a community banker, I believe that creating a great place to live and work is a high priority. Boards that I’m involved with include the Chamber, the Midwest Women’s Business Enterprise Council, the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, RS Social Ventures, Starlight Theatre, Boys & Girls Clubs, Metropolitan Community College Foundation, the KU Medical Center Advancement Board, and the Derrick Johnson Defend the Dream Foundation. It is a pleasure to be involved with so many important organizations that are doing great things for our community.