Howard G. Buffett
President and CEO, Crossing Healthcare
President and CEO, Crossing Healthcare
Operations Manager, Tate & Lyle
My father has been a source of inspiration, knowledge, and guidance throughout my life. He is a retired mechanical engineer and worked his entire career in power generation for General Electric. Growing up in Missouri, I watched him work long hours to provide for our family to then turn around and put in more time with my sister and me working on the farm or trying to support us at our school and sports events. This instilled in me the value of hard work and dedication to family and friends. He is intelligent and a great problem solver; he taught me it is important to have a questioning and inquisitive attitude. Always try to learn and understand what you don’t know.
Early in my career, a former boss quoted Maya Angelou,“ people will never forget how you made them feel.” Those are words I try to live by. I learned that our best resource is the people in our community.
Over the last 21 years of my professional career, I have had the opportunity to live all over the country. Each one of these places have a unique culture that is special to our country and highlights our rich heritage and diversity. Community is not defined by a city limit sign, for me it is the place where we live, work, and play. A place where many people share common interests and goals. Being from a small town, I appreciate living in a community like Decatur where it feels like you know so many people and can count on them to help when needed.
A couple reasons. First, I felt it important to give back and serve others where our community needs support. Since returning to Decatur, I have been involved in youth athletics as a coach and I joined the United Way board. Participating in the Chamber of Commerce Decatur Leadership Institute help raise my awareness and exposed me to so many of the wonderful leaders in our community. It was at that point when I knew I wanted to do more and give back. Second, I wanted to set a positive example for my children, to show them that serving others and giving of your time is rewarding.
It is important that we give back. You cannot make a positive impact from the sideline. We each have the ability to contribute in different ways. Being an active member in our community is a very rewarding and positive experience.
President and CEO, Decatur Memorial Hospital
My parents. The lessons they taught my siblings and me still resonate: be honest, work hard and carry yourself with integrity. I live by these concepts every day.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. People are creatures of habit and will do what is easy and comfortable. This comfort can lead you to look at challenges and opportunity in the same light, time and time again. Moving away from what you know, welcoming diverse, differing opinions and being open to being challenged can spur creativity and innovation.
To me, community is a group of people who come together for common goal or purpose. No matter how large or small, when people come together the result is often greater than the sum of its parts. In my first few months at DMH, I’ve seen many examples of how our teams collaborate to serve the community. Creating a great outcome for every patient, every time, requires teamwork among our colleagues and medical staff. I’m also proud of the partnerships that DMH and Memorial have with SIU and Springfield Clinic – we know that we can be better together.
Because it matters. I am very fortunate to be part of an organization that serves the community every day. Any one of us can be affected by an injury or illness, and knowing that DMH will be there to help is an awesome feeling. Our patients are friends and family – our community – and everyone at DMH takes seriously our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve.
Start small. The adage of “think globally and act locally” could not be more true. A small gesture in your neighborhood, school, church or workplace can have huge, lasting impact. When the community gives back, we all win.
Owners, Notorious P.I.G.
My first mentor would have been my father. He taught me that you can do anything you put your mind to, and hard work does pay off. As a kid he was always headed to work as I was just waking up and getting home late putting forth many hours a day to make sure his family had what they needed. However, he always found time to enjoy life as well, this showed that there can be a balance in life if you choose to do so.
My most memorable lesson would have come around the age of 12. My father had a customer enter his shop and was rather rude as they did not like the price of a part which they wanted to purchase but called it junk and “junk should be free!” My father remained humble and expressed that he had natural overhead expenses of running a business as well as many families that depended on their business to sustain life. He replied “sorry, things are not free.” This lady could not understand this but my father at that point showed me that he was not there to just make money he was taking care of those who took care of him.
Community to me means a team! Everyone has highs and lows and if we work as a team to help each other when needed everyone wins. Ultimately the community is an extended family were all in this together.
