Shepherding in Success: A Leadership Expose on Dan Sheppard

“In West Chicago, born and raised, on the baseball field is where he spent most of his days. Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool and all, catching some baseballs outside of school.”

OK, OK , OK we’ll stop! Quoting Fresh Prince of Bel Air is clearly not our strong suit so we’ll stick to the marketing and sales. Oh, and bragging about our exemplary team members…that we do really well! If you’re new to this blog, welcome. If you’re returning after reading last week about Ms. Alex Pierce and Mr. Justin Hageman, welcome back!You’ll be happy to know that today we’re learning about another of South, Inc.’s finest, Mr. Dan Sheppard.

When we thought about what all we wanted to say about Dan, the ideas came flooding. Should we talk about his reliability, his “no excuses” mentality, his love for Friends reruns or his “down for whatever” attitude. Or perhaps we should talk about his loyalty, his ability to set the example for his teammates, or his competitive spirit! The ideas of where to take this blog were bountiful and we thought, for someone this special to our company, there’s no way we could pick just one. So grab some popcorn folks and get ready to learn ALL about South, Inc.’s MVP.

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From the time Dan can remember, he always had a baseball in hand. Starting in teeball and soon moving into competitive leagues, Dan was a natural at athletics and soon expanded his skillset into football, as well as baseball, in high school. After being scouted by the Chicago Cubs (amazing, right?) Dan made the decision to attend college and play collegiate baseball for the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes). We asked him if it was a difficult decision between deciding to play pro ball versus going to college and he surprised us by saying “the choice was actually really simple. A professional career in sports can easily be gone one day. But a degree cannot be taken away.”  So Dan did just that. He pursued his Bachelor’s, while excelling at his responsibilities as a student athlete and after graduating, immediately went to pursue his Master’s in Sports Management at Northern Illinois. Did we mention how smart he is (haha)?

After graduating with his Master’s, Dan decided to take a country wide road-trip with his best friends. While on his road-trip, he detoured to Nashville to participate in a preliminary and second interview with our company (talk about dedication!). We asked him what his immediate thoughts were about South, Inc. and he said this. “I walked in and you guys were blasting country music radio and I knew everything was going to be good from there!” Long story short, he knocked our socks off throughout the interviews and here we are a year later writing about what a major contributor he has been to our company’s success!

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One of the favorite characteristics we have about Dan is his loyalty. Dan lives life very simply, and by the motto that “great things take time.” Dan knew that in joining our company’s Management Training Program, the opportunity for growth and self-improvement would all be available, IF he was just loyal and dedicated his time to the process. Dan doesn’t know this, but he helps remind us to slow down and focus on the day to day responsibilities immediately at hand. He reminds us that you can plan extensively for your future but if you don’t take care of what comes today, it’s all fruitless. If you’re not loyal and willing to put the time into a company, you’ll find yourself searching for a new career every year.

We asked Dan who inspired him and he talked about his father. Something you may not know about Dan is that he comes from a family of self made entrepreneurs and actually grew up watching the successes of a small business owner firsthand.  When we asked him what thrilled him most about work, he talked about the relationships he had built in the office and the love he had for the team he got to oversee daily. Did we mention compassion in our list of adjectives earlier?!

If you’re wondering what Dan does to unwind after a successful week at work, we’ll give you a clue and tell you it involves popcorn! A massive cinephile, Dan loves to watch lots of movies as well as popular TV shows. Secret – (He’s watched Prison Break at least 3 times over – hahah!) Sixth months from now, we predict Dan is going to have hopefully found a new favorite show (JK!) and be promoted into a Junior Management position here at South, Inc.! After all, good things come to those who are loyal, work their butts off and never give up.

Dan – if you’re reading this, you are a true testament to the values here at South,Inc.; commitment, confidence, integrity and optimism. There are never enough words to thank you for all that you have done for our client and team. We wouldn’t be half the organization we are if it wasn’t for your undying loyalty and influence. Keep up the fantastic work and 2016 is yours for the taking!

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