Monday, January 11, 2010

John Keuffer:
Executive Director, The Light Foundation and Founder of Teen Response

John Keuffer
Bio:: John is the Executive Director of The Light Foundation and Founder of Teen Response Inc. Through his work at both organizations, he strives to empower young people to reach their highest potential. He is co-host of Cincinnati's first and longest running radio talk show for teens on WCIN 1480AM. John has earned numerous awards, including Top 30 National Social Entrepreneurs by Youth Service America and Top 100 National Social Entrepreneurs by MTV. He motivates an average of 30,000 youth per year and is the author of two books, Dare To Fail Strive to Succeed: 8 Steps for Positive Youth Growth and Ancient Scrolls of Adiel: A Financial Parable of Success. John serves as President of the St. Cecilia Parish Council and is a board member of Friendship Reading Center of Mt. Auburn. He is a member of a number of enterprising initiatives that include the NFL Alumni Cincinnati Chapter and Ohio Association of Child & Youth Care Professionals.

FCL: How would you define a leader?
John: "A leader isn’t based upon a title, quite a few non-executives have more leadership ability than those who have a title. A leader is a person others desire to follow because they exhibit qualities others believe in."

FCL: Who are your biggest influences as a leader?
John: "My father, Parish Pastor, Zig Ziglar and Robert Kiyosaki."

FCL: What gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
John: "I won’t call myself a leader. I am an innovator. I'm willing to go and do things others are not. I am not afraid of failure, in fact, I embrace it as a learning tool for success."

FCL: What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
John: "I dislike dishonesty and disrespect for others time. I prefer people who are direct rather than someone who beats around the bush. The one thing that truly drives me crazy are those people who do not return calls, or respond to emails in a timely manner. This shows a complete disrespect for the other person."

FCL: What is your biggest challenge as a leader?

John: "Maintaining the energy and drive to keep going despite obstacles. Developing a quality team of people who share the same drive, passion and self-motivation needed to succeed."

FCL: Who has impacted you the most in your life as a leader?
John: "Zig Ziglar impact me first. I have been lucky to correspond with him since 1996. Robert Kiyosaki inspired me to start reading again and reading a lot. He also inspired me to look at finances in a completely different way. This motivated me to work with young people to teach them financial literacy skills."

FCL: What are your favorite books and what are you currently reading?
John: "“To Kill A Mockingbird” is my favorite fiction book. I am a big fan of all of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, as well as all of the Zig Ziglar books. I am currently reading Larry Winget’s book called “Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get a Life.”"

FCL: What is your vision for business and community leadership in Cincinnati?
John: "Cincinnati is really suffering from a lack of a unified leadership and goals. Everything in Cincinnati is sporadic and does not seem to be focused. My vision would be to see a true Economic Development Plan that was incorporate and established by a unified group of leaders."

Closing remarks (from Herman): "Thanks John. I was hooked when you said, "The one thing that truly drives me crazy are those people who do not return calls, or respond to emails in a timely manner." In their critically acclaimed book, The Leadership Challenge, Barry Posner and James Kouzes say that the essence of leadership is credibility. They write, "Leaders must be ever diligent in guarding their credibility ... In any circumstance, credibility is one of the hardest attributes to earn. And it is the most fragile of human qualities. It's earned minute by minute, hour by hour, month by month, year by year. But it can be lost in very short order if not attended to" (pgs 28 -29)."