Leaders Worth Following.
This concept encompasses what we’ve believed in since our founding, developing leaders at their core. We’re honored to continue the legacy of our founders and their intent under this mission.
1996 Launching a Leadership Center
It all started when two trustees at John Brown University, Mark Simmons and Tom Muccio, approached then-president Dr. Lee Balzer about developing a leadership center. At that time, few such centers existed in the country.
The threesome approached another trustee, Don Soderquist, who was Senior Vice Chairman and COO of Walmart Stores, Inc. They recognized the fact that Don’s name and visibility would be an asset to launching the Center. Don ultimately agreed to become our Founding Executive and the work began.
1997 Creating the Team
Wendy Soderquist-Togami, who had been teaching and studying leadership development at Taylor University, was hired as the first employee. Dr. Delia Hawk became Executive Director.
Also joining the startup in advisory roles were outside friends, local executive Andy Murray and leadership consultant Judy Campbell. The group immediately began to benchmark leadership development groups and setting the vision for what would become Soderquist Leadership.
1999 Getting Started
The first conference was held in January 1999 and for the next three years, the Leadership Center would host conferences that featured well-known leaders such as P&G CEO John Pepper, author and speaker Ken Blanchard and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
2001 Making a Difference
These one-day conferences attracted hundreds of business leaders to JBU’s campus but by 2001, the Center’s leaders began asking themselves, “Are we doing enough?” They knew they were inspiring people, but was any real change occurring as a result of their efforts:
Ultimately, they decided they could have greater impact by working with smaller groups in a more intimate setting, where authentic dialogue and discovery would lead to real and lasting change.
2008 Staying Relevant
Since then, the Center has developed a menu of services designed to develop leaders, teams, and organizations. We’ve survived and learned from eras of corporate scandals, the housing market crash and the Great Recession from 2008-2010, five generations emerging in the 2010s, and the explosion of technology that has widespread, significant impact on all aspects of our lives.
Through all these challenges, we’ve continued to remain relevant by attracting talented professionals who translate our experiences into facilitative learning and application to our customers who range from the top Fortune 1 company to growing, privately-held businesses to community non-profits.
2018- New Chapter
With Don Soderquist’s passing, the need for a name that transcends the founder was recognized. After nearly a year of planning, with the support of the Soderquist family, we rebranded to Milestone Leadership. At the same time we also launched our new mission statement and focus for the future: Building Leaders Worth Following