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posted: 4/12/2017 1:00 AM

Naperville speaker pens book about core values

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  • John G. Blumberg, a Naperville business owner and national speaker, recently wrote his third book. Through the book, and his public speaking, he helps leaders discover their core values, which are then shared.

    John G. Blumberg, a Naperville business owner and national speaker, recently wrote his third book. Through the book, and his public speaking, he helps leaders discover their core values, which are then shared.
    Courtesy of Keynote Concepts Inc.

  • Pat Szpekowski

    Pat Szpekowski

  • Michael McKiernan

    Michael McKiernan


Growing up in Memphis, John G. Blumberg was a leader in high school -- the person who was in front of the crowd directing the pep rally or working as emcee for other events.

The seeds were planted way back then. Blumberg is now a national public speaker, running his Keynote Concepts Inc. business in Naperville. Blumberg recently finished his third book, titled "Return on Integrity: The New Definition of ROI and Why Leaders Need to Know It." He says this book was written for company leaders at the top and the CEO. Using the practices from the book, Blumberg now works with these company leaders in holding retreats and conferences. He says he is inspiring a movement among top executives to engage the intersection of personal and organization core values as the most impactful resource available to them as a leader.

In the book and through his one-on-one development sessions, he asks "top leadership to dig deep, to discover the most untapped strategic resource available to you as a leader." The shovel on the cover of the book ties in with the theme. Through the book, and his public speaking, he helps leaders discover their core values, which are then shared with the leadership team and ultimately to the entire organization.

"Core values are not just a guide; they should be the basis of every decision and action in your organization," said Blumberg, who lives in Naperville.

He started his business 21 years ago, leaving an 18-year corporate career with Arthur Andersen where he was a CPA and held worldwide recruiting responsibilities. "It was a huge risk," said Blumberg, 61. "I left Arthur Andersen because I wanted to be a professional speaker. My dream is about the message," he said, adding that he reaches audiences in 10 countries on three continents.

The new Return on Integrity is the value built between personal and organizational core values -- a stronger organization built on a stronger base, he says. "The new ROI is also the return CEOs and your leadership team experience by living and leading with integrity," he added.

Recognition earned

Benedictine University's Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Business Administration in Values-Driven Leadership Program was recognized as a Top 10 Ph.D. program in's 2017 Leadership Excellence and Development Awards.

The doctoral program, designed for senior executives, received the No. 1 ranking in the annual listing of the best doctoral programs with emphasis in leadership and organizational development. This is the second year Benedictine's program has made the list. In 2016, it was ranked No. 5.

For the past 34 years, the LEAD Awards have identified the best leadership/human resources development programs and organizations around the world. Past winners have included Fortune 500 companies, small startups, colleges and universities. Each year, hundreds of educational institutions and business organizations submit their nominations to be reviewed by the LEAD Awards panel. To qualify for a LEAD award, institutions must submit a nomination that is reviewed by a team at Surveys are sent to the program participants to gather feedback. The winners are chosen based on the quantity and quality of the ratings and the number of participants in the program.

Women's Press awards

Pat Szpekowski, president of PR Strategies and Communications in Elgin, was awarded three-first place, two-second place and an honorable mention in the Illinois Woman's Press Association 2017 communications contest.

She achieved first place in the PR materials category for reports -- Dundee Township Meadowdale Raceway Woods Trails Map as well as newsletters -- Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce. As a freelance writer, she was awarded first place for the feature cover story written on Culinary Chicago in the spring 2016 Edition of Air Chicago Magazine, the quarterly publication of the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Two second place honors were for three stories written in The Observer, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Rockford: "Hitting the Right Notes," which features a member of the music ministry at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Elgin; "Adoption ... a Family Tradition" on the adoption journey through Catholic Charities of a Lake in the Hills couple; and "St. Charles Couple Thrust Into Work of Mercy," regarding the couple's brave rescue of a neighbor.

The honorable mention recognized the feature cover story on the opening of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture published in Fly Washington Magazine, the quarterly publication of the Metropolitan Washington Airports in Washington, D.C., published by Ten Thirty Media LLC.

Coaching experience

Michael McKiernan, a veteran of nearly 30 years in the commercial real estate industry, has formed Coach Mike McKiernan, a consulting initiative focused on coaching individual brokers and brokerage teams on how to be more efficient and productive as they work to serve the needs of their clients.

In describing his role as a coach, McKiernan cited the words of legendary Hall of Fame Coach Tom Landry who said, "A coach is someone who gets you to do what you don't want to do, so you can be who you want to be."

After launching a career in industrial real estate brokerage, McKiernan held a variety of sales management and executive management roles with Grubb & Ellis, Cushman & Wakefield and Avison Young. The roles he served were focused on local, regional and national business operations. Most recently, after opening Avison Young's Chicago office, McKiernan returned to the world of industrial brokerage.

"A perspective that includes brokerage, operations and management gives me a unique insight to help individual, broker teams and brokerage firms stretch to achieve their goals, perform according to client expectations and produce better overall results," McKiernan said. "The ultimate outcome could be making more money, or being more efficient in a way that enhances work-life balance."