Brent Cooper is no stranger to being involved in local communities. He’s the CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. One of the things that distinguishes Brent is his belief that if you are in business, then you’re in the people business. If you don’t operate on that principle, then you’ll have a hard time holding on to great talent and getting new clients. Want to know how to make your business a people business? Brent’s advice is to start regionally.
- Brent’s family has a long history of community engagement: boards, councils, and small business owners. He tells how his parents and grandparents impacted his early life. In turn, Brent started his own involvement early in high school and college. It wasn’t just family who inspired Brent. He talks about some of the people he met professionally that have impacted him profoundly.
- It’s not just important WHAT you do; it also matters HOW you do it. Brent has created a very successful business, CForward. Brent shares his experience of growing the business and how he used what he learned about community involvement in making it successful – not just for himself, but for his employees and clients. He explains it simply: we are in the ‘people’ business. Embracing that is the key to succeeding.
- Being regional is one of the most wonderful things that Brent embraces. In his case, Northern Kentucky is made up of several ‘mini-communities’ but they are all part of something bigger. He talks about why being regionally aware is so important for businesses who want to succeed while fulfilling a greater purpose.
- Education, health insurance, transportation, driving the workforce: Brent sincerely hopes that businesses will get involved on this front and tell their stories. Through this, people get a much greater understanding of the challenges and can help create better solutions. How can YOU get involved with your own company by telling your story?
- Eggs and Issues… Pints and Perspectives. Sound strange? Actually, it’s a revolutionary way for people to come together – people and businesses – and talk about issues and perspectives over something we all enjoy, food and drink. Brent shares what it’s like being part of a community filled with people who have great ideas. (Eggs are for early birds, and Pints is for happy hour.)
- These discussions that Brent takes part in aren’t just all hot air. He tells the story of how doctors who were fearful of malpractice claims was addressed through legislation that directly resulted from one of these talks. Because they were more than just talk; these doctors told their stories and connected with others.
- There’s a hidden benefit of being involved in the community and making positive change. It can also grow your business. Brent explains that almost every time he goes to the big events, he ends up with a new client or vendor. That’s now why he goes, and that’s why it works.
- Mike brings up a great point: balance versus integration. Mike and Brent both seem very busy, and Brent shares a few tips. First of all, no one has it all figured out, but you should always put your health first. You can’t always predict what challenges are ahead of you, but as long as you remain aware of your current state, you can adjust as you go.
- If you’re interested in getting YOUR business involved, there are some low-hanging fruits in the four areas Brent mentioned: education, transportation, healthcare, and workforce. Your goals can be as big as a bridge or as small as a pothole. Look for the problems everyone knows exist but no one is addressing.
Enjoy this tribute of the 2015 Baseball Across the Region initiative that Brent and Mike reference in this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute podcast. This effort was spearheaded by many of region’s most engaged leaders who have a love and passion for regionalism, leading well and baseball. Thank you Brent for your leadership in our community and thank you to all of those who aspire to lead well and better the lives of those around them.
Do you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!
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