Dublin-Worthington News Stories

Member Spotlight: Courtney Chapman

Friday, May 28, 2021 By: Paul J. Cynkar
Advancing the Leadership Mindset
Finding Success in the Success of Others

This is another in a series of member profiles based on discovery interview questions that were designed to get an up close view of the traits and strengths of some of the members who provide leadership to this organization.

Membership Spotlight:  Courtney Chapman
A Fascinating and Friendly Flyer

Tell us about yourself.  Give us three facts that include information about your family, your career and your pastimes.

Given that I’m 91 years old, I have a lot more than three things to share!  Along the way I’ve graduated from college, enlisted in the Navy, went to flight school, transferred to the Army National Guard, went to helicopter school, retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, served as an associate professor of aviation at the University of Illinois and The Ohio State University, moved to Worthington in 1959, married Barbara Avery in 1993, spent 25 years in disaster assistance with the Ohio and Federal  Emergency Management Agencies, served on Worthington’s city council, served as a trustee for the Walnut Grove and Flint cemeteries, facilitated divorce mediation, embarked on a 15 day trek with Barbara in the Himalaya’s going toward Mount Everest at 17,000 feet, then, when I was 70, we had  a trek up to the Kilimanjaro rim at 19,030 feet.  I also raised two children and hosted three international exchange students.  Honestly, I haven’t had much time for pastimes though recently I began a course in drawing. 

How long have you belonged to Rotary?  What’s the best thing about membership?
I joined Rotary forty-two years ago in 1979.  I have been the chairperson of the community service committee, I served as president during our tenth anniversary year and I have been involved in our International service projects. Rotary is my support group.  Rotary is like my family!
As you look back on your life and your career, where and when did you have the biggest impact on others?  Who was impacted and how?
Over time there have been a number of times when I felt I made an impact.  I coached and mentored an employee of the cemetery board and encouraged her success, I connected with a student from Brazil who was part of the Rotary International Scholarship Program and we have stayed in touch.  I mentored another young student from Taiwan who later had a successful career as a reporter in Los Angeles.  While with FEMA, I was part of a team that helped victims of disasters get access to assistance

As you look back, which of the opportunities you’ve had has been the most fulfilling to you personally?  Why?

The time I spent as director of operations working with students as part of two university aviation programs. I really enjoyed my time flying, teaching in a classroom and doing research.  I also enjoyed working with students in Rotary’s International Program.  Serving others and seeing them succeed has always been fulfilling to me.
Describe the most challenging project you’ve ever worked on.  What was your role?  What was the result? What did you learn?
I’ve experienced many challenges along the way.  It ranged from finding the right kind of heated flooring for airport hangars, to merging two cemeteries that had multiple jurisdictional issues, to long days and long assignments with FEMA that would have me working seven hours a day, seven days a week while being away from home for a month at a time.  Some of those FEMA assignments were heartrending!
What are some things you are passionate about?  What really excites you? What gets your adrenalin flowing?  What makes your heart sing?
As I mentioned before, working with young people, particularly international students, has always been a passion.  Gaining their trust is always an important first step and often leads to long relationships.  I have also enjoyed attending pilot meetings where both new and experienced pilots have the opportunity to share their experiences.
What are you especially skilled at?  What is something that others often tell you that they think makes you stand out?
I have been told that I am skilled at conducting meetings.  I am proud of my facilitation skills and the ability to run meetings that stay on task within the allotted time.  It’s important to recognize that attendees have busy schedules and little time to waste.  Barbara and I used that skill as mediators for couples who were struggling over the terms of their divorce.
When you have a moment to sit back and think (dream) about your future, what do you think about?
I often reflect on the relationships I’ve had with others and the desire to continue those relationships and start new ones.  Rotary is a great place to nurture relationships.
If you could choose anyone (alive or deceased) to have lunch with, who would it be? Why?
I would like to have lunch with Richard Engle.  He is the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News.  He has been everywhere.  He frequently meets with presidents, prime ministers and other world leaders.  He has covered wars in many parts of the world.  He is highly engaged and is part of the events he covers.  I find him fascinating.

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