ProDealer Industry Summit Presentation 2020

Kevin Hancock shares a keynote speech with the ProDealer Industry Summit in October 2020. In this presentation, Kevin highlights the importance of culture in the workplace, stressing that it is what makes the difference between companies and performance.

The ProDealer Industry Summit is an exclusive three-day educational forum designed to promote the growth of lumber & building product dealers, distributors, wholesalers, and the manufacturers who supply them. LBM dealers will benefit from sharing insights and best practices from industry leaders.

Click here to watch the full keynote video.

Kevin Hancock Addresses the ‘Elephant in the Room’ at the DO MORE GOOD Conference

DO MORE GOOD by Kevin Hancock

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Margaret J. Wheatley

May 18, 2019: This past Friday I spoke in Lincoln, Nebraska at the DO MORE GOOD conference.  Don’t you love that title, DO MORE GOOD?!

Do More Good Conference
Do More Good conference stage at the University of Nebraska Innovation Campus

The conference was held at the University of Nebraska Innovation Campus in the shadows of the giant Cornhusker football stadium.  It was an exciting opportunity for me because the event brought in some top business speakers from around the country.  Jay Cohen Gilbert, founder of the B Corporation movement, spoke.  So, too, did Rand Stagen, co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism movement.

The conference was a call to action for corporations to adopt a mission that was bigger than just making a profit.  Have a purpose that’s bigger than what you make or what you sell.  Stand for something important!  Your corporate purpose should solve a real problem.  These were the rallying cries of the conference.

My talk and personal mission were a good fit for this event.  I spoke about losing some of my voice to SD and then traveling to Pine Ridge where I encountered an entire community that did not feel heard.  The two events combined to give me the inspiration to use a company as a platform to strengthen the voices of others, and to create a culture where everyone leads.  So, my proposal was to create an EMPLOYEE CENTRIC company where the first priority of the business is to enhance the lives of the people who work there, by creating a safe and dynamic space for people to express themselves freely and self-actualize through work.

elephant prop
Kevin Hancock Addresses the Elephant in the Room

At the talk, my mascot was my Ringling Brothers stuffed elephant.  I introduced him as the ‘elephant in the room’, representing the traditional, top down, bureaucratic, power to the center leadership model.  The new model I am advocating for is one in which power is shared and dispersed, so that every voice is heard and everyone leads.

I closed the talk by returning to the elephant.  I acquired him on May 5th, 2017 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  I was attending the last-ever performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  It was an historic event –a tipping point in social consciousness.  The elephant, who originally helped make the circus and played the star role, ultimately helped end the circus and bring about its demise.  But, why?  The elephant hadn’t changed…

So, what did change?  Human perception changed.  The well-being of a handful of elephants had become more important to society that an entire iconic industry—the circus.

Do More Good
“Who knew that losing your voice could help you find it? That giving a voice to those not heard creates a better work culture? And that great culture disperses power to its people rather than consuming them?”

This subtle, but super important moment, is a sign of the times and a guide post for business in the 21st Century.  The age of the individual is upon us.  Corporations must do more than simply serve their own objectives.  Specifically, they must become a valued place full of life and growth for the people who work there.  If companies focus on advancing the lives of the people who work there, the people who work there will create—in turn—exceptional experiences for customers.  In this model, profit actually increases, but it becomes an outcome of a higher calling.

Everyone attending the conference received a copy of Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse in their gift bag.

blog follow

Thank you for reading and please help spread this blog to others that might like to follow.  My next book is coming in the Spring of 2020 and my publisher, Post Hill Press, wants me to grow my blog follower ship in advance!  It takes a village to spread ideas and create change.  If the ideas I am writing about are of value to you, please think about your own personal network and share the link to this blog and invite them to follow.

Finally, Rosie Freire, the owner of the Singing Horse Trading Post (where I stay at Pine Ridge) drove down to the conference and attended.  I was able to introduce her to the audience during my talk as one of my personal heroes in business.  What I said about Rosie during the conference and what she thought of the event is the topic for another post, soon to come!

The title of my next book has been finalized and I will share it here with you now…

One CEO’s Journey into the Business of Leadership

Thank you for sharing your voice!

Kevin signature



Kevin Hancock, President + CEO

Embracing the Age of Shared Leadership

Kevin Hancock presented the keynote speech at the LBM Strategies Conference in 2018. The keynote highlights the importance of the Shared Leadership philosophy on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and culture.

The LBM Strategies Conference brings together LBM pros to address and share practical, tactical solutions to today’s toughest business challenges. LBM Strategies is produced by LBM Journal, the leading media brand serving the lumber / building material distribution industry.

Click here to watch the full keynote video.

