I’ve been very blessed to have walked through this life with several remarkable people who have greatly inspired me. One of those people is Dr. Ken Druck (www.kendruck.com). I first met Ken through the non-profit Foundation he started to honor his daughter – The Jenna Druck Foundation. Dedicated to helping young women become leaders and reach their fullest potential — and helping families heal after a loss, the Foundation won multiple awards for visionary leadership. Ken was one of the founding members of The Community Alliance for Youth Success (CAYS) where we both serve on the Steering Committee. But most of all, Ken was there for me during one of my darkest times. I have watched him be there for countless others during their darkest times over the years – holding the light of hope to help them get through to the other side. I am forever grateful to Ken Druck as know so many others are. In addition to his life’s work in the field of psychology, he is fabulous mentor, friend and inspiration.
In my work, I talk a lot about how people find their purpose through some of their most challenging times. I love Ken’s tagline, “Turning Adversity into Opportunity.” because this is exactly what Ken did in his own life. Ken was in the middle of a very successful career with a Ph.D. in psychology. Considered a pioneer and expert in executive coaching, the psychology of men and parenting, Ken’s star was rising. Then life threw him a curveball/adversity. His oldest daughter Jenna Druck was killed in a bus accident while studying abroad in college with the Semester at Sea program. Can you imagine the devastation? A man who prided himself on being a father above everything else, Ken’s life as he knew it ended. Standing in the ashes, Ken needed to create some meaning in his life. The way to honor his daughter’s life and spirit, he decided, would be to continue her work and do good in her name. Less than three months after her tragic death, the Jenna Druck Foundation was born. The Foundation’s work over the years having directly helped over 18,000 young women and 5,000 bereaved families is an amazing example of how resilient the human spirit can be. Creating purpose and opportunity in the face of adversity is a high calling. For 20 years, Ken and the staff, volunteers, supporters, beneficiaries of Families Helping Families and Spirit of Leadership programs worked together to fulfill the mission of the Jenna Druck Foundation, “turning grief into hope and strength into leadership.”
Ken has continued to help families, companies, neighborhoods and communities in the aftermath of a tragedy, including Newtown, Columbine, Katrina and 9-11. His books, including The Secrets Men Keep, How to Talk to Your Kids and his latest, The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life’s Terms with Your Own, have touched millions of his readers worldwide. Ken’s spoken-word CD, “Healing Your Life After the Loss of a Loved One” has become a standard for healing after loss and his new book on Courageous Aging will be out in early 2017. Ken Druck also addresses audiences around the world on a wide range of topics including healing after loss, the psychology of men, parenting and successful aging. He appears regularly on CNN providing expert commentary, has spoken for distinguished audiences worldwide including The Harvard School of Public Health and Young Presidents Organization. For more information on Dr. Ken Druck, sign up for his Small Print of Life blogs and connect with him on Facebook, go to www.kendruck.com.
So I now challenge you to look back in your life and in your life right now. How can you turn adversity into an opportunity and live your purpose while making this world a better place?
We define (and distinguish) ourselves by how selflessly and courageously we love, summon up strength of heart (compassion and humility) in times of adversity, reinvent ourselves over a lifetime and give something back to the world. – Dr. Ken Druck