Saturday, December 13, 2008
Happy Birthday, Roger!
Writing a shout out to Roger Hale is not an easy thing to do, despite the fact that he has enjoyed so many accomplishments and been honored on many occasions. He takes all of these honors in stride, it seems, remaining balanced and averse to pride or avarice.
Now known as "Big Daddy" to his many grandchildren, Roger inspires because he lives a full life of civic engagement. Long before there were 1-Minute Managers or people learning how to Now, Discover their Talents, Roger was a successful businessman, heading a global company known for innovation, workplace quality and manufacturing excellence. He did this while also serving on many other corporate and non-profit boards, learning French, getting his exercise, and maintaining strong connections with family and friends all around the world. And he has a great sense of humor.
One of the things I'm most grateful for has been Roger's work with the Walker Art Center, where he served on the capital committee and was then board chair during the recent, most extensive expansion in the Walker's history. I can't even begin to imagine the full impact on the arts of his determined, dedicated effort. Roger also applied that drive to Public Radio International, broadcasters of "This American Life" and other outstanding global radio programming. He is now the chairman of the Ploughshares Fund, an organization begun during the Cold War that resists weapons of mass destruction.
I also find it to be incredibly cool that his undergraduate major (at Brown) was in English. When talking with my son Jack recently about college, Roger recomended getting a liberal arts degree before focusing on business or a profession in grad school. He brings that broad awareness, as well the ability to be influenced by great books, to his perspective on many topics: politics, the environment, business management, and the arts.
Like everyone else in his orbit, I'm very honored to know Roger and to send out this shout for a fantastic birthday!