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"A Holiday Double Feature"
Bernard DelGiorno, Jennifer Sampson,
Nick Akins, Joe Hamrock, 
George Barrett, Matt Habash


Holiday greetings from The Leadership Lyceum!  Welcome to our 14th episode of the podcast. ‘Tis the season of giving and we give you our holiday gift in the form of this holiday special double episode on Philanthropy.  We’ll cover the subject from a few different angles.

First. from the perspective of the giver – with our first guest, University of Chicago benefactor Bernard DelGiorno.  Bernie also advises his clients on charitable giving in his role in private wealth management at UBS.

Next, from the angle of the recipient.  We’ll glean the perspectives of Jennifer Sampson, CEO of The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.  Jennifer led a remarkable turnaround in Dallas and has led the development of programs that fund impactful and innovative social entrepreneurship. 

Finally, we introduce you to a group of public company CEO’s in Ohio that are leveraging their musical talents to raise money for charities in Ohio.  Two of the CEOs that we feature have the ultra-cool distinction of being board members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We feature the music of the CEO band, Power Chords throughout the music interludes in the program. 

Segment I: Bernard DelGiorno, University of Chicago benefactor

Segment II: Jennifer Sampson, CEO of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Segment III: The Ohio CEO band for charity - The Power Chords.  Perhaps it is not widely known that there is a group of several CEOs in Ohio have given their musical talent and time to charitable fundraising events.


One band that raises money for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes three of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board members:

Drums: Nick Akins, CEO of utility AEP in Columbus;

Guitars, vocals and keyboards: George Barrett, CEO of Cardinal Health;

Guitars: Dr. Michael Drake, President of The Ohio State University and;

Bass: Greg Harris, President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Another band, The Power Chords, includes Akins and Barrett, plus multi-instrument virtuoso and vocalist Joe Hamrock, the CEO of utility NiSource. 

Segment III is my coverage of The Power Chords at their Thursday, September 28th evening gig fundraiser for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Grove City, Ohio, outside Columbus.

This holiday season episode of A CEO’s Virtual Mentor has the fitting subject of Philanthropy from its many different angles.  It’s clear across all of these segments the devotion of our guests to something larger than themselves. 

Famous Last Words

We close our episode in Lyceum tradition with Famous Last Words. 

It’s December 24, 1941.  Christmas Eve.  Just 17 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt lights the White House Christmas tree and is joined in this, his 9th ceremonial act (pre-presidential term-limits) by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was in Washington for the Arcadia Conference, the first wartime conference between these two close allies since the US entrance into World War II just 16 days prior on December 8th.

Try as I might to edit this down for our 21st Century attention spans and our improved discourse efficiency at between 140 to 280 characters, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, I lacked the courage to cut.  Use a bookmark, because it’s well worth a listen.  On this day, 76 years ago, two of the 20th century’s most monumental figures took the stage with two purposes.  On the surface, they took to the microphone to announce the lighting of a tree.  But in their soaring speeches, they made clear the principles for which they had now committed both of their nations.  The overtones and undertones are thought-provoking and revealing for our current state of sensibility.  Warm wishes for the holidays and for your resolve for the New Year.

Program Guide

The Philanthropy Episode   

0:19        Introduction

0:29        Introduction to specific programming in this Episode 14

2:38        Segment I: Bernard DelGiorno, University of Chicago Benefactor

23:05      Segment II: Jennifer Sampson, CEO of The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

53:20      Segment III: The Power Chords, Benefit Concert

54:18      Nick Akins CEO of AEP

57:19      Matt Habash, CEO of Mid-Ohio Foodbank

1:04:26   Nick Akins CEO of AEP

1:08:03   George Barrett, CEO of Cardinal Health

1:12:12   Joe Hamrock CEO of NiSource

1:13:04   Nick Akins CEO of AEP & Joe Hamrock CEO of NiSource

1:22:42   Conclusion and Famous Last Words with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (Christmas 1941).


Mr. Bernard DelGiorno

Donor profile from the University of Chicago Alumni & Friends online community:


Ms. Jennifer Sampson

Ms. Jennifer Sampson has been Chief Executive Officer and President of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas since September 13, 2011. Ms. Sampson served as an Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Inc. since 2004. Ms. Sampson serves as a Member of Customer Advisory Board at Atmos Energy Corp.


Mr. Nick Akins

Nick Akins is chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power. He is AEP’s 11th chairman, 10th president and sixth CEO in the company’s more than 100-year history. He is a member of AEP’s board of directors and is the only management representative on the board.

Akins rose through the ranks at both AEP and the former Central and South West Corp. (CSW), which merged with AEP in 2000. Akins began his career in 1982 as an electrical engineer before moving up to positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to being elected president of AEP in December 2010, he served as executive vice president - Generation from 2006 through 2010 with responsibility for all generation activities of AEP’s approximately 38,000 MW of generation resources.

