This week’s question: Tom Shaw of Dixon retires this month as CEO of Shaw Media, which dates back 166 years. As sixth-generation members of the Shaw Media family (and sons of Tom!), could you share your insight into his talents as a company leader and a father?
J. Tom Shaw
Vice president of Shaw Media and general manager of the Shaw Suburban Group
Dad is a fantastic role model. He is well regarded in the industry as an honest, intelligent leader, and he lives up to that reputation.
At home, I grew up watching him lead our family the same way. He loves his six children and seven grandchildren, and enjoys spending time with all of us.
I have so many good memories of Dad growing up. He taught me how to fish on the Rock Fiver, and showed me how to jump off Third Rock.
In our garage, he showed me how to build a device to magnetize screwdrivers. He introduced me to the wonders of calcium carbide (flammable when wet) and how to water ski.
On the day of my high school graduation, we walked around the block and he gave me the classic advice, “Work hard, play hard.” It was easy advice to take.
As the oldest, I was the first to gain independence and move out to Colorado, the great West where Dad took us throughout our childhood. Even one thousand miles away, I always felt like Dad was there for me. We talked on the phone at least once a week, every week for the 14 years I lived out of state.
That’s something I noticed about my Dad as a leader, at home and at work. He always has a genuine care and interest in the people surrounding him.
Director of Global Advisory, WAN-IFRA (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers)
It’s a unique privilege to get to know your father professionally.
As a child, I saw him manifest leadership through guidance, encouragement and action. Whether racing together down the ski slopes or showing me how to set up a tent, he actively served our family by creating stability and fun, and working alongside our mother to find the unique strengths to develop within each of us kids.
Then later in life, watching to see how his ideals and values translated from our home life into the business world filled me with a tremendous amount of respect. To see a circumspect, strategic operator strive toward success was indeed interesting.
However, when I began to understand that that operator’s idea of success was genuinely building a high-performance culture, thriving local communities and the successful lives of his employees, that interest transformed into something more – admiration.
And now as he transitions into a new phase of life, I look forward to see how he continues to lead.
Trustee / Corporate Strategy Coordinator, Shaw Media
Whether as CEO and president of Shaw Media, as the leader of numerous other organizations, or as our father, my dad has led with an effective balance of others’ interest first, and the unwavering pursuit of what is right.
While there was plenty of opportunity to make Shaw Media, our family, or the numerous other groups and endeavors of his about him, he is the leader he is, because he lives and breathes stewardship.
He has always sought the betterment of those around him, through encouragement, careful consideration, and thought-provoking challenges.
My wife always describes him as wise; she is right. He is wisdom put into practice, driven by passion and love for his family, the family business, the industry, the community, and his faith.
I am very fortunate and grateful for being able to share in his passion for the stewardship of Shaw Media, for life in rural Illinois (especially on the Rock River), and most of all, life with the family.