Respect: Interview with Steve Chapman, Executive Director of READ Polk, Inc.
Name: Steve Chapman
Family: I would like to thank Richard and Judith Chapman for providing Scott, Kiersten and myself with their full hearts and being great role models while growing up in Glastonbury, Connecticut. After graduating from Green Mountain College in Vermont, I moved to Ft. Myers, FL. where I met and married my beautiful and talented wife, Kerry. We moved to Lakeland, FL. in 2000 where we have been raising our boys Ryan (14) and Andrew (10) doing what we can to inspire and lead them while they keep us laughing and young.
Resident of: Lakeland, FL.
Work/professional history: For most of my professional career I have been in outside sales with different industries. I have also been a Rotarian for 13 years as a member of the Lakeland Christina Rotary Club. I have served in many roles including President (2007-2008) and Assistant Governor (2010-2012). It has been my experience in sales, along with my passion for community work as a Rotarian that has carved my path into the non-profit world where I currently serve as Executive Director of READ Polk.
What has been the most meaningful aspect of your career? Meeting and developing personal relationships with so many people.
What organizations have you participated in and why did you feel there was a need to do so? I have been involved with several organizations during my time in Lakeland. However, being involved with Rotary has made the greatest impact on my and my family’s life. I am a third generation Rotarian and beside the fellowship and many relationships formed, the projects that I have been involved with locally, here in the U.S. and around the world, have been rewarding in so many ways. Rotary allows individuals the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, connect with other Rotarians, have a pulse on what is going on in their community and make a direct impact on people’s lives locally and throughout the world.
What sorts of challenges (if any) have you encountered in your community work efforts and how did you overcome them? That many of us want the same outcome but we often see things from different perspectives. We need to learn that if we can pause before we speak, pause before we send that email, and figure out how to communicate better and compromise that we can achieve great things together!
What gives you inspiration? Life’s clock never stops – there is so much to learn and do, and as I develop a few more grey hairs I am realizing more and more how precious each of those seconds are. #NeverStopLearning #InspireSomeoneToday #LoveOneAnother #MakeAPositiveImpact
What do you love best about living in this community (Polk Co.)? Lakeland has been a great place for us to raise our family. I enjoy the lakes and events that come to the area. I enjoy the location and the many opportunities that are available around us.
What are your hopes and dreams for our area? That we will slow down and recognize the importance of family and friends. That we will find one night a week to make a special dinner and use that time to develop quality family time. That we will use social media as a tool and not lose touch of the importance of personal interactions. That we will appreciate our lives and the lives of others and put the phones down while driving – It can wait! That we will realize that each of us can make a positive impact in our community if we are willing to come off the sidelines and get involved. #LoveLakeland #IAmOneThatHasALotToOffer
What are your business and personal goals? To continue to develop my talents and skills through daily learning. To put myself in a place that will inspire others to seek greatness and strive to make a difference. To do what I can to inspire my kids to always do their best and work daily to be the best husband and father I can be.
Outside of work and community efforts, what activities do you enjoy? I enjoy cooking, drinking wine with friends while listening to music, reading, golf, watching and coaching my kids with the different sports they play, family vacations.
Favorite quote or life motto: “One day you’ll wake up & there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” – Paulo Coelho