Considering the substantial fear in our country following 9/11, my executive team at Powder River Energy and I established an initiative called “Celebration of Community Champions”. Super Bowl champs, Kevin Holloway and William Perry got involved and we did a bus tour across our service territory, visiting small communities. It felt good to create some positive energy by recognizing and celebrating area volunteers.
As a result of this initiative, I was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the National Electrical Cooperative Association. At this meeting, I met Kevin Freiberg, a keynote speaker on leadership and innovative author who was a panel moderator. Since I was at the beginning of my journey as a cooperative CEO, I recognized how much I could benefit from the knowledge of someone like Kevin. So, in a bold move, I asked Kevin “Do you do any charity work?” A bit perplexed, he asked “What do you mean?” So, I explained that working for a non-profit with not much money had its challenges; but boy, could I use a mentor if he was at all willing to do some charity work. Laughing, he told me to stay in touch. One never knows what may come from asking a simple question. The worst that could have happened is he could have said “Sorry, but no, I don’t.” But because I stepped out on that ledge and had the courage to at least ask, Kevin has been my mentor and a key part of my leadership journey now for many years. Kevin Freiberg wrote the Foreword in the No-Os of Leadership, for which I am very grateful.
The key take-away from this Blog is self-awareness. You need to know where you need help to be able to identify the right people to mentor you at different stages in your leadership journey.