Eight community leaders on living an active, purpose-driven life

Carole & Ed Rigaud

Carole & Ed Rigaud: Success and happiness for all

What principle has guided you throughout your life? 

We have been married for 56 years, and for us, we value the freedom for everyone to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” In order to follow this sacred creed, we first had to determine our individual purpose in life. We are both African Americans who grew up in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era, when everything was segregated, and discrimination was the way of life. This terrible experience has made us realize that we both have an obligation to make our country a better place where everyone can indeed achieve happiness.

How have you pursued a purpose-driven retirement? 

Carole: My purpose has always been to help children. I am one of 14 children in my family, and I realized early on that each of us has different needs throughout our lives to achieve success and happiness. I support the organizations that help children and the parents of those children. I love to work in the field with these organizations and do the hands-on work required to really help our children who are in need. As long as I am mobile and clear-headed, I want to continue to do this work, and contribute funds to support these important organizations.

Ed: My purpose is to create and build new opportunities for individual and community growth. This includes new organizations, places and systems that solve big problems and afford major opportunities for personal growth and well-being for our citizens. I especially like to focus on those who are under-represented and under-served in mainstream society. I have been blessed with the excellent training and personal growth from a 36-year career at Procter & Gamble, and the opportunity to become the inaugural president & CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Today, I focus on economic empowerment and inclusion. This means working on anti-poverty at one end of the spectrum all the way to “inclusive capitalism” for minority and women entrepreneurs. The goal is for everyone to be given the opportunity to be successful and achieve happiness in their lives, and for their families.

Carole Rigaud has served many nonprofit boards and committees. She has been honored as an Enquirer Woman of the Year, a Girl Scouts Great Rivers Council Inc., Woman of Distinction, and with the Lighthouse Youth Services 2010 Beacon of Light Humanitarian Award. Ed Rigaud is Chairman of Enova Premier, which he founded in 2007 after 36 years with P&G. He was founding President & CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

Kitty & Dick Rosenthal

Kitty & Dick Rosenthal: Stagnation no option

What insight can you offer to younger generations who are looking for meaning during these challenging times? 

Take a walk, read an engaging book. Call a friend and smile. In other words, clear your head, and think about what you want to do and can do to make your world a better, more meaningful place to live. It does not have to be transformative. It just has to get you thinking about actions you can take. 

What excites you about the future of Cincinnati?

Cincinnati, through its community leaders, has built a great platform for growth. Our parks, arts, centers for education and innovation, professional sports, and the work being done to alleviate poverty are first-class programs that provide a pathway to make Cincinnati THE CITY in the Midwest. 

What concerns you about our future? 

Cincinnati needs to look closely at a different political structure and a more efficient and effective transportation system. Clearly, the “strong mayor” system has not worked as well as the prior system. The citizens of Cincinnati have lost faith in our elected officials. Voters need to have confidence in a system that fairly represents them. The city manager form of government gives an equal voice to all elected officials representing us at City Hall. 

What’s the most important change you would make in the way the nonprofit sector operates?  

The city’s major fundraisers need to find a new model that captures the passions of new donors, advocates, funders, and audiences. The new model would become more dependent on public support, which, in part, could come from an art tax, common in many peer cities. 

Why have you remained active well into your retirement years? 

We are wired that way. We enjoy helping to make Cincinnati the best place it can be. We think if we stopped, the stagnation would lead to a lifestyle foreign to what makes us vital human beings.

Kitty Strauss Rosenthal spent more than 32 years in leadership positions for the Cincinnati U.S.A. Regional Chamber. She has served on numerous community boards. DIck Rosenthal was CEO of F&W Publications until he sold his company in 1999. His family foundation has made transformational gifts to the Cincinnati Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Center and the Ohio Innocence Project. 

Susan & John Tew

Susan & John Tew: Good health of mind and body

What excites you about the future of Cincinnati? 

