Xavier Magazine

Profile: Ron Henlein

Ron Henlein

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1979
Director of corporate and community partnerships for people working cooperatively

Heart and Hammer | Ron Henlein is a handy guy around the house…anyone’s house. As a former district manager for big box retailers like Home Depot, he knows a hammer drill from a nail gun. Plus, with three decades of volunteering for People Working Cooperatively (PWC), a Cincinnati-based nonprofit providing home repair for low-income, elderly and disabled residents, under his tool belt, his heart has always been in the right place. So when faced with relocating or finding a new job, Henlein combined the best of two worlds.

Good Move | “1983 was the first year I volunteered for PWC. At the time I was working for Payless Cashway, one of the first national chains to embrace the D-I-Y retail model. Eventually I went over to Home Depot as a District Manager but then realized that God was calling me in a different direction. I took a position with PWC, to help the community’s most vulnerable homeowners remain safely in their homes.”

DIY Kind Of Guy | “My first volunteer assignment was helping an 88-year-old woman. Her front porch had rotted away to the point she was forced to balance on the support beams to get out of her house. I was amazed with the resilience that our clients live their lives. They don’t point at the sky or yell at their neighbors. But sometimes when very bad things happen, like the loss of a job or traumatic accident or illness, it can impact their ability to stay in their own home.”

PWC | “PWC has grown into a nationally recognized agency. There’s nothing else like it in the country with its ‘Whole House’ approach to critical repairs, modifications and weatherization. PWC helps people in dire need, who don’t have any other options for help. In my newly created position, one of my goals is to create partnerships with local and national companies, like Home Depot.”

AMDG | “Jesuit principles and values have effected me strongly,” he says, holding up a photo of his “AMDG” personalized license plate. He’s taken Jesuit principles to heart in his business life too, making it a practice to reread the book Heroic Leadership: Best Practices From a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World by Kevin Lowry. His favorite quote—“Heroic Leadership is a daily personal pursuit. Heroism is not just a response to a crisis but a consciously chosen approach to life; it is judged not by the scale of the opportunity but by the quality of the response to the opportunity at hand.”

Service Learning | For Henlein, Xavier is the foundation on which he built his career of service. “Christian leaders are called to a different level of leadership principles than other leaders. Teachings of the Jesuits can be woven into modern corporate culture. There is a life beyond business—people have a responsibility to help make the world a better place.”

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