Current leaders grilled by future leaders

May 30, 2011

Last week, our Amway president and chairman were both inducted into the West Michigan Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement, following the steps of their fathers.

This year’s event was not all suits and ties and speeches (although there were plenty of those). Kids had a big role to play.

Junior Achievement students served not only as the emcees and storytellers. They also served as a panel of hard-hitting interviewers that grilled the new inductees.

The very first question for Amway President Doug DeVos was, “What did you do when you got all of that money?”

Before the crowd stopped chuckling, Doug was ready with his philosophy for money management: “You save some, you spend some, and you share some.”

Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel was also given a pretty direct question: “Is your job hard?”

He laughed and shared that both he and Doug had just gotten back from overseas trips. With the long hours and jet lag he hardly knew which time zone he was in. But he talked about how much he liked the job, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

The remaining questions, while awkward for an adult to ask, were what many of may secretly want to hear. Yet our business leaders were honest and open about their experience running a $9 billion business with a family legacy attached to it.

In the end, the event reflected the Junior Achievement experience. It humanizes business and business leaders, and allows students to learn about economics and business on their terms.

After all, aren’t these young students the future leaders?

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