Is There Life After Young Life?: How Young Life Equipped Bob Lonac To Be A CEO

“The team [at IJM] was phenomenal, phenomenal! I thought, man, I’m going to have trouble keeping up with these people; they’re smart! Not only are they smart, they have huge hearts and emotional intelligence” -Bob [Click to Tweet]

When I first met today’s guest over lunch in Colorado Springs, I knew ten minutes into my interview with him that I had found the leader that I was looking for with IJM (International Justice Mission), and he also ended up at the top of my list of people whom I wanted to interview on this podcast. Bob Lonac has a career in leadership that spans over several decades, having been a leader of Young Life for thirty-three years before becoming Executive Vice President of IJM and later C.E.O. of CRISTA Ministries.

Bob walks us through his career and all of the different titles and responsibilities that he had with each position, starting with having joined Young Life in 1967 and working with them for thirty-three years before joining IJM and then CRISTA. He explains why he left Young Life and details his first team at IJM and what set it apart, and he also explains why he then left IJN and moved to CRISTA.

Bob reflects on his childhood as well and what about his childhood led him to becoming a leader. He acknowledges God for giving him the gift of leadership but also credits his father, who was a hard worker and taught Bob the value of a strong work ethic. He also talks about one of his most satisfying childhood memories being the catcher on his baseball team even though he wasn’t the best athlete, clarifying that he loved it because he loved being a leader.

I sincerely thank Bob for joining me in this episode of the podcast. Bob had some really insightful points to make about leadership, his hiring process, his challenges and failures over the years, and so much more! Join me next time, and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so that you never miss an episode! You should also share the podcast with a friend who would be likely to get something out of it as well!

“You gotta, in the end, go with your gut.” -Bob [Click to Tweet]

Time Stamps

[1:21] – Tommy introduces this episode’s guest – Bob Lonac – and provides some of his credentials.

[2:05] – Bob highlights important aspects of his childhood, focusing on his father, his friendships, and having been the catcher of his baseball team.

[5:04] – Bob reflects back on having joined the Young Life staff back in 1967.

[6:21] – We learn when Bob realized that he was good at starting and developing things, referring primarily to self-awareness.

[7:47] – Bob explains what about the International Justice Mission attracted him to it.

[10:03] – Bob describes what sets International Justice Mission apart: (1) a huge vision and (2) excellence and professionalism.

[11:19] – Bob talks about his first team at International Justice Mission.

[12:53] – Bob highlights the components of his hiring process.

[14:50] – Bob narrates the story of hiring a new radio Vice President for CRISTA Ministries, highlighting the importance of listening to your intuition.

[17:39] – We discover why Bob moved from International Justice Mission to CRISTA.

[20:13] – Bob reflects upon his greatest failures and what he learned from them.

[23:12] – Bob compares and contrasts his supervisors at Young Life and at International Justice Mission.

[24:30] – Bob provides us with some insight regarding the strengths of and differences between the three different boards with which he has been involved.

[26:18] – Bob remarks upon how his wife Kathleen has helped him move forward in his career.

[27:13] – Bob closes by reflecting on what he wishes that he had known when he started his career.

“My two greatest failures are my two greatest experiences of finding God and moving to a better place, and they’re both mysterious, and they’re both very painful” -Bob [Click to Tweet]

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters – Website

Bob Lonac Consults – Website

Bob’s Bookstore

Bob’s Facebook Page

Bob’s LinkedIn Page

Young Life – Website

IJM (International Justice Mission) – Website

CRISTA Ministries – Website

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant


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