Creative Leaders Spark Change Around The World

Creative Leaders spark change around the world.

In my last blog I introduced the concept of the creative edge. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge. The  qualities of a  creative leader are:  Courageous, Resourceful, Enthusiastic, Authentic, Tenacious, Inspired, Vibrant, Empowered.

Meet Jonny Imerman

 

  imerman

Jonny Imerman was a typical college graduate, working in real estate during the day and attending classes at night for his MBA. Jonny played basketball, worked out at the gym and hung out with friends. Then at 26 his life changed.

 Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he underwent five months of chemotherapy and was declared clear. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine which required another surgery, an 11-inch incision and three months of recovery.

Jonny has been cancer-free since 2003. He left the business world behind and began Imerman Angels a not-for-profit organization that connects a person fighting with cancer with someone who has survived and beaten the same type of cancer. The mission is to provide a big brother or sister to help inspire, provide tips and knowledge. They have created a global healing community of over 4000 survivors and 1500 caregivers . The service is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer living in 60 countries around the world for free.

Rae: What inspired you to create Imerman Angels?

Jonny: “I had made a vow to myself during the time that I was battling cancer. I had looked at others in the oncology clinic and realized that I was different. Each day, my mom was there.She was there every step of the way.  My room was filled with family and friends. As I walked down the hall with my chemotherapy IV-pole on the way to the bathroom, I saw other people fighting cancer alone. They were lying in bed, motionless, watching television or staring in space.  I knew this was not right. It really upset me. So I started chatting with other cancer patients.I’ d say hi my name is Jonny. We could talk about our emotions, our experiences, things our family couldn’t get like sucking on lemonheads to get the metallic taste out of our mouth.

“I wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor who was uniquely familiar with their experience; who not only had beaten the same type and stage of cancer, but who also was the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel- walking, living proof that the fighter could win, too. What an amazing connection. “

“Let’s say a 19 year old girl at University of Richmond get’s sick, she is alone and afraid. She can go on facebook and talk to an angel  to find out know what is going to happen to her,” how sick will I get, will I be able to have kids?   Also cancer caregivers, family members and friends also benefit from one-on-one connections with other caregivers and survivors.

 Rae: How would you define courage?

 Jonny:  Courage, when you reach a certain point where you absolutely have no fear of failure.You don’t listen to other people saying others have had that idea. Ultimately courage is listening to your own voice and believing that you can do it.

Rae:     What are the qualities of a great leader?catalyst of change

Johnny:   I think a great leader, number one is focused on a mission. A great leader believes in the service for the product that they’re delivering.  They believe in their soul, every part of their body, everything about them screams that they get it. They’re so fired up to build it and that’s what creates a movement. They have unwavering passion.

Rae: What is your definition of success?

 Jonny:” For me it’s really simply we’re changing lives, we’re improving lives in cancer, we’re making a difference.  I think the most successful people in the world are the people in social enterprise that are building a for-profit company that has a social component that makes the world a better place or nonprofits that simply make the world a better place. 

Rae: What continues to drive you?

Jonny: I love people. Everyone’s got a story. Everyone has been through challenges. I always say that if you talk to somebody for five minutes there’s always something that you don’t know that they do. You can learn from their experiences.

Rae:  What would you say to somebody who said they don’t know how make a difference but would like to?

 Johnny:    I think what you need to do is to dig deep and you think about what your family  has been touched by. It could be diabetes or cancer. Get in touch with one of the groups  that serve people in those arenas and start volunteering.  Be part of the solution.


If you want to be part of the solution visit www.ImermanAngels.org for information on how to support or join the network of cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.

Cancer used to be said in a whisper. Now we have football players marching down the field in pink. How did that happen? We have people sharing their story or their families challenges. We have  creative leaders like Jonny Imerman  who brought to light the problems young adults face with cancer and did something about it .

If you know a Creative Leader who I should feature…please write me.

 

 

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