It was an event that recognized six influential leaders.
About 300 people attended the Idaho Business Review’s CEO of Influence event May 22. For the fourth year, leaders were recognized for their integrity, values, vision, commitment to excellence, financial performance, community involvement, diversity, and, most of all, influence: Sylvia Hampel, president, ClearView Cleaning; Charley Jones, president, Stinker Stores Inc., Scott Kreiling, president, Regence BlueShield of Idaho; Connie Miller, president and CEO, Icon Credit Union; Chris Taylor, president and CEO, Fisher’s Technology, and Bill Whitacre, president and CEO, J.R. Simplot Company.
“These leaders are moving Idaho forward,” said Idaho Business Review publisher and vice president Sean Evans. “Their influence shapes the future of businesses and individuals throughout the valley and across the state.”
Other community leaders feted the honorees, including CeCe Gassner, counsel for Perkins Coie, the event’s presenting sponsor, and Gary Gribbon, vice president and Boise commercial banking manager for Umpqua Bank, a supporting sponsor.
But the evening’s highlights were the honorees themselves in a sort of double take: First, each was introduced by a video that told his or her story; then, the CEO took the stage and spoke to the audience.
Hampel, who joked she had gotten “the short end of the stick” because she was the first on the evening’s program, talked about how important her employees are to her company. Three tables of those employees were present to cheer her on. She ended with saying she would not so much like to be recognized as a “CEO of influence, but more like a person of influence.”
Jones thanked his wife, Nancy, and former business partner Shawn Davis for their help and encouragement – and Zions Bank for taking a chance on Stinker Stores – and his team for making the running of all the stores seem effortless.
Kreiling said he was humbled by the award and talked about choosing to be a positive person – “the glass is either half-empty or half-full; I choose half-full every time.”
Miller told the story of seeing Icon Credit Union through the Great Recession and helping make it more successful than ever. At the end of her speech, there were few dry eyes as she thanked her
Girl Scout Leader, Mrs. Kadel, her husband, Neil – “for letting me wear my CEO hat home sometimes” – and her three sons Zachary, Jacob and Nathan.
Taylor joked that in receiving the award, he didn’t feel so much humble as “the most cocky and sure of himself” he’d ever been. He talked about Fisher’s hiring practice of “getting the right people on the bus in the right seat,” and about some of the lessons he’d learned from mentor and former
Fisher’s owner, Gary Mahn, who had never
missed his kids’ sporting events or programs. “I’ve recently learned the importance of work-life balance.”
Whitacre came to the stage with a story about Mr. Ed, the talking horse, and his own prop – a scuffed up, black metal
lunchbox. The lunchbox was his from his lot feed working days,
a piece of memorabilia he’d kept through the years so he’d never forget where he came from.
In addition to the event, the six CEOs were featured in a magazine distributed as an insert in the May 23rd Idaho Business Review. You can read the magazine and watch the videos, produced by Peppershock Media on the Idaho Business Review website: https://idahobusinessreview.com/events/ceo/