Thank You Steve Houchin

ShInternational Leadership Associates closes out an era with the retirement of Managing Partner Steve Houchin, who joined the firm in 1988. In those 25 plus years, Steve touched and changed literally thousands of peoples’ lives as he shared with them his knowledge and passion of Leadership. One of the parts of his work that he loved the most was working with groups of people in helping them become better leaders. He took our company mission, to increase the supply of leaders around the world, to heart. He carried the leadership message around the world, with stops in places as far away as Asia and the Middle East, as well as throughout North America. And as a frequent traveler, he encountered every possible airline problem known to mankind, and yet still found a way to end up where he needed to be.

Steve was one of the first people officially recognized as a Master Certified Facilitator of The Leadership Challenge. This development process, developed by authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner was at the center of his work. He was deeply committed to The Five Practices of The Leadership Challenge, and devoted his efforts at ILA to guiding people toward becoming better leaders. He worked with big companies, such as IBM, AT&T, and AIG to small, family owned businesses. The US Military and several universities are also on the list of client organizations with whom he worked. Steve was always able to help people connect with the better leader they could be, no matter what the environment was, in which they worked.

Steve was a huge believer in the power of experiential learning. You would never find him lecturing much. He preferred that people be actively engaged in their learning. He always had a novel and impactful activity with which to challenge people, and to make the lessons stick. He had a knack for knowing exactly when to get people out of the chairs, and for selecting the right hands on learning opportunity for them. And if it was in the great outdoors, so much the better. The photo of Steve above, with a colleague he was mentoring at the time, shows him in his favorite element – the outdoor learning lab in which he did some of his very best work.

Given all he accomplished as a leadership facilitator, coach and mentor, he might tell you one of his most significant sources of pride is his family. Two married daughters, will children of their own, all healthy and happy. That “children of their own” statement means grandchildren for Steve and wife Barb. They are crazy about the grandkids, as expected, and will be devoting as much time as possible to them during retirement. Steve also has his own personal Shangri-La, a cabin at Lake Cumberland with a warm and cozy group of friends there. As much as he enjoyed his work, my guess is more time with his family, hiding out at the lake, and giving back through volunteer efforts, will indeed be very fulfilling for him going forward.

Best wishes, Steve. You have been a key player in the history of ILA, and will be missed. Enjoy life and as always Lead On!