I enjoy being involved in the community for many reasons. It’s a very satisfying feeling knowing you helped someone who needed it, if I’m ever in that situation I hope someone returns the favor. I also enjoy showing my kids that helping out where you can goes a long way in hopes they to will get involved and enjoy doing so.
Discover what it is you’re passionate about and find a group that works around that. Reach out and get involved, make a difference it will make a difference in your life without you realizing it. Believe in Good Karma and watch what happens!
My grandfather Dewey French was my first mentor in my life. He was an old school, hardworking kind of guy. He taught me many things before he passed when I was a junior in high school, but the two things I remember most is to work hard at everything I choose to do, and there is no stranger. You can never have too many friends.
All I ever wanted to do was play college baseball. My senior year of high school I blew out my knee in a wrestling match that ended my career in sports. For 18 years I knew sports was going to get me through college, but at that moment I realized I was now going to have to rely on my brain to get me through life. I had a very lost feeling for quite some time.
Without community we have nothing. Community means giving back in any way possible whether it be financially, time, or helping someone in need. There are so many ways to give back to the community.
I want to make Decatur a better place in every way I can. It is a lot of fun getting out in the community, and an even better feeling when there are success’s that you were a part of.
Stop waiting, and jump right in. There is something for everyone. Recognize your talents and skills and find a way to apply those within the community. Not only will you make Decatur a better place, it is a great feeling of accomplishment when you rest your head on the pillow at night.
President and CEO, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital
My first mentors were my parents. It’s hard to draw the line between them because they worked together so well. The messages and values they taught us were always consistent. They clearly wanted us to be grounded in faith, family and community. My mother was the kindest person I’ve ever known, but also one of the strongest. From my father, I learned about dedication, honor, and loyalty. He was very humble, but we were proud of his accomplishments. As a veteran, he literally put himself in harm’s way many times protecting the United States. An example like that stays with you always. The words of wisdom I learned from both ring in my ears every day.
The lessons that stay with you are usually not pleasant at the time. My family went through a traumatic event. It was the type of experience that could leave a person bitter. I was sad and angry. Instead, wisdom from my parents and others helped me see that I could use the experience to try and empathize on a much deeper level.
Community means that we’re in this together. We all experience the world differently, but there are things that connect us. Whether it’s the area in which you live, the industry in which you work, etc., we face similar challenges. When we communicate with, or give back to, people in our community it’s clear that we can help each other. Life becomes more meaningful when we do.
I got involved because I watched people I admire do so a long time ago. It’s a cliché, but it does feel as though you get more than you give. As a new resident to the Decatur area, my involvement is just beginning. My work at St. Mary’s brings great opportunities to contribute. It’s my intention to find the places where I can make an impact. What’s important and how can I help?
Get started. Don’t worry that it’s not perfect. Someone once told me our internal navigation systems can’t help us when we’re standing still. Once we start moving, they switch on and guide us to where we need to be.
Reverend and Director of Essential Skills and Community Relations for Richland Community College
In my younger years, my first mentor would have been my mother, Rinda Carson, and my father, Joe Jarrett. Today, because I have a multifaceted approach to living life, I have found these men to be great Mentors in my life: Armar Washington, Rev. Tony Carson, Rev. Dr. C.d Stuart, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Rev. Marvin Joyner, and Dr. Cris Valdez. All of these God-fearing men of valor exemplify strength, fearlessness, kindness, and faithfulness. For me, all of these men have been a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.
The High school football fight in 1999 at Eisenhower High school is my most memorable lesson. It illuminated the fact that God can allow a bad situation to work together for the good. It also taught me the power of prayer; trouble and perplexity drive us to pray, and prayer drives away perplexity and trouble. I believe that God used that moment in my life to direct me – God had to light a fire under me to motivate change. I remember Rev. Jackson saying to us, “Suffering breeds character. Character breeds faith. And in the end, faith will not disappoint. Faith, hope, and dreams will prevail.
Family! It represents tension and promise, where different dimensions of the human experience meet and shape one another. We are all participants in a diverse portion of the universe; therefore, we teach one another by our embodied diversity — our astonishing differences and our surprising commonalities.
