2022 PCON President Brian Nock
One of the qualities that stands out about you is your ability to problem solve and create processes in instances where there was no process before. How much of this is natural talent and how much of it comes from experience and learning?
As long as I’m not creating problems where there was no problem before, I’ll take the compliment; thank you! I suppose this is really a question of nature and nurture, and I believe both impact who people are and who they become. In my case, I received a 2–foot, wooden step ladder for Christmas in 1996 and I still have and use it; I was 5. From the time I could walk, I’ve been interested in how things work (and don’t work), collecting (and using!) tools in the physical sense. No surprise: I studied civil engineering, started my career in an operations role, and have a mousepad that says “oh, this calls for a spreadsheet”. I think I was born with an inclination for solutioning and rigor, and I’ve reinforced it through my upbringing and life experiences.
You were elected President of PCON this year, where do you think your leadership efforts are best focused?
From the Board to our Active Members, our Alumni, and our many community stakeholders, it’s an incredible group of leaders that I’m privileged to learn from and with. I like to think I practice servant-style leadership, and I hope that the membership and Board experience me in that way. My leadership strategy is to set a vision that allows everyone to contribute in a meaningful way, and that puts us on a path toward sustained, outsized impact. After we agree on the goal, I see it as my job to inspire, provide context, solve problems (ha!) and otherwise: to get out of the way. I want us to do cool things that matter, and we are.
You have been an active Phoenix Club member for 4+ years, what do you feel like the Club’s most notable achievements have been during this time?
I can be pedantic, so if I’m not careful, I’ll anchor on the word “notable”… instead, I’ll share some of the moments that have made me most proud. There’s a picture on the cover of our 2020 Annual Report of a dozen or more of our members participating in Book ‘Em’s reading program from early 2020, and I’m fond of that photo. Males are not involved enough in nonprofit work and volunteerism, and here we have a group of male business and community leaders taking time reading to elementary school students. It’s not that this is a particular achievement, but I think it represents who we are in character and ambition. I’ve been really proud to see and hear us have tough, introspective, serious conversations about areas where we need to change to do better to reach more diverse membership and partnerships; it’s a journey that we’ll continue working on. I also enjoy looking back at our grants over the years. There is a breadth of impact in many spaces from education and afterschool programs to food/hunger and tornado recovery. Perhaps not notable, but I won’t forget that in 2021, we bought a horse named Phoenix (and then two more!).
What one word would you use to describe yourself?
What is something you believed at 18 that you wish you still believed now?
An awful tough question to save for last… this sounds like a great question to answer on a late night in front of a fire. I don’t have an answer now, but I do believe that I believe most people are good and most mom’s ought to qualify for sainthood. I’ll credit Luke Bryan and the songwriters David Frasier, Ed Hill, and Josh Kear for that one. A more personal answer: I pictured myself having all my kids by age 30, but I’ll be 31 next month and I haven’t even started!