We are excited to recommend to our young colleagues that they have a long, bright future in store in our world. Be well and enjoy it. Specifically, in the last 100 years, our life expectancy has doubled. Today, newborns can reasonably expect to become centenarians and retirees are now the most rapidly growing segment of the population.

Dr. Laura Carstensen, founding Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, laughed when she said, “We may owe more to our sanitary workers than to our doctors because public health has played such a huge role in increasing life expectancy.” Formerly, we believed that longevity was largely due to genetics. Now, we know that our behavior accounts for at least 80% of longevity. And we know that genes account for less than 15 percent of life expectancy, and are also mutable. Yes, and our genes are responsive to behavior; we can change our genes like we can change our jeans.

And what concerns you? 

We are concerned and hopeful that everyone will be more open to hear the good news.

Why have you remained active well into your retirement years? 

We are excited and have remained active (no time for retirement) because we have 50 years more than our ancestors enjoyed. We are challenged to learn better ways to live well and appreciate good health that can be ours during a century of longevity.

What insight would you want to share with the younger generations? 

Behavior is so important in improving our genes and outlook for the best health and wellness.

The Big 5 Opportunities: 1) Refrain from the use of tobacco and addictive drugs. 2) Practice good nutrition. 3) Engage in age-appropriate, life-long exercise and fitness. 4) Encourage social connectivity. 5) Seek a life consumed with purpose and meaning.

What can be done to encourage change in our community? 

We seek to help and encourage the cultural and contributing agents in our community to create and support environments that will enable all members of our community to have access to the cultural, artistic and healthy activities that will nurture individual and environmental longevity.

Susan Tew is a passionate advocate for integrative health and wellness approaches and an emeritus member of the Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund board of trustees. A leading neurosurgeon for 45 years, Dr. John Tew has held leadership positions with numerous nonprofits and was honored by the Cincinnati U.S.A. Regional Chamber as a Great Living Cincinnatian. 

Barbara & Larry Kellar

Barbara & Larry Kellar: The value of hard work

Why have you remained active well into your retirement years? 

Retirement years, for most of us, mean having more time to do the things we couldn’t when we were earning a living and raising children. As a volunteer, you can rise quickly to leadership positions if you show up and work hard.

If you were in a position to oversee all nonprofit activities in our region, what’s the most important change you’d make in the way the sector operates? 

Our nonprofits are one of the cores of our great community. In the arts, could we consolidate some of them regionally to get more performance for the same administrative dollars? A good model for this would be the merger of the PBS stations in Cincinnati and Dayton. As one entity with shared leadership and resources, CET and Think TV have gone from financial fragility to a solid unit, PMC, Public Media Connect.

What excites you about the future of Cincinnati? 

Take a drive through our city, teeming with new housing construction, apartments and condos everywhere, just waiting for the young people eager to become Cincinnatians. Ask them why they want to be a part of our great city and raise their children here.

What insight can you offer to younger generations who are looking for meaning during these challenging times? 

There’s a reason our parents were called “The Greatest Generation.” As small children, we took nickels to school to buy stamps for war bonds, saved foil from chewing gum wrappers we rarely had, our moms saved cooking grease, made cakes without sugar and went to work at Wright’s (Curtiss-Wright) making war machinery. We were happy to make such insignificant sacrifices to support our brothers, fathers, uncles and friends dying to preserve our freedom. Just when all seemed well, our boys went to Korea and then Vietnam fighting to preserve liberty here and in parts of the world we barely knew. If young people need meaning, please refer them to us “old folks.” We’ve been there.

Barbara Kellar hosts the Regional Emmy Award-winning “Showcase,” a long-running program on CET Arts. Larry Kellar spent four decades in leadership positions at Kroger, Kmart and Continental Properties, specializing in finance and real estate. He serves on several corporate boards, in addition to several arts boards in Cincinnati. He and Barbara have actively supported Cincinnati Ballet and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for decades, among many other organizations. 

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