Héctor Colón’s Journey From Boxing Ring to Boardroom

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#61 – You might know Héctor Colón as a seven-time U.S. national boxing champion.

But did you know that Héctor decided to leave boxing right when he was at the top of his career?

Why? Because that’s when he decided to pursue servant leadership and dedicate his life to the betterment of society.

In this episode, Jeremy Keil interviews Héctor Colón, who is now the president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS), and the author of “From Boxing Ring to Boardroom.” Today, Héctor is here to share his inspiring life journey.

Héctor discusses:

  • The calling of faith that encouraged him to step out of the boxing ring forever
  • How he managed to improve LSS’ finances significantly in a short time
  • 5 essential virtues for life and leadership
  • And more

Héctor Colón’s Journey From Boxing Ring to Boardroom

1) The Calling

Héctor Colón has been a seven-time U.S. national boxing champion. In fact, during the peak of his boxing career, he competed in the 1992 Olympic trials.

However, he later decided to leave his Olympic dreams.

What happened? On December 27th, 1992, Héctor visited Holy Hill and bought his first Bible. That day, his life changed forever!

After a year of prayer and discernment, Héctor felt a strong calling away from boxing –– a sport where hurting other people, or getting hurt was inevitable.

That’s when he found servant leadership. Since then, Héctor has dedicated his life to the betterment of society. Today, he serves as the president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS).

2) Five Questions That Transformed the LSS

LSS serves nearly 30,000 individuals on an annual basis, with 93% of them indicating that their quality of life has improved through LSS’ services.

Whether it’s a child in crisis, a family in turmoil, someone struggling with severe mental illness or addiction, or a refugee who is fleeing from war and persecution, LSS helps all individuals live their best lives and become productive members of society.

When Héctor joined LSS, the organization was struggling with its finances. It had met only two budgets over the past 10 years and lost over $10 million.

During this time of financial instability, Héctor used the following five questions to transform LSS:

  • What are the biggest challenges the organization is facing?
  • Why are we facing those challenges?
  • What are some of our biggest opportunities for growth?.
  • What do we need to do to leverage those opportunities?
  • If you were me, what would you focus your attention on?

The answers and insights to these questions from nearly 800 LSS colleagues transformed the entire organization!

Think about it… perhaps you, too, can leverage these questions to improve your organization.

3) Sharing the Virtues With the World

In his book “From Boxing Ring to Boardroom,” Héctor discusses five essential virtues for life and leadership.

You can learn more about what they are and their practical applications by reading the book, but here’s a brief overview for now:

a) Magnanimity: This one is all about striving for greatness. Alexandre Havard, in his book “Created for Greatness,” says that this is the virtue of personal excellence i.e., developing daily habits and routines to bring out the best in you.

b) Humility: As Héctor Colón has rightly said, “Servant leadership holds the keys and the power to transform organizations while putting their employees first.”

c) Courage: It’s important to face your fears. Drawing from his boxing experience, Héctor very well explains the importance of courage in his book, and how it helped him enter the boxing ring with confidence.

d) Perseverance: Never give up. No matter how many times we fail, if we continue to fight back, we can overcome our biggest challenges.

e) Temperance: This virtue is often overlooked by a lot of people. Every leader, or rather every individual needs self-control and restraint that keeps them on the right path.

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Make sure you check out the resources below to learn more about servant leadership and the virtues of life and leadership.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or reach out directly to Héctor Colón using the information below!

Resources:

Connect With Héctor Colón:

Connect With Jeremy Keil:

About Our Guest:

Héctor Colón is the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS). Under Colón’s visionary and innovative leadership, LSS has adapted new models and business strategies to increase relevancy and operational efficiency. Héctor was recently named the Nonprofit Executive of the Year by BizTimes Media and the Hispanic Man of the year by UMOS. Héctor won seven national titles in boxing and competed in the 1992 Olympic trials. However, at the height of his boxing career, he stepped away from his Olympic dreams to serve God.

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