President & CEO
Q: How do you describe your business?
A: We provide after-school services to over 1,400 local at-risk youth in our community. In addition, we offer an eight week all-day summer program as well as instructional athletic leagues (basketball and soccer). The Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township offers a safe environment, full of fun activities, enriching programs and dedicated staff that encourage our members to be their absolute best every single day.
Q: As a local business, what has been your company’s biggest obstacle during the recession?
A: The past few years have been challenging for many nonprofits. Our organization has weathered the storm and has actually grown, substantially, over the past three years. The biggest obstacle for most nonprofits was the decimation of state and federal support to the human services, but this also allowed many nonprofit board leaders and community supporters to see nonprofits in a more critical light. The recession provided a true test to see how well all of us could evolve and adapt. Our organization has grown our revenue by more than 60 percent since 2009, at the same time growing club membership to serve nearly 1,600 youth.
Q: What is one important tip you would give someone just starting a business today?
A: Always stay hungry, challenge yourself and continue to learn. Consistently treat your staff with respect and be a good leader along the way.
Q: Who is your biggest/best customer?
A: Our club members, hands down. I was a Boys & Girls Club member growing up in Rockford and I remember my experiences with the club. I know that there is a magical feeling for many of our club members being at the club and with our staff. That is what we are all about, providing those experiences and feelings for our local club members. Those are our best customers and that is our mission.
Q: How has business been this past year?
A: We eclipsed the $1 million mark in annual revenue for the second consecutive year, increased our local business/corporate revenue, special event revenue and decreased our overall federal funding percentages. We doubled our club reserve fund, and most importantly, we set a record for the number of kids we served through our 2012 Summer Program in arguably the hottest summer in recent memory. Our board leadership was honored with the BGCA 2012 Outstanding Board Volunteer of the Year (Barbara Ferguson) for the state of Illinois. We had a tremendous year.
Q: Who has had the most influence in your life, why/how?
A: Everyone that I have worked for has been an influence. I’m a pretty observant person and I always tried to pay attention to their work habits, how they treated people, etc. Currently, many of my board members are great influences. Personally, my parents had the biggest influence though — two very hard working people that set a good example for my brother and I.
Q: What is the key to your company’s success?
A: Probably the biggest key is being able to backup the work we do at our club locations with strong, relevant data. We measure and evaluate our programs consistently and we have been successful in communicating those results to our donors and supporters. It is crucial to be able to know what you do well, but even more important to attack areas of weakness to improve. Our average daily attendance is right up there with the some of the best BGC’s in the country. We focus on that statistic as our most important key to success in creating impact with our club members.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: I have three young children (all 5 and under) and I think about what the world has in store for them. I worry as most parents do. A close second would be the health of Aaron Rodgers throughout the Packers season.
Q: If you could put your company name on any sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: One of the cool things about being part of a large national organization, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, is seeing the Boys & Girls Clubs logo all over MLB games, during NFL commercials, NBA Cares advertisements, etc. Personally, I would love to have a large presence at Lambeau Field. I’m about 60,000 deep on the waiting list for season tickets, so the logo has a better shot at seeing a game than I do.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: Packaging small hardware orders for my neighbor’s business. I would work around my sports schedule in high school at age 16. I worked at several factories during the summer months and winter breaks during my college years and those experiences were eye opening about hard work and consistency as well.