An Interview with
The World is Crying for Highly Effective Ethical Leaders
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Russ, Cindy & Connie
Russ loves and thrives on opportunities to discuss his passion for impacting the culture and often talks in stories of his time to relate the leadership concepts. On October 9, 2020 I, (Shelly Lackey) had the pleasure of interviewing Russ in his home. After reading, “The Personal Memoirs of Russell Kent Tippett” Volume One, the first question I asked him was, “How do you define vulnerability?”
Russ, taking full advantage to “teach” (he is always looking for an opportunity to teach), explained, being totally open.
Like most leaders, Russ had a dream as a small 12-year-old child. He was outside with his dog, Spot, when a “gully washer” rainstorm hit. As he was throwing a stick in a huge collection of flood water for Spot to fetch, he knew right then, he wanted to boat the Ohio River. This is where the dreams and thinking for Russ truly started. He also enjoyed his grandparents and taking road trips to learn and discuss life. During one of these trips, they stopped on a very curvy road (State Route 78, between Glouster, Ohio and McConnelsville, Ohio) for a picnic. Russ decided, upon learning the location was called the Rim of the World because of the intense beauty and being able to see for miles around, to one day live on that land. While dreaming, he knew ultimately, a Game Warden was the job he wanted to pursue.
Three major dreams of Russ’:
- Boat the Ohio River on his own boat
- Become a Game Warden
- Build a house and live at the Rim of the World in Morgan County, Ohio.
These major dreams did not come to fruition quickly. They took careful planning and preparation. At 19 years old, Russ signed a six-month contract with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). At six-months and one day, and fully acknowledging the FBI was not his career of choice, he signed up for the United States Army. In three short years, Russ reached E5 status and decided it was time to go home to pursue his Game Warden dream.
He did just that. After being offered the moon by the US Army to reenlist, Russ returned home and applied to the Division of Wildlife. Along with his application, 449 other people applied for the position. 30 applicants received interviews to attend the school and only six graduated. As you can guess, Russ was one of the six. In two years of working for the Division of Wildlife, he was promoted to Wildlife Enforcement Agent, where he spent the next 11.5 years of his career. Russ used dream #2 to purchase the land on the Rim of the World and built the home he still resides in today. Dream #2 took 8 years and dream #3, took 25 years. What happened to his first dream of boating the Ohio River?
It took 50 years! After 50 years, he completed the 5,000 river miles on the pontoon boat he still has sitting in a barn at his home. Russ explained the miles and each section he completed in great depth that he wrote about in his book, Ohio River Trekking on a Small Budget.
I did ask Russ, why is all this even important, to which he replied,
Everyone dreams. Listen to those whom you trust who have knowledge about that which you dream; but make your own decisions. Then discipline yourself to live your personal dreams. Doing so will reward you far beyond anything you can ever imagine.”