Posted on Oct 30, 2015
in Alumni News and News
Longtime Kansas City volunteer and loyal Jayhawk Jim Brown was presented with the Dick Wintermote Network Volunteer of the Year Award at Hawktoberfest on October 28.
Brown, a native of Kansas City and a Presidents Club member, has served on the Kansas City Network board for four years, including the past year as president. He challenged board members to identify goals, and he developed sponsorship packages to support several Kansas City events, including the Rock Chalk Ball, the Jayhawk Open golf tournament, and ’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars. He also helped launch the new Jayhawk Career Networking Series, and secured sponsors, speakers and venues for the events. He is chief operating officer of Muller Bressler Brown in Leawood.
This annual award recognizes up to five network volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their network and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period (July 1-June 30). Dick Wintermote, c’51, served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983. His legacy represents the importance of building a strong volunteer network, the need for a dues-paying membership program and establishing the KU Alumni Association as one of the premier associations of graduates in the country.
An internal staff committee within the KU Alumni Association consisting of those who work closest with volunteers meets each year to decide on award winners.
Posted on Jun 18, 2015
in Alumni News and News
The first in a series of business-focused networking events for Kansas City area alumni was held June 17 at Lexmark Enterprise Software in Lenexa. The company’s president and CEO, Scott Coons, was the keynote speaker.
Jim Brown, j’92, president of the Kansas City Alumni Network, introduced Coons, e’91, who spoke to a group of nearly 40 Jayhawks in the massive lobby of the sustainably constructed building, which boasts 240,000 square feet, a dodgeball court, amphitheater, two-story slide and full-service cafeteria for nearly 800 Lexmark employees who work in process and content management software technology.
“We have a lot of fun,” Coons said. “We believe happy employees make happy customers.”
Coons, who will retire in July, has been with Lexmark, formerly known as Perceptive Software, for 20 years. In that time, he’s learned some valuable lessons for building a successful business, including these tips, which he shared with the group:
1. Focus: Our saying around here is, “You’re not defined by what you do. You’re defined by what you don’t do.” Too many times you see project managers trying to solve the world’s problems with their product, instead of just getting the product built and finding its first customer.
2. Put in a little extra effort every single day. Don’t let something that can be done today trickle into tomorrow. Get it done today. Stay a little late or start a little early.
3. Work is never done. Too many young employees don’t know what hard work is. We have to spend a lot of time helping them understand that hard work is the first thing you have to do to be successful.
4. Prepare for a number of short races. It’s not a marathon. Win the first race and move on to the next one. You might not be around if you don’t win the race in front of you.
5. Surround yourself with winners. Give people a great deal of latitude and let them do their jobs. They will make mistakes. Mistakes are fine; they help you learn. Just don’t make the same mistake twice.
6. Don’t always do what you’re told. The experts aren’t always right. Have the motivation to prove them wrong.
7. Listen to your customers. It’s hard to listen to customers when things are going wrong, but that’s when you’ll learn the most from them. Customers will tell you exactly which product to build; you just have to listen.
8. Don’t make a habit of spending more than you make. Some startups get ahead of themselves, and then they’re in a leverage position they don’t want to be in. Do your business conservatively.
9. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Happy employees make for happy customers.
10. Decide who you are and what you are, then go for it. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. You have to make a lot of sacrifice. You have to put in a lot of hours and have a lot of support from family and friends. But if they’re in your corner, they’ll understand the time and dedication it takes to get there.
To view of a Flickr album of images from the event, click here.
Jim Brown, j’92, partner at MBB/hippo Advertising, and president of the Kansas City Chapter of the KU Alumni Association, was recently honored as one of the Kansas City Business Journal’s NextGen Leaders.
The NextGen program identifies and develops individuals that will become leaders in the business and civic communities in Kansas City, inspiring collaboration and innovation for the region.
Brown says his day-to-day inspiration comes from several different places, but credits his family and the community as big influencers.
“I get inspired by my kids and the community around us. Kansas City right now is in a very inspiring time… if you go out and seek information and inspiration, then you will find it,” said Brown.
What is one of his most memorable moments as a Jayhawk?
“The basketball moments have been some of my best Jayhawk memories. But, quite honestly, nothing feels as good as a fall afternoon walking along Jayhawk Boulevard. Pride in school and in your state are in full bloom. It is why those of us who live here, remain here—simple beauty.”
Learn more about Jim Brown and his experiences in Kansas City here, and view a listing of all of the Kansas City Business Journal’s NextGen Leaders here.
—Jessica Nelson, Community Awareness Chair, Greater Kansas City Chapter of the KU Alumni Association