Inspiring Greatness

By: Cathy Gallagher
IvanI recently read an article in Inc. Magazine entitled, “How to Inspire Greatness: Stop Leading”. It’s a great reminder to those of us in leadership positions or who aspire to be, to move beyond the stereotypical leader to one who inspires greatness by “giving control and creating leaders.” In my 30 years as a working professional I have been fortunate to work with a few men and women who exhibit that leadership style, the most recent one being former FSB Dean, Dr. Ivan Filby.

Today Randy and I have the pleasure of representing the Fermanian School of Business and PLNU at Ivan’s inauguration as the 12th President of Greenville College, in Greenville, Illinois. Randy is a guest speaker in the ceremony and I will be marching as a representative of PLNU in the processional of colleges and universities. When Ivan first shared his wonderful news with us several months ago, I must admit my heart sank and the word “wonderful” didn’t come to mind as I thought of what this meant to our team, the FSB, and to PLNU… but my moment of selfishness gave way to the knowledge and comfort of what he had done in his time with us…and I was excited at the great plans that The Lord had for his future. What an honor it is to share in the joy of this day, but not nearly the honor it has been to have known Ivan and to work under his leadership.

During his time as Dean of the FSB (12/13), Ivan inspired those around him on a daily basis. His charm, sense of humor, candor, sensitivity, and love for The Lord complement the “gift of erosion” that he freely admits to be perhaps his greatest gift. He touched those around him with his authentic nature and is one of those rare people who ask how you are and truly wants to know. Ivan’s daily visits to our office to say hi, to pray together, or just to talk and have coffee were welcomed and appreciated by Randy and me, and by our staff. The interest and energy that he poured into his work as well as in students, colleagues, peers, and business leaders in our community was genuine and endless.

Ivan was successful in many areas as our Dean, establishing new majors, implementing a 5th year MBA program, and creating long standing relationships in the community among other things…but his greatest success was not necessarily visible or tangible, but rather one that was felt deeply and personally to those who knew him well, it was his success in transforming those around him by empowering, affirming, and supporting with his words, actions, and advocacy.


            Thank you Ivan, for being so true to who you are, and for truly and deeply caring for those around you. The sacrifice that you all made to spend a year with us while Kathie, Sam, and Katie stayed in Illinois was great, and did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Your shoes will be difficult to fill but I am confident in our future as you left us in a much better place and with hope of continued growth and success…

… today my dear friend, may God be with you and your family in this joyful time of celebration. I am honored and thrilled to be a part of it. You have been an unbelievable blessing and gift to me and I look forward to a continued friendship with you and Kathie.

Thank you as well for being a transformational leader and inspiring me in many ways to do great things for and with our team and with those around me. Congratulations!! We are so very proud of you, love you, and wish you even greater success!


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