EO Global Board Spotlight
A special look at EO’s influential leaders
Gus Valen, EO Cincinnati
EO Global Chairman-Elect-Elect
EO leader since 2007
If you had to pick one band or musician to create the soundtrack to your life, who would it be and why?
GV: It would have to be Led Zeppelin, but with John Bonham, who is my all-time favorite drummer. He’s since passed, but they could let me sit in on a track!
What has been one of your most inspiring moments as an EO member?
GV: The presentation John O’Leary gave at a recent EO event. John is a burn victim, author and celebrated speaker, and his presentation focuses on the power of love and overcoming adversities. He spoke at GLC: Vancouver, and his speech almost made me cry.
Who do you look up to in business or life?
GV: My dad, who always went against the grain as an appellate court judge. He’s always been a man who makes what he feels is the right decision, whether or not it is popular.
What’s something you wish more people knew about you?
GV: I wish more people knew my better half, my wife, Kelly, who is the smart one in the family and sets me straight. I’ve been madly in love with her since we met at the age of 18. She is so supportive of my time in EO.
How do you spend your time when you’re not leading EO?
GV: I drive my daughter to school on days I’m in town, coach my kids in sports and play in a rock band with my best friend from high school (when I can fit in the shows!). Sometimes to make it all work, I’ve flown back in from an EO event to play a show that same night or make my daughter’s birthday party that morning. Oh, and of course, I have a couple of businesses to lead.
Blair Assaly, EO Edmonton
EO leader since 2004
What’s one of your favorite things about being an EO leader?
BA: I’d have to say relationship building. I have made and fostered amazing relationships over the years. When you start to meet members from around the world, you really begin to understand the similarities and challenges we all face. Being an EO leader affords me this great opportunity.
What is one unique thing people don’t know about you?
BA: I enjoy collecting artwork.
What value has EO brought to your life beyond just business?
BA: EO has an incredible impact on my family. It is a pleasure to have both my wife and boys accompany me on various EO trips. My wife, Tara, has also participated in a Spousal Forum for two years, and is seeing the benefit of that experience.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be doing right now?
BA: The only way I would not be running a business is if I had sold it or retired. If that is the case, I would be working in my community, supporting special projects and golfing.
Who do you idolize in business or life?
BA: In general, the people I respect and admire are the people who, with their actions, always put family first.