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Leaders We Look up to

We sat down (virtually, of course) with a few men in our community who work tirelessly to make the world a better place.  We think they are worth a round of applause. Join us, this month, in saluting the guys. We asked them four questions.

1. Tell us about one or two men who inspired you during your life and career.

2. How do you blow off steam and relax?

3. Giving back is very important to us at Johns Creek Lifestyle magazine. How do you give back your time and/or resources?

4. We pray that by the time this June issue hits mailboxes, we will all be out and about. Where will you go for a special dinner in our community?

Chris Shearer, Principal, Johns Creek High School

1. My biggest male influence growing up was my Grandfather. He was a larger-than-life person to me. He was mayor of the town he lived in, and was in that role for over 20 years, and he ran a successful business, a local restaurant everyone frequented. So, for me, especially when I was young, it was fun to be around him and I looked up to him due to his standing in the community. He passed away when I was 12 and it was devastating.

2. I walk every night to wind down from the day. But, as far as blowing off steam, I love playing lacrosse. I play in a senior men’s league, Old Guy Lacrosse. I’ve participated since its inception almost a decade ago. Just love the game.

3.  I’ve coached youth sports in my community for 15 years. I love it. Since becoming an educational leader, its been my classroom. For the last decade, I’ve spent my time coaching girls lacrosse. From rec to select to club, I’ve coached at all levels. I love it and look forward to each season.

4. I love Romeo’s Pizza and Madras Chettinaad.

Kent Davies, Johns Creek Rotary

1. I  have a personal group I call ‘My Brain-Trust’. It is composed of people that I use to consult with and learn from. Over the years this group has evolved and changed. I’ve been fortunate with many great mentors over the years.  Two standouts from this group is, of course, my father, Howard Davies. He was a spiritual & community leader in his rural town. He was like an old-time TV dad, setting an almost perfect example of balancing his family (8 kids), small farm, career and church responsibility all at the same time. He had a different and unique way of teaching each of his 8 children. His example of building meaningful relationships has lasted me a lifetime. As we did farm work he often sang aloud a song “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today”. The second one I would hi-lite is a very successful man I worked for when I was still in my twenties. Russ Umphenour. I credit him with much of my business success throughout my life. He taught me the concept of ‘Brain-Trust’, belief in self, power of team, and to engage in life-changing work. He was not an easy person to work for since he demanded ‘excellence’ in all things but he led with example. 

2.    I "Sharpen the Saw" (blow off steam & relax) by various methods that also have positive physical and mental exercise impact by speed walking 2-3 miles daily with my wife Susan in our neighborhood and weekly at beautiful Gibbs Gardens in the N. Georgia mountains, by playing piano or guitar (or more properly stated ‘play with’ rather than play great), by "puzzlelating" (my wife & I always have a 1000 piece in process), and by travel. My wife & I have been in 40 different countries, many multiple times. My travel has included 5 near-death experiences and a near kidnapping (all memorable & exhilarating). Finally, I relax by watching history or archeology documentaries. 

3. I love being involved, meeting wonderful people, and being a part of making a difference in ‘Life’ with people, business and community. I currently serve in many capacities where I try to balance life like my father's example of doing many things well simultaneously. Some people believe that you can only focus on one thing at a time. I totally disagree. I believe in the concept of ‘Good to Great’ where one extra effort on a regular basis makes a difference between lives being ‘good’ and being ‘great’, including your own. Currently, I serve as Rotary Johns Creek N.Fulton designate President-Elect for year ’21-22’, as CEO Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, as Vice-Chair/Chairman-Elect Gwinnett Technical College Board of Trustees, as Director of Public Affairs for 70 faith congregations, VP/President-President-Elect Johns Creek Arts Center, Board Atlanta International Music Academy/Festival, as well as various community service committees.  

4. I have already gone for special dinners in our community by supporting them during this exceptional time by doing take out from them, including some of my favorites like Sugos, Pampas, and even KFC.