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Episode 012- Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America

On today’s episode, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America, will discuss the influence of a humble upbringing in a large family and how Feeding America’s network of food banks distributed a record 6.6 billion meals in their last fiscal year. She shares how her heart and head were instrumental in the decisions that propelled her to success, and how learning from failure and growing from hardship have allowed her to write a new personal legacy.

00:53 – Introductions, non-linear career path and the influential role of her large family in learning generosity and diversity
06:45 – Lessons learned from the library–the thread that matters in the work being done; the appreciation and power of literature
11:00 – Claire discusses origins of interest in public service, the impact of her father’s confidence in her, the diversity of HBCU’s & the impromptu decision that paved her path as a tax lawyer
16:01 – Exceeding aspirations–from gubernatorial appointee, to litigation, to Chief Tax Officer and Global Treasure Officer for Walmart
19:45 – Failing miserably, finding the path to value & leveraging the expertise of others
25:45 – The difficult moments–cancer diagnosis and the question that made her go back to the core of her ambitions to change her legacy
30:51 – Claire discuss the process of making a career change
33:35 – Taking time off to plan next steps and maintaining the course for her new chapter
34:37 – Meaningful connections–how Walmart lead her to Feeding America
35:55 – Welcome to Chicago–polar vortex, earning her winter bona fides and making Chicago her home
39:35 – What Chicago does right–innovation, creativity, history, culture, and diversity
42:12 – Facing COVID–strengthening the team base, innovating, obtaining bipartisan support for legislation for food access                               
46:43 – How the pandemic that has reframed perception of food security hunger; Claire explains earned hunger
49:30 – Rapid Fire Questions
50:22 – What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

Recommended books:

The Power of Giving Away Power

Hey Grandude! By Paul McCartney

Episode link: Feeding America

Host: Margaret Mueller, CEO & President, The Executives’ Club of Chicago
Producer: Eva Penar, Chief Content & Communications Officer, The Executives’ Club of Chicago

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