2017 SAGE Lecture Series

SAGE9/26/17 – This past Tuesday, Kevin Hancock was invited to speak at the University of Southern Maine in Portland as part of the SAGE lecture series. SAGE provides academic lecture and discussion programs chosen by its members, in topic areas such as history, culture, the arts, geography, anthropology, and science. Using University and community resources, the SAGE program provides a format in which enthusiastic learners can discover new realms of intellectual challenge and academic pursuit.


Kevin was met by an enthusiastic group of 80 lifelong learners interested in hearing his recent journey through the Land of Crazy Horse. For 2 hours, the group heard from Kevin, watched a video he made during his trip, and followed up with a great Q+A session. Here is a link to watch the talk! 

Video of Kevin’s Maine Live presentation now posted online

  1. MaineLive_screenVideos now available online! At the 2nd Annual Maine Live on March 24th, 14 speakers shared their stories of integrity, tenacity, and courage. For Kevin Hancock, CEO of Hancock Lumber Company, that story is about losing his voice to a rare neurological disorder and then finding it again after spending time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There, he learned an important lesson about power and the individual.“What if we could create an organization where everybody led?Where every voice felt heard, respected, valued, trusted, and empowered?” Watch now.

In addition to Kevin’s message above, here are a few of our favorite reflections from the day: (click here to watch any or all 14 speaker presentations)

  • Mark Bessire | Portland Museum of Art:  There doesn’t need to be conflict between the traditional and the modern; ideas from both worlds can coexist. There is power in creating meaningful traditions with family, friends, organizations, and communities.
  • Jan Kearce | Lift 360: Ask yourself, “What am I a commitment to?”. Embody your purpose. YOU are enough to make it happen. Re-write your story – think about the obituary you’d write for the life you’re leading; now, think about the obituary you’d write for yourself for the life you WANT to lead.  Take time to pause and reflect; don’t burn yourself out.
  • George Neptune | Abbe Museum: Pass on tradition/language/stories of your tribe, so as to “save it for those not yet born”. Find balance, embrace your two spirits – it is OK to have feet in multiple worlds.
  • Steve Malcom | Knickerbocker Group: Spend time “kicking the dirt”…having conversations about the “What ifs” and “Why nots”. Throw rocks (ideas) out there to make ripples and share ideas; it might take time for them to come back and become reality, but get your ideas out there.  Take time to listen, really listen and be in the present without judging or making an opinion too quickly. The world is a dynamic place that is ALWAYS changing. Look for those moments to find opportunity.
  • Tae Chong | Startmart CEIRacism is a bad business model. Look at ALL kinds of people as an asset and economic opportunity in a state that is facing a major labor crisis.  A few eye opening Maine stats that Tae shared:
    • By 2022, 1 in 4 Mainers will be over 65
    • 100,000 workers will be needed in Maine in the next 10 years
    • 44 Median Age of Mainer
    • Maine had more deaths than births in 2015
    • Maine is older than Florida
    • Maine is the oldest and whitest state
  • Beth Shissler | Sea Bags: Sea Bags is green in product and process, sourcing USA materials and keeping manufacturing and jobs in Maine!  Look for the FIT in the people you bring to your organization. HR is all about cultural fit.
  • Ben Fowlie | Camden Int’l Film Festival:  Don’t shy away from difficult topics; leverage the arts to spark local dialogue and create social change.
  • Laurie Lachance | Thomas College“Nia” = purpose.  Let your life unfold down an unintentional path, intentionally, and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be–but, only if you are paying attention during threshold moments.  Pay attention. Listen. Stop. Pause. Reflect.  Ask yourself, “What are my unique gifts?” and seize the opportunities in front of you.
  • Leslie Oster | Aurora Provisions: Slow down and set a place for yourself at the table.  Sharing your gifts and passion with the world will only be fulfilling if you put a seat at the table for YOU.
  • Sara Shifrin | Gould Academy’s Family Ideas Center: View the library as a room full of ideas, possibilities and thinking – it’s not just a room full of books.  Resist the temptation to find solutions; observe, learn, listen, and employ design thinking to bring new ideas to life.
  • Yellow Light Breen | Maine Development FoundationThere is a distinct difference between feeling comfortable and fitting in. Sector jargon- “internal languages” – get in the way of making change; ideas matter, people matter, and take time to celebrate success. We all like to be on a winning team.
  • Mike Katz | Camp SunshineWorking with terminally ill children makes one very humbled and reflective. Acts of kindness make a lifelong impact. Volunteer; make a difference!
  • Heather Sanborn | Rising Tide Brewery: Ask the ones you love around you what they want to do in life. “A rising tide lifts all boats” – there is such art and meaning behind naming a child, a non-profit, a business that you are passionate about.  Think about the community and power in “helping a neighbor”, and leveraging the “spirit of collegiality” — the cooperative relationship of colleagues. A collaborative ethos is best; we are all a part of “Team Maine”!