Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, explained several leadership principles from his book “Love Works” during Monday’s Convocation, his first visit to Liberty University. The book was inspired by Manby’s personal experiences on the CBS reality-TV series “Undercover Boss” in March 2010.
Manby has had a successful career in the automobile industry, where, as a member of the startup team for Saturn Corporation, he was instrumental in launching Saturn’s innovative marketing and distribution strategy. He also worked for GM’s international division and was CEO of Saab Automobile USA.
Manby said there is a “false sense” and “belief that business is ‘inherently evil.’” He encouraged them to not “buy into that lie.”
“You can be a caring person and still be a great leader. You can be one person at home, church, and work, and not have to be different if you go into the office,” Manby said. “You can live out your faith in anything you do in life.”
Manby said the view of the business world is often about achieving success and “the bottom line,” but through the example of Jack Herschend (co-founder of Herschend Family Entertainment), he discovered that one can “be profitable and loving” at the same time.
He went in-depth on the leadership principles of unselfishness, kindness, truthfulness, and dedication derived from 1 Corinthians 13, sharing stories about each value.
“I want you to walk away knowing that love works. And it doesn’t just work with your Christian friends, your family, if you are a full-time missionary in Africa, it doesn’t just work with those you like,” Manby said.
As a result of his experience on “Undercover Boss,” where he went into the workplace at Herschend Family Entertainment and worked blue-collar positions, Manby was able to help several people in the company that he met after learning their stories.
He spoke about Share it Forward, a foundation unique to Herschend Family Entertainment, where every employee has the option of donating money off their earnings, which are matched dollar for dollar for the needs of those in the company. This includes hardship assistance, a single parent program, scholarship program, and child assistance programs.
Manby encouraged students to remember that loving others actively and sincerely is the “only way to display Christianity.”
He quoted his friend Pastor Andy Stanley as a charge to students and encouraged them to not get overwhelmed by an excess of need: “Don’t be overwhelmed by it all and miss the opportunity to help somebody — pick one or pick two people. Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. That’s one way you can show love in anything you do. Think about who God is putting on your mind to help.”