Family IN Business
Family IN Business
4. Walking the Walk of Your Purpose: Kent Johnson of Highlights for Children
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Season 2, Episode 4 of the Family IN Business Podcast

As the brainchild of Kent Johnson’s great-grandparents, Highlights for Children has been an explicitly purpose-driven company from its inception. A passion for serving, honoring, developing, and educating children informs every decision made in this family business. Purpose is so ingrained at Highlights for Children that the in-house newsletter is called “The Purpose,” and the company even has a Chief Purpose Officer!

But when building up the importance of purpose, how do leaders make sure they and their organization actually walk the walk? How does a commitment to living your values impact your choices at difficult crossroads? Listen as Kent describes steps he and his family enterprise have taken to ensure they serve their purpose in meaningful ways, even in the face of controversy. Experts Brooke Vuckovic and Jennifer Pendergast add insights on what it means to lead well in sticky situations.

Show Notes:

Theme: Living out your purpose with consistency and integrity

 

Your host:

Esther Choy, President and Chief Story Facilitator of Leadership Story Lab, author of Let the Story Do the Work (AMACOM)

 

Special thanks to:

Kent Johnson, CEO of Highlights for Children

Brooke Vuckovic, Executive Coach, Professor of Leadership at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Jennifer Pendergast, Executive Director of John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

 

Contact us: familyenterprises@kellogg.northwestern.edu

WardCenter.net

 

Key Moments:

2:55 – Who is Kent, and what is Highlights?

4:41 – The role of purpose at Highlights for Children

5:57 – The company purpose baked in by Kent’s great-grandparents

8:48 – What is purpose, with Brooke Vuckovic

11:24 – From physics doctorate back to the family business

12:15 – Individual vs. family purpose, with Jennifer Pendergast

14:09 – The relationship between physics and executive leadership

16:12 – Leading with purpose through moral complexity, with Brooke Vuckovic

23:04 – Recruiting employees who share your purpose

25:04 – Aligning partners with your purpose

27:37 – Why is there a Chief Purpose Officer at Highlights for Children?

30:44 – “Family” goes beyond familial ties

Download “Walking the Walk of Your Purpose: Kent Johnson of Highlights for Children” Transcript-Kent-Johnson-Final.pdf – Downloaded 11 times – 236 KB

 

Next Episode: 5. Embracing a Purpose You Never Thought Possible: Stephanie Jackson and Kimberly Paxton-Hagner of Kwik Lok

Better Every Story

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People forget facts, but they never forget a good story. In her book, Esther Choy shares business storytelling methods, examples and practical tools and templates. It’s your essential leadership storytelling toolkit.

Let the story do the work

People forget facts, but they never forget a good story. In her book, Esther Choy shares business storytelling methods, examples and practical tools and templates. It’s your essential leadership storytelling toolkit.

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