Charles Gill, STEM Leader, Lumity Volunteer & Leadership Author
STEM leader and professional coach Charles Gill is a STEMTalk extraordinaire and one of Lumity’s longest-serving volunteers.
He is widely recognized throughout Chicago for helping kids realize their leadership potential. Charles’ new book, The Path to True Leadership: A Strategy for Leadership Growth, outlines his leadership principles of spiritual, personal, and professional growth. And his own life exemplifies his philosophy!
“I was the youngest of 15 kids growing up in Englewood. I got kicked out of school in 6th grade and had to repeat it. I felt like I let my parents down; it really hurt them,” Charles reflects. “I share these types of personal experiences with kids in my STEMTalks to help them see that every day is a new day. They have their whole lives to change and it starts with making good decisions each day.”
Charles credits the adults in his family, church, and community for guiding him back onto the right path in school and in life. With a college degree in IT and a graduate degree in business administration, Charles is now a 25-year IT professional, 20-year National Guardsman, and an Iraq War Veteran. After retiring from Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2017, Charles started his own consulting business, as well as the Woodlawn Diversity in Action community organization. He is also the recipient of a number of leadership awards, including Lumity’s “Go To” Award because, as the name suggests, Charles always lends a hand when we need him.
The importance of adult role models and mentors in his life is exactly why Charles dedicates his time to speaking with Lumity students and why he encourages other STEM professionals to do the same.
“There are so many ways to support Chicago kids and get them interested in STEM careers. If you have time, give time. If you have money, give money. If you can speak to kids, do that,” Charles recommends to other STEM leaders. “Listen to kids and don’t pass judgment. Ask kids what they think they need to get to a better place and help them get started.”
“If each one of us reaches one or two kids, they will grow up to reach others. Think about the impact we will have.”