Recipients OF the Igniter of the Year Award

2016

Garry Ridge

CEO, WD-40 Company

Garry is responsible for developing and implementing high-level strategies, all operations, and the oversight of all relationships and partnerships for WD-40. Garry is passionate about the learning and empowering organizational culture he has helped establish, and his vision and leadership have positively impacted the WD-40 Company in both measurable and immeasurable ways.

Garry defies the statistics. Where the average tenure of a CEO at a public company is 4.6 years, Garry has lead WD-40 Company since 1999. A company with basically a single product in a category that offers plenty of choice, WD-40 Company stands out on almost every metric. They dominate the category. Their profits are better than their competition, and their churn is insanely low by any standard. And it’s all because the company has an incredible “people focused” culture. WD-40 is one of the best examples of what a company looks like when it starts with WHY. Their WHY is: “We exist to create positive lasting memories in everything we do. We solve problems. We make things work smoothly. We create opportunities.” Garry ignites his people.


2015

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Founder, Creative Mornings

Tina founded and runs the global monthly lecture series CreativeMornings, along with Swissmiss, Studiomates, Tattly and Teuxdeux. Tina believes that it is impossible to reach our full creative potential without being plugged into an inspiring, supportive and creative community—and so she built one. It’s 20 thousand people strong and counting.

Renowned designer, world famous blogger, co-creator of a to-do app called TeuxDeux, and the founder of Tattly, a temporary tattoo company, are none of the reasons Tina was given the Igniter of the Year Award. It is specifically her work with CreativeMornings. CreativeMornings has become a global phenomenon — a monthly speaker series that attracts all sorts of creative minds to come together to share. What’s so special about CreativeMornings is that it functions like a social movement. It follows all the principles of the Golden Circle. There is a cause that drives everything. There are principles and values that guide decisions. And the individually organized events around the world demonstrate all the pieces coming together at scale. Tina’s work is one of the best case studies of what starting with WHY can do. Tina ignites others to advance the WHY movement.


2014

Charlie Kim

Founder and CEO, Next Jump

Charlie Kim is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Next Jump. Charlie founded Next Jump in 1994 in his college dorm room. He grew the business to 150 employees in the first dot-com boom, soon to be followed by the dot-com bust, bringing the company down to 4 employees. By 2017, there were over 200 NxJumpers. Charlie is rated as a top mentor and coach in several industries including: U.S. military, professional sports, education, nonprofits, startups and F1000 executives. Next Jump has been recognized by McKinsey as well as Harvard & Cornell for its culture of high performance and coaching techniques, both for individuals and team leaders.

One of Charlie’s board members was concerned that the company had lost it’s way and wanted Simon to meet with Charlie. In their first meeting, Simon helped him find his WHY. From that day, Charlie was super-charged. He had a filter through which to run his decisions and language to describe why he was making those changes. Over the coming months, Charlie took the inspiration from his WHY and ran with it — making necessary changes throughout his company, changes that he previously didn’t have the courage to make. Simon was inspired by what he saw and how quickly the company became focused and purpose-driven. Charlie ignited a new way to build his business and is inspiring other leader to do the same.


2013

Bob Chapman

Chairman & CEO, Barry-Wehmiller

Bob Chapman has ignited a revolution in business. As the CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, a traditional manufacturing company, founded in 1885, Chapman has championed the transformation of the organizations’s culture beginning in the early 2000s. He directed the drafting of its cultural vision statement and Guiding Principles of Leadership, which established the company’s unique measure of success: by the way they touch the lives of others.

When Simon first met Bob Chapman, Bob claimed he was building the type of ideal company Simon talks and writes about. Simon’s curiosity piqued – he wanted to learn more. The two of them traveled across the country going from factory to factory and what Simon saw was nothing short of inspiring. “I can no longer be accused of being a crazy idealist, if what I imagine exists in reality,” Simon said of his experience. He told Bob, “You’ve built this incredible company,” and he challenged Bob to take what he has successfully created and share it with other people who don’t get to work there. Bob Chapman took Simon’s challenge to heart. He created the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute, which is committed to sharing all the tools that Barry-Wehmiller has developed for itself, so that other companies can learn how to build the kind of work environment that put people first.


2012

Brigadier General Richard "Tex” Coe

Inspector General, Headquarters Air Combat Command,
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia (United States Air Force)

General Coe oozes humanity. He is one of those few leaders who can give a speech that can leave the audience choked up. Tex is honest, humble and approachable and incredibly talented at what he does. He was one of the first commanders in the military who embraced the concept of starting with WHY. He invited Simon and his team to work with the organization he lead to help them truly connect with the deep purpose they have that goes beyond WHAT they do. Tex set a foundation that has been subsequently embraced by all the commanders since, it will forever be a piece of his legacy. Tex inspires.

General Coe ensures combat readiness, regulatory compliance, and oversight for more than 75 active and gained units and more than 130,000 Airmen. General Coe has participated in operations Inherent Resolve, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Anaconda, Noble Eagle, Allied Force, Southern Watch, and Northern Watch. He is a master navigator with over 3,000 hours, including 460 combat hours.


2011

Kim Harrison

CEO & Chief Revel Officer, Start With Why

Kim wakes up every day to push people to the edge of their greatness so that they revel in who they are.  As Chief Revel Officer of Start With Why, she leads the team to build the foundation on which the movement to inspire can thrive. 

Kim was the first one to take the risk to join Simon before there was a book or a TED Talk or basically anything but an idea. She saw the potential in Simon’s vision, and in Simon. And so she quit her job to join him when he could barely afford to pay her. The two of them worked out of Simon’s sister’s apartment, where they figured out how to share their vision and invite as many people as possible to join them. It was only fitting that Kim would be the first recipient of the Igniter of the Year award. She embodies what it stands for - someone who commits themselves to advancing this vision in all they do. Kim inspires Simon.