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11.29.18 – SPOKES Notes & Photos

SPOKES Notes written by Shannon Kolarik

Jamie introduced our Interact students which we had quite a few of today! Emma Battle, Mark Boeve, Raenah Lindsey, Nicholas Merritt, Maia Newkirk, Lauren Sytsma from East Grand Rapids and Tyreece Banks, Ben Swedberg, Christian Voetberg, Anastasia Watson from Grand Rapids Christian.

We have a new member – Kelly Hutchings who is sponsored by Leslee Fritz and Danielle. Be sure to find her and say hello!

Leslee Fritz introduced our keynote speaker, Dr. Joe Stowell, President of Cornerstone University, noting his many publishing collaborations including Our Daily Bread, that he is a former pastor, and came from Moody Bible Institute to join Cornerstone University in 2008.

Dr. Stowell started his program today by recognizing that West Michigan is very educationally rich. And that affordability of college education is getting to be a problem and many students have significant debt when they graduate. He went on to mention that STEM is changing the environment of education. Companies want skilled workers who are innovative and have design thinking. But they also want students with soft skills like character. He believes character is the differentiator in developing a flourishing corporate culture. The infusion of character into a corporate culture starts at the top.

Dr. Stowell continued with the first character quality in leadership being humility. “If God had not given the gifts he gave to you, at the end of the day, you would be nothing”, said Dr. Stowell. Being willing to admit when you are wrong is crucial to a healthy work culture. “President Reagan had the motto that ‘There’s no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit’. Humility is a powerful movement.” – Dr. Stowell.

A second character quality that is vitally important is to acknowledge the worth and value of every single individual in the organization.

A third is integrity. Do what is right. Dr. Stowell used “Little Jack Horner” as a metaphor for leaders who run their corporations without integrity. “What was Jack doing in the corner anyway? Where did he get a whole pie? and Why were his fingers in it? Jack was clearly not a good boy.” – Dr. Stowell.

A fourth is the virtue of gratitude. Just say thank you. The further down the employment food chain you can do that, the more meaningful it can be.

A few years ago, Cornerstone University launched a “Virtue Project” to get their students on the right path for acquiring these characteristics and more:




Self Discipline






Staff is expected to model these virtues for the student population so that Cornerstone’s students can go into their careers and help their corporate cultures flourish.

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