Leading businessman encourages listeners to make a difference

March 18, 2010

Writer: Writer: Colby Flint

Rodney Hawes, a successful entrepreneur and former chairman and CEO of Life Re Corporation, told listeners to "remember to make a difference," during today's Newell K. Whitney Summit forum at Brigham Young University-Idaho.


"We must all run our own race in life," he said. "And the number of people greeting us at the finish line is probably in proportion to the number of lives we have touched in a positive way along life's journey."


Hawes, who is on the National Advisory Council of the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business, a member of the Board of Dean's Advisors at Harvard Business School, and a developer for the Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchise, told stories about people he knew who had made a difference in the lives of others. He said one of his former classmates at Harvard has made a difference by lending money to Palestinians in Israel to help them become independent and self-sufficient. Another acquaintance has made a difference by building 130 schools for people in Pakistan.


He also pointed out that there are many ways to make a difference without money. As an example, he told the story of an old friend who contracted a rare form of cancer. As a youth leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she continued to meet with her group of 16-17-year-old girls while she was sick. Because of these meetings, one girl, who had previously stopped attending religious meetings decided to return to the Church. Hawes' friend, who passed away from the illness, said that alone made her cancer worth it.


In addition to talking about making a difference, Hawes also read and expounded on two lists he has made throughout his career: 16 business lessons he has learned over the last 50 years, and 11 tips for becoming a better manager or leader. Then, he brought the subject full-circle, connecting how those tips can allow individuals to make a difference.


To conclude, Hawes spoke about three things that can change people's lives spiritually: having the faith of a child, sharing the gospel, and paying tithing.


"Remember who are, that you're a child of God," he said. "Remember that your major objective in life is not the gain of wealth, but if gained it is for the purpose of helping others. Remember that your major purpose in life is to prepare to return home to your Heavenly Father, and along life's way, to help as many of your earthly brothers and sisters as possible to do the same. Remember to make a difference."