Diane M. Hendricks

Diane M. Hendricks will be on campus to speak on Tuesday, April 4, at 6:00 p.m. Her talk will take place in the Todd Wehr Auditorium as part of CUW’s “Economics, Politics, and Philosophy on the Bluff” series.

Hailed by Forbes magazine as the “most successful female entrepreneur in American history,” Diane Hendricks is the sole owner of ABC Supply Co., Inc., among other business interests. She believes in civic responsibility and has made significant investments to help rebuild her hometown of Beloit.

In anticipation of her visit to the Concordia University Wisconsin Campus, we asked Diane to share a few thoughts about her faith, her approach to business, and her legacy. (To register for her talk, click HERE or on the link below.)

Concordia is proud to be an unapologetically Christian, values-based institution. What role does faith play in your life?

“Faith in my personal life and my business life gets stronger as I take time to understand my faith and the huge effect Christ has been and will always be in my life. It is sad that for some of us it takes time, age, and knowledge to make us stop searching for answers when believing in Christ gives us the answers and the peace we need in our lives.”

When you’re at Concordia on April 4 talking to students, staff, and the community, you’ll be speaking on “Promoting and Preserving the American Dream.” What makes America such a wonderful place to call home, in your opinion?

“The American dream is available to anyone and everyone in this great nation. Sadly, many feel that the American dream is weakening. I totally disagree. I fight every day for the “freedom” to speak what I feel and to live my life individually. Freedom gives all of us opportunities to be who we are, to speak our beliefs and to choose our faith. We must not let our government dilute our freedom. We are the greatest nation in the world because we are built upon the freedoms that are clearly spelled out in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Who are the biggest influences in your life, personally and/or professionally?

“My parents; my father mainly—he taught me right from wrong. Decisions are easier to make when you ask yourself this question. Is this the right thing to do? It takes you to other questions—such as, does this affect others in a positive or negative way? Always creating food for thought. The 10 commandments continue to influence me not only in my personal life, but greatly in my professional life. I do come back to them; summed up they spell out right from wrong.”

What are your best and longest-lasting memories of growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm?

“Living in the country. The freedom of playing in the outdoors. Helping care for animals—cows, chickens, dogs, cats. Having eight sisters to play with or fight with and having two of the best parents I could ever dream of. Having home grown vegetables and fruits and wholesome meals every day of my childhood life. I loved my childhood and we were average American farmers. I wish every child could be as loved as I was.”

Is there a particular lesson(s) you learned early in life that still resonates and has led to your success?

“Don’t lie—it will be a burden on your soul until you correct it and tell the truth. And then don’t forget to talk to God and ask for forgiveness.”

What advice do you give to young entrepreneurs?

“First off, it’s very hard to be an entrepreneur. You need to be innovative. Make sure what you want to do or create is “needed.” You will need to invest not just your time, but your finances (money). If you’re taking risks, do not take more risk than you can afford to lose. Do not let your dreams be at the expense of others. Take responsibility for your actions and keep in mind everyone and everything gets paid before you. Many times you may not be able to pay yourself. If you have a financial partner, know how you are going to pay them back or your future reputation can be at risk. I personally take financial responsibility as the number one priority.”

Beyond your professional accomplishments, your philanthropic work in Beloit and throughout Wisconsin has been incredible. What would you like your legacy to be?

“That I gave it my best, but I stayed true to myself and never became someone I’m not. I’m just me. A normal American girl that worked hard and made my dreams come true, but more importantly helped to make many others dreams come true also. Only in America does opportunity flourish.”

To register to attend Diane’s April 4 talk (admission is free; registration is preferred), click the link below:

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