When was the last time you got so much positive news – on the TV, internet, radio, etc. that you just threw your hands up and said, “That’s it. I just can’t take any more positive news.” Has that happened to you recently? Or, is your experience more like many I talk with, that they just feel at times like everything around them/us is falling apart, hopeless, sad, without purpose?
On Wednesday September 21st, the Center for Wealth & Legacy™, the non-profit organization that I co-founded and chair, presented its annual Lasting Legacy and Inspiration Awards™. More than 120 people attended the event to connect – be inspired – and challenged – by hearing the stories of others in our San Diego community who are cultivating and living a spirit of positive social impact. And, at the same time, it was a networking opportunity with people who care about being and working with others who likewise want to make the world a better place.
It is said that the two most important days of our lives are – when we are born and when we realize why we were born … to what purpose are we here on the planet. How about you? Have you discovered that second important day in your life yet? If not … perhaps the following stories might inspire you to find that purpose. If you have already, then you will want to read the stories of fellow life impacters like yourself! Either way … here they are … enjoy!
This year, nine extraordinary individuals were selected as finalists for the Inspiration Award™. Eight honorable mentions were also named for their outstanding service. What makes these people extraordinary and worthy of recognition is that not only did they have an idea of how to help others in need, they did the hard part by taking action to actually make change happen. All of the nominees were honored for making our community, and our world, a better place.
Pastor Roger Ziegler was chosen as this year’s 2016 Inspiration Award™ Honoree. Roger is a “lifer” … he will be serving a life term in prison. In his case, however, he gets to come in and leave of his own accord. Why? Fifteen years ago, Pastor Roger left his successful chiropractic practice to follow a divine calling to go into full-time ministry. And the next time you feel like complaining about your office environment or co-workers – consider this. His office – is six days a week behind the bars of Donovan State Prison. Pastor Roger is a “lifer” for his dedication to prison ministry, where he plans to serve the rest of his life – however many years that may be. In addition to worship and religious services, he provides much needed rehabilitation courses to these “men in blue.” Pastor Roger is often the only father figure many of these men have ever had and he showers them support, guidance and love. As a result of his care, many inmates have become strong community contributors after their release from prison. His work has also inspired those on the “outside” to write supportive letters to the inmates and provide them with transitional housing and employment opportunities upon their release. While the recidivism rate (the percentage of those that repeat an offense and return to prison) for most parolees is somewhere between 66-88%. For those in Pastor Roger’s program, the recidivism rate is somewhere between 14-20%. He is making a lasting difference in the lives of over 400 that have been a part of his ministry and caring.
This year’s Tony & Alicia Gwynn Lasting Legacy Award™ was awarded to Drs. Ken and Margie Blanchard, co-founders of The Ken Blanchard Companies®. For more than 35 years, their leadership philosophy and principles have been embraced by corporate America’s leaders. Their firm is one of the premier management consulting and training companies in the world. With a team in excess of 300, their goals are more holistic and wider in scope than many management companies: they aspire to make a difference in people’s lives, unleash human potential and effectiveness in the workplace, and help organizations become the provider, employer, and investment of choice. Ken has authored over 60 books, including the blockbuster seller, The One Minute Manager, co-authored with Spencer Johnson, which has sold over 13 million copies. Margie is also a best-selling author and well-versed in a variety of topics such as leadership, balance, managing change, aging parents, and life planning. Through a public nonprofit organization, their services are also available to education leaders and nonprofit organizations around the globe.
Not only was Chief Shelly Zimmerman of the City of San Diego Police Department selected as one of this year’s finalists for the Inspiration Award™, she was also awarded the inaugural Service Above Self Award™. Since 1982, she has been an active member of the San Diego Police Department and has served in every possible role, including vice, narcotics, internal affairs, the multi-cultural community relations office, the mayor’s executive protection detail, and the narcotics task force. Chief Zimmerman has successfully led the security planning for many large-scale events in San Diego, including the Super Bowl, Republican National Convention, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, and Comic-Con Conventions. Her commitment to public service is clearly evident in the police badge she proudly wears: “it is our symbol of service above self, of professionalism, of honesty, of integrity and of the oath that we all took.”
The evening also included a lively and entertaining interview with Dr. Peter Farrell, founder and executive chair of ResMed, Inc. His company is the global leader in the development and manufacturing of devices to help people with sleep-disordered breathing. Many of us have heard of “sleep apnea,” which is when you stop breathing during sleep and wake up just enough to gasp and start breathing again. Then you fall back to sleep and the cycle begins again. This can happen more than 120 times per hour, even though you may not remember waking up! 80% of people with sleep apnea do not even know they have it. Without treatment, sleep apnea causes a deterioration in health and increases the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and heart failure, and even motor vehicle accidents. Also troubling is that 75% of people who suffer from depression have sleep-disordered breathing. The bottom line is that you need restful sleep to be truly healthy.
For those who have sleep-disordered breathing, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which consists of a mask over the nose and an air ventilator, is used to prevent the cessation of breathing while sleeping. Internationally recognized research indicates that a sleep study is the most important health test a person can do for one’s health. Due to the enormous amount of people who have this condition, it is even more important than a blood pressure test He cited a recent Swiss study, which indicated that half of men and nearly a quarter of women (23%) have sleep-disordered breathing.
Peter also shared some important ideas he gained from the founders and leaders of Koch Industries, Inc. Koch Industries began as a crude oil refining company in 1940, and is now the second largest privately owned firm in the U.S. With annual revenues of $115 billion, it has expanded to various industries, including paper and pulp as the owner of Georgia-Pacific. The principles on which Koch Industries is run are simple and successful. They are: 1. Hard work; 2. Integrity; 3. Humility; and 4. Continuous learning.
One other important insight Peter shared, came from a point in time when ResMed had a challenge with a significant amount of employee turnover. They resolved the issue by creating a filtering system by which they hire new employees. The first characteristic they look for in their interviews is whether the prospective employee has character – which includes ethics and integrity. They either have it or they don’t. It cannot be taught or acquired. What then follows is whether there is intelligence (along with practical common sense). Are they bright enough to keep up with their colleagues? The last initial key ingredients are enthusiasm and energy. Do they have it? Are they dragging their way into the meeting, or are they creating self-sustaining energy that is contagious and affects the others in the room?
If you would like to help spread the good news about inspiring individuals and businesses, why not join us as a Center “Actionator” or sign up to be a volunteer for a future Inspiration Awards™ event? In addition to the annual Inspiration Awards™, the Center tri-annually hosts Leadership Insights Forum™ breakfast seminars, where those who desire business mentoring can interact and be inspired by impactful members of the business community. Please visit the Center’s website at www.wealthlegacycenter.org for more information. Our upcoming event features Ralph Rubio, of Rubio’s Restaurants. Ralph is an extraordinary leader with compelling and fascinating lessons to share!
So again, our two most important dates in our lives – when we are born – and when we understand why. What’s yours? What if next year’s article was about you and the lasting impact you are making for good – here and in the world.
Photo credit: Epic Photojournalism