Lois Bolin Old Naples Historian

In the late 1980s, my consulting practice, Success Fulfillment, focused on enhancing productivity without burning up a company’s most important resource – its human resource.

Some executive called my work “touchy feely” – not the kind we have seen in Hollywood and Washington these days – but the kind that taught leaders how to bring out the best in one’s team members through actively living their company’s espoused mission and values and having the moral courage to address those times when we or our companies are not in alignment – or walking the talk as we used to say.

Leaders who have amazed me throughout history are those who have come through enormous hardships with public scrutiny and were not defeated, but were strengthened through their effort and struggles. One such example was a developer who was falsely accused of money laundering and chose to fight it out in court- no matter the cost – and it cost her dearly monetarily. Yet, she never lost her faith in herself, her family, or her God. She was one of those rare breeds who saw business as a calling.

The author, Robert Novak, addressed this issue of Business as a Calling and refuted the conception that business leaders are materialistic, declaring that “business not only creates social connections, it lifts its participants out of poverty, and builds the foundation of democracy, but also can and must be morally uplifting.” Adam Smith would concur. He went on to note that like the work of priests and ministers, the toils of professionals are often stirred by a sense of calling.

Three years ago I met another such lady who personified Novack’s book. Her calling was to create an organization that was going to bind together like-minded entities that did things “above board.”


Jeanne Sweeney, president and founder of The Above Board Chamber of Florida, said that the main goal of her business is to do business “right” and she asks every member (as she asks herself) to question themselves often to see that their life – in and out of the office – are above board. Researchers agree that understanding your company’s core values and fundamental beliefs about what “right” looks like in your company cannot be overstated.

Jeanne stated that with aligning businesses that are conducting business openly, without gimmicks, and in good faith, is the mission of the Above Board Chamber. Since it’s inception, Jeanne was “determined to bring together business owners of every faith (even if only faith in oneself) for their monthly meetings held every 2nd Monday at the Hilton Naples, adding an unusual twist. She invites non-profit organizations to set up a table (free of charge) at every meeting because she wants to bring to light many of those often overlooked charities in the Lee and Collier communities. The only requirement is to call to reserve a table.

While researching this modest character with a smile that makes you ask – what is she up to – I found that she has made quite the impact on SWFL businesses. The following are just a few of her accolades: 2017 Cape Coral Community Foundation Michel Doherty Impact Award; 2017 Florida Gulf Coast University Small Business Development Distinguished Entrepreneur of the year; Gulfshore Business Finalists in the 2017Best of Business Awards for small business in SWFL; 2016 Four Way Test Award from Fort Myers Rotary South; 2013 and 2012 Southwest Florida Reader’s Choice Award for Professional Organization.

Jeanne Sweeny offers spiritual and educational feast for leaders, managers and employees who are examining how to make a life through making a living, thus reaching their maximum potential for success and fulfillment.

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to kick off the New Year?

For more information on Above Board’s monthly meetings or on how to become a member, contact Jeanne Sweeney at 239.910.7426 or visit

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