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Leader ToC™ with Valerie Hess

This month, with our first ever Leader ToC™ Blog Post, we interview Valerie Hess… the CommunityValerie Manager with the Virtues Project™ International AssociationLeader ToC™ (Thoughts on Character) is our monthly series engaging leaders around the world on character, leadership and more.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Hi Valerie, we have known each other for some time now, but it occurs to me that there is still much I would love to know.  Tell me about you?  Who is Valerie Hess?

VALERIE HESS:

For me, leadership training began at age 7, helping my dad in his office on Saturdays. First lessons included: sweeping floors… and once I mastered that skill, learning proper phone answering etiquette. My father was slowly cultivating my character and my entrepreneurial spirit. By age 15, I was an office manager in his Real Estate business and I had also found my Faith community. At 22, now married with children, I began my entrepreneurial career with a childcare business.  A year later, I was asked to become a foster parent for a teenage girl that I had known since birth.  I had no idea, that in agreeing to become a foster parent, I would find my calling, working with troubled youth; a calling that, by age 25, would lead me to open the first of four residential group home programs I would develop and administer over a span of 20+ years. Disillusioned with the systems approach to rehabilitation, I was looking for a program I could believe in that would make a significant difference in the lives of the youth I served.  I discovered The Virtues Project™ at a conference and knew by the end of training that I had found my life’s purpose… “serving the growth of The Virtues Project™.” I became a facilitator of The Virtues Project™, and with a friend opened Virtues Village, a virtues-based product and service company. In the beginning we focused on changing the lives of the youth and families I served and the hospital staff where she served.  I now serve on the Board of Directors for the global association that oversees the growth and expansion of The Virtues Project™.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Some of this I knew but I have a richer sense now more than ever.  Thank you.  That was helpful.  So, specifically, what is it that you do these days?

VALERIE HESS

Currently, I am the Community Manager for Virtues Project™ International Association, the governing body that supports the advancement of The Virtues Project™.  As I said, I am also co-owner of Virtues Village where we create virtues-based products and conduct workshops on the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project™… and a Master Facilitator of The Virtues Project™ where I train individuals to become facilitators of the work of The Virtues Project™.  The Project is core to what I do, needless to say.  But, I am also an advocate and caregiver for my handicapped sister who was born with Cerebral Palsy… and an actively involved grandmother.  I provide care for my youngest grandchild who was born prematurely.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Well, life is full, and good.  🙂  In doing what you do, who do you best serve?

VALERIE HESS

Those who are most vulnerable… and those who serve humanity making a positive difference. Currently, I best serve those who are serving The Virtues Project™ by transforming the cultures of families, schools, workplaces and communities through promoting the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project™.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

So, what are your thoughts on what makes for great leadership?

VALERIE HESS

Being passionate about what you do, act with integrity and value others…  practice idealism.  Care passionately about what is meaningful in life.  Have a vision, and then take action to make it happen.  Be humble.  Consider the needs and views of others as important as your own. Be willing to give and receive help.  Admit your mistakes openly to those you serve and those you lead.  Show compassion.  Be a good listener.  Create the space for others to be able to share their hopes, dreams and struggles.  Trust their journey.  In doing all of that, model assertiveness and integrity together.  Stand up for what you believe is right. Set clear boundaries… and express appreciation often to those you lead both in public and privately; in writing and verbally… provide meaningful compensation/reward where due.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Sounds like a powerful mix.  And I see the power of character in what you describe.  Given all of that, what is one challenge you feel requires engaging leadership at this time?

VALERIE HESS

The decline of our public school system. Often children are unable to learn due to the toxic environments that they are subjected to learn in; where poverty, violence, bullying, low self-esteem, mental disturbance, pessimism, and a lack of moral leadership are some of the factors.   We need to change the school culture to one of safety and caring so that everyone can do their jobs in peace and harmony.  Most of the changes being made today are made from the head.  The true change needed comes from the head and the heart working together.  Character education is a huge key to transforming what is wrong in our schools today; character education that inspires everyone in the culture to aspire to be and live as their greatest selves.  When we know who we truly are… we do better.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Personally, as an educator in public college education here in Canada, I see we share those concerns and passions.  What is the return on investment in facing that challenge, for you? 

VALERIE HESS

Saving innocent lives from gun violence and suicide.  Raising up morally strong leaders now and for the future. Promoting peace and unity in the world…

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Wow and indeed.  I hear you, and share in that.  Let me commend you for the nobility and integrity and compassion of your work as a leader globally and on the front lines in powerful balance.

VALERIE HESS

I am thankful for the opportunity.  Thank you for the chance to share on this Barry.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

My honor and pleasure.

 

Over the coming months, around the Thursday of each month… we will continue to engage and explore with experts and leaders around the globe.  We invite you to join us.

Until next month… peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you more posts here or in our LINKEDIN groups at:

… and on Twitter, @epicengage 

… and on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global

… AND on You Tube.

You can also join our STRONG SCHOOL™ GLOBAL… a free 30+ video and exercise based program around personal leadership.

 

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