I believe that I am called to help heal the wounds of the world by being actively involved in bettering the lives of others. I understand that the way I feel about America reflects the way I live as an African American. I love America, so I always ask the questions that “burn fiercely in the heart.” Hebrew Bible scholar, Ken Stone, said, “To question is not to destroy.” I believe that questioning brings our contemporary lives and concerns into conversation with tradition, seeking insights and learning from the contradictions between them. When we have done so, we are better informed to help others more effectively. I believe if we can all suppress our egos, ideology, organizational, and denominational differences, we could really love and understand one other without distorting our own personal values. When black people can accept white people for loving to be white, and when white people can accept black people for loving to be black, and every other color of people love one another for which their maker beautifully and fundamentally made them, then we can truly be called children of God and a nation of love. When that happens, we will then see God’s will done on earth as His will is done in heaven. When we die, there will be no black, white, or colored sections in heaven. We all die with red blood. I often ask myself: Do we, as so-called “Americans” truly care about the future of America? More importantly, do we care about the future of our communities? So, knowing all of these truths, I typically ask myself a second question: How am I going to respond to certain practices that either haunt or help our world, country, state, city, and community?
You are only as great as your greatest challenge, and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you; just be sure to understand God’s purpose for strengthening you. You can be the most successful person at work, the most religious person at church, and the most respected person in the community, but if you are not taking care of the family that God has blessed you with then, you are just doing good work, for other people, on your way to hell because you neglected your first responsibility.
And. .as always. . Stay Blessed And Productive!
President and CEO, Community Foundation
My most influential mentors were my parents, David and Linda Doom. My parents lead by example and provided unconditional support and encouragement. What I have achieved and become as a person today is due to their guidance and support. I’m also extremely thankful for my in-laws, Darrell and Ursula Beck, who were “role mentors” in the evolution of my outlook on giving. The Becks gave in a way that was heartfelt and consistent. My husband Matt and I continue to emulate his parents in how we support our community through philanthropy.
Don’t hesitate when you should act. In 2007, I was blessed with the opportunity to donate a kidney to my father. There is no greater blessing than to save someone’s life. This experience taught me that life is short and the future is promised to no one.
Community is tangible; community is cohesive; community brings people together in ways that allow them to do things they can’t do alone. Community means together, we can accomplish great things!
This community is my home. I’m involved because it feels good to have an impact. I’m motivated by helping others. I’m inspired by all the goodness I see in Macon County.
Life is much more enjoyable when you give back. You may be able to give in the form of your time, advice, a smile, encouragement, or money. Giving doesn’t have to be a certain amount and it doesn’t have to be difficult. I encourage people to give kindness first, to be present in the lives of those they encounter. Find an organization or group to give their time and volunteer in a way that brings joy. Volunteering will connect you to others and strengthen our community.
Owner, R Bar and Grille
My fist mentor in life was my Dad. I always admired how people responded to him. He treated people with a smile and kindness. My father has been gone for 18 years but I still run into people who knew him or worked with him and they all loved him. I try to treat people the way he did.
My most memorable lesson is a tough one to answer. I would say never respond to someone if you are angered by them. You will say something that you will regret . Your conscience will remind you in your bad dreams to apologize.
Community has always been important to me. The people that you learn, work and live with make up the community. Decatur has the best people. Doing business all over the state as an Architect, I always had to defend the people and city of Decatur. The perception of Decatur was always wrong . I would ask the nay sayers ” Have you ever been to Decatur?” I always would get the answer no. I would challenge them to spend some time in Decatur and their perception will be changed. It is a beautiful city with great people.
I have always wanted to help make our community better in any way I could. As an Architect designing buildings that helped improve the quality of life for Decatur always made feel extremely lucky and grateful to have that opportunity. Serving on the Boys and Girls club board for 7 years was a great experience. Volunteering at the Decatur Celebration was a blast. Certainly one of the finest events a city could have. Opening R bar & grille was one the best things I have done. I love all of our downtown restaurants and bars. I wanted to be part of that group. I wanted to create a place that I hoped would be talked about many years from now like the Blue Mill and the Brown Jug are even today. I wanted to create a rememberable experience that would put a smile on everyone’s face. The R bar & grille creed ” Experience Excellence” is what drives us to be one of those places that add to the already great quality of life that Decatur offers.