Previously, he served as president and chief operating officer for Southwestern Electric Power Company, and held other leadership roles in Energy Marketing Services, Transmission, External Affairs and Industry Restructuring.

A native of Louisiana, Akins received his bachelor’s degree in 1982 in electric engineering from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1986 from Louisiana Tech. Additional training includes executive management programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Idaho and the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas.

Akins is a former chairman of the Board of Directors of both the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and currently serves on both boards. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable (BRT) and was appointed chair of the BRT's Energy and Environment Committee. Additionally, he is a member of the boards of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), The Columbus Partnership, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL), Fifth Third Bancorp, OhioHealth and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Akins and his wife, Donna, live in Dublin, Ohio. They have two adult sons.

Mr. Joe Hamrock

Joe Hamrock serves as NiSource President and Chief Executive Officer. He has been in this role since July 1, 2015, and is also a member of the NiSource Board of Directors.

Joe previously served as Executive Vice President and Group CEO for NiSource's Gas Distribution segment, which included local gas distribution companies in Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In that role, he was responsible for all financial, operational, regulatory and commercial performance at NiSource's gas distribution operations. In coordination with leadership teams across each of these areas, he focused on driving the company's long-term growth plan, premised on executing a steady stream of infrastructure improvements and growth investments, synchronized with complementary regulatory and customer program initiatives.

Joe joined NiSource in May 2012 after serving in a variety of senior executive positions with American Electric Power (AEP), including President and Chief Operating Officer of AEP Ohio, and roles in engineering, transmission and distribution operations, customer service, marketing and information technology.

He began his energy industry career as an electrical engineer in transmission and distribution planning at AEP in Steubenville, Ohio. He went on to work in commercial and industrial customer services, and held leadership roles in commercial marketing and customer services, strategic development and other executive roles. Prior to becoming President of AEP Ohio, Joe was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer in AEP's Shared Services organization from 2003-2007, and from 2002 to 2003 was Senior Vice President - General Services.

Joe serves on the boards of the American Gas Association, Columbus Downtown Development Corp., the Columbus Partnership, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and OhioHealth.

He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Youngstown State University and a master's degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan fellow.


Mr. George Barrett

George S. Barrett is chairman and chief executive officer of Cardinal Health, a company ranked among the top 25 on the Fortune 500 and dedicated to improving the cost-effectiveness of health care.

Barrett has refocused Cardinal Health on its essential role in supporting hospitals, pharmacies and alternative sites of care in their efforts to improve the quality and safety of patient care, while reducing costs and improving efficiency.  The tagline – Essential to care – embodies the company’s strategy and the culture of the organization.

Barrett has been chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health since 2009.  He joined the company in 2008 as vice chairman and CEO of the company’s Healthcare Supply Chain Services.

From 2005 to end-2007, Barrett served as president and CEO of North America for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.  During 2007, he also served as corporate executive vice president for Global Pharmaceutical Markets.  He held the position of president of Teva USA from 1999 to end-2004. Prior to joining Teva, Barrett held various positions with Alpharma Inc., serving as president of US Pharmaceuticals from 1994 to 1997, and president of NMC Laboratories, prior to its acquisition by Alpharma in 1990. 

Barrett serves on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the board of trustees of the Corporation of Brown University. He is a member of the Healthcare Leadership Council and The Conference Board. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable, The Business Council and The Columbus Partnership. Barrett also serves on the board of directors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Barrett earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration from New York University.  He also holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Long Island University’s Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Matt Habash, CEO of Mid-Ohio Foodbank

Matt Habash became executive director of Mid-Ohio Foodbank in 1984.  Prior to that, Matt was with the St. Stephen’s Community House, first as a youth worker and then as the assistant to the executive director.  Matt also was a member of Columbus City Council from 1993 to 2006, serving as Council President from 1999 to 2006. As Council President, Matt governed with civility and humanity.  Co-Chair with Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Matt led the 21st Century Growth initiative, a plan designed to balance job creation with sustainable neighborhood development.  Other efforts spearheaded by Matt in his role as Council President was the 315 Research Corridor, the City’s Indoor Clean Air Act and the City’s Bike Path Plan.  He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Xavier University, a Masters of Public Policy from The Ohio State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Xavier University.

Matt takes an active leadership role in the community, having served on numerous boards and has received numerous awards, recognizing his commitment and work in serving those most vulnerable.

Program Disclaimer

The only purpose of the podcasts is to educate, inform and entertain. The information shared is based on the collection of experiences of each of the guests interviewed and should not be considered or substituted for professional advice. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experience and conclusions, and neither The Leadership Lyceum LLC nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular content, recommendation or methodology discussed in this podcast.

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