Ashworth, Holder, Kee, and Sisson cited by Lake Norman Chamber for Outstanding Achievement


(From Left to Right) Tim Holder  - Vice President of Sales and Economic Development for EnergyUnited, Sally Ashworth – Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, Tricia Sisson – Co-owner of The Range at Lake Norman and Huntersville Deputy Police Chief Michael Kee received the first Leadership Lake Norman L.A.K.E. Award from Chamber President & CEO Bill Russell

(From Left to Right) Tim Holder – Vice President of Sales and Economic Development for EnergyUnited, Sally Ashworth – Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, Tricia Sisson – Co-owner of The Range at Lake Norman and Huntersville Deputy Police Chief Michael Kee received the first Leadership Lake Norman L.A.K.E. Award from Chamber President & CEO Bill Russell

A policeman, a hotel director of sales, a   marketing representative, and a utility employee: what do they all have in common? Each of them have participated in and graduated from a leadership program and have excelled in their field of occupation emerging as community leaders for the Lake Norman region.  Huntersville Deputy Police Chief Michael Kee, Sally Ashworth – Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, Tricia Sisson – Co-owner of The Range at Lake Norman, and Tim Holder, V.P. of Sales and Economic Development for EnergyUnited were recognized by their peers at a recent Leadership Lake Norman alumni event.

Leadership Lake Norman is a program to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing visionary and progressive leadership for the Lake Norman region.  The program was developed and is administered by the Lake Norman Chamber with approximately 950 business members serving the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and greater Lake Norman region.  Approximately 300 business leaders have graduated from the program since it was created in 1997.  The four were recognized at the graduation of Leadership Lake Norman Class XVI (2012-2013) that was held at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius.

Bill Russell, President and CEO of the Chamber, told a group of leadership graduates and alumni that eleven judges, composed of  alumni and Chamber officers, examined the business careers and community impact of graduates from the first fifteen classes of the program.  Russell said a recognition called the L.A.K E award representing “Leaders Achieving Key Endeavors” will be presented annually to Leadership alumni who have excelled in the field of: Municipal, Non-Profit, Business / Entrepreneur, and Corporate Leadership.

Deputy Chief Kee, a lieutenant when he went through the program in 2001, has steadily risen though the ranks at the Huntersville Police Department and this past year assisted the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department as a member of the Democratic National Convention Command Staff.  Sally Ashworth has served as the first Chairman of the Board and now Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, a successful catalyst for producing significant economic impacts in the North Mecklenburg market through travel and tourism.  Ashworth also serves on the Board of the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Travel & Tourism Division, the N.C. Travel & Tourism Coalition, and the N.C. Travel Industry Association    

While Tricia Sisson is a national account manager for the Clorox Sales Company, she and her husband Brian (also a Leadership graduate), and their partners Dave and Trish Stukbauer opened The Range at Lake Norman, the first woman owned gun range in North Carolina.  Sisson also served as Chairman of the Board of the Lake Norman Charter School from 2010-2012.

Tim Holder began the leadership program as a business development manager for EnergyUnited Electric Membership Corporation, and since has emerged as a dynamic leader in the economic development field.  He represented the Chamber on a steering committee in 2003 which formed the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation (Serving as Chair for the first three years) and serves on the board of the N.C.EDC Association as well as the Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corporation and the Lincoln County Economic Development Association.

Russell told the graduates and alumni of the Leadership Lake Norman program, “These community and business leaders represent the ideals of the leadership program.  To improve your business and personal skills and use those abilities and talents to make your community and the Lake Norman region a better place to live, work, and visit.”

Applications and information for Leadership XVII will be made available via the Lake Norman Chamber’s website at or by calling the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce at 704-892-1922 mid June.


The Hidden Consequence of Leadership

W.E. "Bill" Russell, CCE

Last year, a young man stopped into the Lake Norman Chamber and inquired about membership.  He, like many in our region, had been caught up in the corporate downsizing of the recent recession.  Shawn Brodof saw this not as a setback, but as an opportunity to pursue a career as a business coach and consultant.      Any one who has attended a workshop facilitated by Shawn, read his book The Termite Effect, or perhaps been coached by him, knows that Shawn approaches his decision making carefully as he examines the options looking to maximize both its potential and reward.  Shawn was eager to hear how the Chamber could benefit his new business – Clarity Coaching – and was upfront in telling me he wanted to examine other area chambers of commerce, leads groups, and business associations.

He listened intently as I shared how the Chamber could help promote, serve, and represent his business.  We talked not only about the relationships he could build through business networking but how the Chamber impacted his family and their quality of life as we work on advocacy issues such as transportation, education, health care, and business growth.

I then asked him to experience the difference membership could make in his new business by participating in our seminars and networking events as my guest.  I wasn’t surprise when he joined.  Quite simply, if anyone takes the time to attend a Chamber workshop, seminar, or networking event, and really participates, they will see for themselves the benefit of membership.  The real strength of our Chamber is not in the words of its executive or the Board of Directors but in the membership itself and how each of you support and learn from each other.

Shawn volunteered to facilitate a series of business workshops and quickly built a strong following of business members who benefited from his coaching and the lessons he had learned in his career.  While the membership appreciated his seminars, Shawn began learning from them as well and just a few months ago, published his first book gleaned from many of those sessions: The Termite Effect: 25 Common Business Mistakes and Their Hidden Consequences.

The premise of the book is the hidden damage that unseen business problems, much like termites, can do if precautions are not heeded.  Shawn created not just a plan for success, detailing the most common mistakes business owners can make, he created an interactive workbook to lay out a plan of success and blueprint to work the plan.

Shawn Brodof

In chapter seven, Shawn discusses our own unique abilities and the fact that most business owners who have truly found their “sweet spot” don’t consider work to be “WORK”.  They’re simply having fun at what they are doing.

He quoted Warren Buffett who said, “In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.”  Shawn Brodof is an example of how much we grow ourselves when we help others reach past self imposed limitations to become the absolute best. 

Termites can crumble the strongest foundations and like the termite, our challenges can shake our very core. We build stronger businesses and better communities when we recognize the promises of tomorrow in the challenges of today and the fulfillment that touching lives along the way can make. That may just be the hidden consequence of leadership.

Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership

handsA decade ago, I met a woman who served as an instructor at the United States Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management.  In 2000, I graduated from the program for Chamber of Commerce Executives which took place in Charleston, South Carolina.  There we discussed the means by which we could be “masters” of our given professions.  Throughout the program which took place for a week over four years, we discussed topics ranging from ethical leadership to volunteer development. Perhaps the message which made the most impact on me was a piece shared by one of our instructors on the Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership.

Dr. Kent M. Keith, wrote the commandments which were later used by Mother Teresa.  The statements were thought provoking for me and I think you will find them meaningful as well.  Keith writes:

People are illogical, unreasonable and self centered.  Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.  Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest ideas.  Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.  Build anyway.

People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them.  Help them anyway.   

Keith saved what I felt was the best for last.  He said, “Give the world the best you have andann marie you’ll get kicked in the teeth.   But give the world the best you have anyway.”   Simple truths for challenging times.  Sometimes they seem too difficult to put into practice.   Perhaps…. but wouldn’t it be great –  just to do it anyway?