Alumnus shares advice on life

Leon Royer - President of American Bank

Leon Royer – President of American Bank

Hobie Brown

The true measure of success may not come from the bottom line of a bank account.

Rather, it comes from persevering through all odds to achieve your dreams.

Missouri Southern alumnus Leon Royer, president of American Bank in Bozeman, Mont. gave a presentation based on

lessons learned in life, faith, academia and perseverance as part of the Missouri Southern School of Business Administration’s Business

and Economic Executive Lecture series.

“The key to vocational success is to put yourself in a position to be of better value to the company,” he said.

Royer is a Joplin native, graduating from the Joplin school district. He passed up a scholarship to Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. to attend Southern.

“My mom was insisting I stay closer to home,” he said.

Royer was chosen as a speaker in accordance with the purpose of the lecture series.

“We typically look for someone who is an alumni,” said Dr. Brad Kleindl, dean of the school of business administration. “The reason for that is we want you to be able to see where the alumni have gone, the types of careers they developed. In most cases, they didn’t know where they would end up today.”

After graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in accounting, Royer found himself entering a management trainee program at First National Bank & Trust in Joplin. He later became vice president of Community National Bank in Joplin, and continued to work his way around the country until he found himself living in the land he had always wanted to live in: the big sky country of Montana. He accomplished this feat by taking risks.

“I had the opportunity to stay in St. Paul, Minn., where I was scheduled to receive a $600,000 bonus, or to move to Bozeman and make the same amount of money I was making without the bonus,” Royer said. “When I told my boss I was leaving for Montana, he thought I was crazy for passing up the bonus.”

Though the money was a factor, the decision to make the move was based on his vocational happiness.

“Vocational happiness lies in two passions,” Royer said. “The first is passion of place, the second is passion of job.”

The value of the place is something Royer said most of us underestimate.

“It should be the dominating factor in making the job decision,” he said.

Having the opportunity to achieve one of his goals has allowed Royer to put time into the community. He serves on the board of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE). FREE offers training seminars on conservation and environmental issues.

“It is important to give your free time to projects which serve others,” he said.

Royer concluded his presentation by sharing five items with the audience.

“First, keep learning,” he said. “Knowledge is power. The more you know the greater the possibility to be able to open doors to others. Second, take smart risks.

“The extent of the reward you receive comes from the size of the risk you take. Third, until you find a passionate place, you will not be truly happy. Fourth, you cannot maximize your full potential without the help of others.

“Build relationships with people who aspire to do great things. Lastly, start giving back to others. You’d be surprised the more you give to those who can use your time, the greater the good that will come your way. Always keep in mind the first sentence of Rick Warren’s powerful bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, ‘It’s not about you’.”