Neither a stormy economy nor soggy fairways could keep last week’s Swinging for Scholars golf fundraiser from being another huge success. Unseasonably cool temperatures greeted participants as they arrived at The Harvester and light rainfall passed through the area as golfing got underway, but spirits remained high as participants enjoyed one of Iowa’s premiere golf courses.
By mid-afternoon, the skies cleared, the temperature rose and at the end of the day more than $130,000 was raised to support students seeking health care careers in Iowa hospitals.
Participants (more than 190 people registered for this year’s event) also enjoyed an outstanding morning program, featuring keynote speaker Brian Brown, a former world-class high jumper who now directs the Drake Relays.
While the focus of Brown’s presentation was leadership, his first order of business was to recognize recipients of the Iowa Hospital Education and Research Foundation Health Care Careers Scholarship who were in the audience and recall how scholarships made a difference in his life.
“If it wasn’t for someone else seeing something in me and making a scholarship available to me, there is no way I would be standing before you right now.”
Brown added that his mother, despite her seventh-grade education, pressed him to keep on learning, all the way to the doctorate degree he received in 2005.
Brown talked at length about his keys to leadership, including vision, sacrifice and character. Another critical element, he said, is service and the ability to relate to people at a level that transcends a leader’s rank in the organization
“You’ve got to love people more than your position. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. People will listen once they know you have their heart and you care for them as individuals.”
He noted that at the Drake Relays he still rakes out long jump landing pits and helps gather litter, but one of his most important jobs is to let the best people do their jobs.
“My job is stay out of the way. I still set expectations, I still challenge them, but I don’t pretend to know how to do something someone else has been doing for 45 years.”
Watch the blog this week as we work to edit our videos with each of the scholarship winners.