Presidential Legacy Spotlight: Neil Hanes
Your name: Neil A. Hanes
Occupation: Executive & Personal Development Coach
Year you were President: 2015
How many years were you a Jaycee: 4+
1.) What made you want to join the Jaycees?
I had never heard of the Jaycees until I started working at Swift Kennedy & Associates, Inc. Past President, and Distinguished Service Award winner [George Heigel] approached me one day in the office and told me about the organization. I was instantly intrigued and decided to attend their monthly meeting that very night. It was within the week that I had found myself working the Greater DuBois Chamber / Jaycees Golf Outing, just three days later. It was at that moment that I realized what kind of a unique networking opportunity that I had in front of me by becoming an active member.
2.) What was the most memorable moment you had during your tenure in the Jaycees organization?
I have a few moments that I've always kept with me during my journey. The first would be the night I presented one of our scholarships to a young lady at her high school awards ceremony. She had a remarkable story and I felt honored to share it with others. By the end of my speech I had this incredible sensation after gazing over to her as she realized I had been referring to her. It was [as if] I had just cast a light on an individual whom may not have spent much time in the spotlight until that night. The smile on her face as I called her name made everything we (Jaycees) do throughout the year worthwhile.
The second moment happened just last year while attending the JCI National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. During the welcoming party I had the privilege of meeting 2017 JCI World President, Dawn Hetzel. The respect that others had for her and the way that she carried herself around the room was truly inspirational. I had left that celebration with a newfound desire to make a difference within the JCI organization. In addition to this I would have to say that visiting the JCI World Headquarters while attending the National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri was quite the eye-opening experience. Walking through those doors, I had realized that this organization was something bigger than ourselves. It was after this realization that I knew I wanted to continue my pursuit in recruiting new members so they can realize this for themselves.
3.) What was the most valuable lesson your learned in being a part of the Jaycees?
I would have to say the biggest lesson that I have learned during my time with the Jaycees is that anyone can become a leader if they choose to. I am a strong believer that leaders are not born, they are created. I came into the organization as a slightly shy individual who became anxious around larger crowds. It wasn't until later that I realized I was deserving to be at these places, among these large crowds. I was surrounded by members of the Jaycees who challenged and assisted me in becoming the strong leader that I am today.
4.) What would you tell those who were interested in the joining Jaycees?
People [these days] tend to find themselves lost. It's within these times that some become followers. My advice to you would be: "don't be afraid to step out on your own if it means that you will grow as a person". If you are someone who has always wanted to make a difference but was unsure how; I would suggest coming to a meeting and getting to know us better. During my time within the organization I have seen friendships formed, bonds made, and love found.
5.) What was your favorite Jaycee event?
I'm not sure I can narrow it down to just one. I would have to say that I really enjoy the golf outing(s) as well as our lottery event. During these events, we have the most fun, even when they require the majority of the work that we put in during the year. They are some of the more attended events and that's what makes it such a great atmosphere, when the entire membership is in one place at one time.