Principles and Power: Nick Kennedy and RISE

On Friday, October 28, entrepreneur, author and Harding alumnus Nick Kennedy will visit Harding University to speak with young entrepreneurs on campus. As the creator and CEO of multimillion dollar aeronautical company, RISE, Kennedy has been around the block of entrepreneurial leadership, and he is excited to share his business experience
and spiritual journey with students.

“Every good idea comes from solving a problem” Kennedy said from his home office in Dallas, Texas. “Entrepreneurs are just people who get frustrated with something that’s wrong and refuse to stop until they go fix it.”

Today, the entrepreneur met with a group of IMC students to talk entrepreneurship and

Kennedy listens to a student in the Reeves room on October 27, 2022. The Dallas native flew to Searcy for Homecoming weekend to encourage business and communication students.

For Kennedy, the problem was the time consuming nature of flying commercial airlines, and the solution was a more accessible private airline network. He called this solution RISE, and the subscription-based airline service became one of the most disruptive airline ventures in the past twenty years.

A RISE Super King Air 250 can take her Dallas-based passengers to a meeting in San Antonio, and have them back in time for dinner that same day. For business people who have multiple out-of-town meetings a week, Kennedy’s company changes their world.

Before Kennedy was changing the airline industry’s world, however, his world was being shaped in his home in San Diego, as well as right here at Harding University.

Kennedy’s history is one for the movie screen. Kennedy’s father was convicted and imprisoned for a white-collar crime, and in his book, “The Good Entrepreneur,” Kennedy admits that he wrestles with that part of his past.

“The reality of having an abject father is a symbol of failure, while the reality of being able to fly in a private plane is a symbol of power,” the author said. “The question we really need to ask ourselves is are we living in a way that is glorifying God, and what symbols point to that reality?”

But even powerful symbols aren’t everything.

“I’ve known people who are in private planes who are in prison of their own making, and I know people who are in prison who are completely free,” Kennedy said.

The bestselling author and leadership coach will talk about more than just symbols of power when he visits campus. His experience as a baseball player for Harding University has given him insight into how powerful the Hand of God is, and he is excited to share that part of his journey.

“Two weeks before Harding started, I was offered a scholarship to be a catcher for the baseball team,” Kennedy recalled. “I was planning on playing at a junior college, but something had happened with the catcher at Harding, so two weeks later I packed a duffle bag and landed in Little Rock. All that to say, things can change for the better very, very quickly.”

Kennedy emphasizes the importance of using our gifts to better the world, and this takes a certain mindset on money and wealth.

“Don’t get me wrong, money is oxygen for business, but there’s so much more after the money,” Kennedy said. “As Christians we are called to take our gifts and talents and use them to the best of our ability. Don’t go bury them in the field. Take them and grow those.”

Come to hear Mr. Kennedy speak at 10 a.m. this Friday in Mabee 110, as well as at 2 p.m. in Mabee 101.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *