Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to own the company. It’s not related to the amount of money you make, the prestige of the university you attended, the number of people that report to you, or the titles you’ve held. Simply stated, being a leader means inspiring others to think or act differently based on your living example. And these people – “everyday leaders” – can be found in every community, quietly living their lives, and making a difference in the lives of others.
From time to time, we will highlight some of these everyday leaders in our blog, starting today with DANIELLE CLOSS of New Baltimore. Danielle is a stay-at-home mom of two who has turned her personal loss into an opportunity to help others.
Like so many others in Southeast Michigan, Danielle has had loved ones touched by cancer. Most recently, her grandmother, Pat Tabenske, lost an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. After hearing countless tales of loss from friends and associates, Danielle was called to get up and do something about it – to join the fight against cancer.
Having just recently completed her first 5k run, Danielle decided to organize a 5K run/walk to raise awareness and support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, an organization that helped educate her grandmother while she was undergoing treatment. “Completing my first 5k was such a rush that I found myself wanting to run more. My husband and I have two friends who are marathon runners so I knew we could persuade them to join us – meaning I could count on at least two participants!” she said with a chuckle.
She put together a plan and in just five short weeks the “First Annual Pancreatic Cancer 5k” was formed. When the day arrived last October, over 75 people ran, jogged, skipped, or walked briskly through the 3.1 mile course along beautiful East China Park. Over $1400 was donated to support cancer that day and a new family tradition was born.
“Through organizing this race,” stated Closs, “I learned how hard people are willing to work for something they feel passionately about.” Only 10 of the 75 participants had signed up as runners (versus walkers), yet when the race began that morning, EVERY person started by running. “It was amazing,” continued Closs “and it made me feel great to see that the runners in front had motivated so many others. There were people who had never run a day in their life before, from age 7 to age 60, and they were able to complete it for this important cause. It was absolutely inspiring.”
This year, October 22 will mark the “Second Annual Pancreatic Cancer Run” in East China Township. Closs is working diligently to promote this year’s event and meet their goal of 150 participants. She has set up web-site to promote the event, a Facebook fan page, and an on-line registration process. Sponsors are being sought to underwrite the timing chips, race shirts, facility and refreshments, as well as donation/prizes for winners.
One of my favorite quotes is by Margaret Mead who said “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.” Danielle Closs is one such thoughtful person, who step by step, is leading by example. Please join Danielle and help drive the charge against cancer. To find out more, please visit the Second Annual Pancreatic Cancer Run web-site here.
Susan Dooley is a Corporate Trainer and Leadership Coach with Dale Carnegie/Ralph Nichols Group, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. New classes are forming now – please contact us for more information. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.