For people who want to do more I say in the words of Nike. “Just Do It”. Find something you are passionate about. Jump in, work hard and have fun making Decatur a better place to live.
ADM senior vice president and president of Carbohydrate Solutions
My first mentor was my father. Our family was in the turkey breeding, growing and processing business where I grew up in North Carolina. He taught me the complementary values of hard work and grit, helping me develop a business mindset that has guided me to this day. He also taught me what it meant to be engaged in the community. The family business provided jobs, but it needed to do more than that. I learned from a young age how crucial it is for employers to enrich the community fabric where they’re rooted by getting involved.
This is a tough one. I have lots of memorable lessons that could fill a book. I think the lessons that I have carried with me my entire career are to love what you do and it won’t be work, and whatever you choose as your career, lead with passion and commitment.
Community is more than a group of people living in the same place, or sharing particular characteristics. A community is something that you can feel. At ADM, we have that team spirit, a fellowship. We work together every day, sure, but our connections are much deeper than that. Our connections span geographies, helping to put food on the table, feed animals, fuel vehicles and support industry in countries all over the world. But community extends well past the walls of our facilities. We’re all part of something larger than our work and ourselves.
At ADM, we try to help sustain and strengthen communities where our colleagues work, live and operate. We direct funding, share industry knowledge and volunteer. In particular, our areas of focus are on advancing sustainable agriculture, increasing food security and investing in education. We partner with organizations that are making meaningful social, economic and environmental progress worldwide.But we also try to have fun, and make Decatur and ADM a great place to work. Recently, I volunteered to take a pie in the face if our teams met their fundraising goals for Northeast Community Fund’s Thanksgiving Basket program. Sure enough, they shattered their goal. I guess having a chance to pie your boss in the face is a great motivational tool!
If you’re interested, get involved. If you’re part of an organization, whether that’s through your job, a club, a religious institution, is there an effort you can help support? Find something you care about and consider volunteering or directing funds where you can make a difference.
Executive Director, Midwest Inland Port & Community Marketing Manager, Limitless Decatur & Macon County
My father was my first mentor. His work ethic, community involvement, and commitment to family and tradition set the tone for my future. I’ve also been fortunate to have great influencers throughout my career. Observing how they interact with others, how they face issues and find solutions has greatly contributed to my life.
I carried out a project once that produced an outcome I didn’t intend for it to have. What I learned, thanks to one of my mentors, was that I made the best decision at the time with the information I had, and that you can’t always predict outside forces that impact the end result. Take the next steps and move on. We let negative people live rent-free in our heads by dwelling on the situation.
To me, community is a mindset. We can be part of many communities within the larger physical boundaries that we live in. Perhaps it’s a faith community, a neighborhood, a philanthropic organization, a hobby club, or a small group of friends sharing a common bond. Communities, like the individuals that make them, come in all sizes, interests, and perspectives. Whatever your community is, invest in it. Your investment will make the physical community in which you reside more dynamic.
When I moved to Decatur, I became involved to network with others. Volunteering on planning committees, working fundraisers, and serving on boards immediately expanded my network. Once connected with many different “communities,” my involvement turned from a goal of networking to a goal of making an impact. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ I’m blessed that my position allows me to be part of the tide and be directly involved in projects that have a ripple effect on our region. As a mother, I know the work I do here will impact our son’s future. I want he and his friends to be unapologetically proud of the community they were raised in.
No act is too small, and it’s never insignificant. Giving of your time, talent, or treasure is valuable. Needs exist everywhere you look. It can be both overwhelming and intimidating to do more, but don’t pause. Go for it. Find something that fills you up. Doing more for something that makes you happy will create an undeniable joy that will be infectious and inspiring to others.