Leadership is one of CKI’s tenets, but what does it take to be a good leader? Leadership can take so many different forms and has so many different qualities. A good leader is someone who can help spearhead campaigns and get others excited and energized alongside them. A good leader is someone who can make the correct decisions, even if they may be a little unpopular at the time. A good leader is someone who can connect with those around them outside of the professional realm, to get to know them as people. Sometimes, a good leader can be a little stubborn, but stubborn in the right way. Most importantly, a good leader is someone who can empower those around them to take on leadership responsibilities of their own, educate them and give them the knowledge they need to empower future generations of leaders that come after them. A true leader, however, is someone who knows how to combine all these qualities in the most opportune moments and pass them on to others.
Johnny K was a true leader and so much more to everyone who met and knew him.
John “Johnny K” Keegan was the District Administrator of the New York District of Circle K International for 33 years. Over that time, Johnny K served as a mentor, guide, educator, motivator and more to every CKI member that he met. CKI members all over knew of the legend that he was. He was present at every CKI convention, at every New York Kiwanis District Conference, and he was an icon at every single one. Even members from decades ago know of him and were able to strike up a conversation with him at any time. Throughout my years in CKI, I have never met someone who doesn’t have a fun story to tell about their times with Johnny K.
I had the pleasure of working with Johnny K during my two years as a Lieutenant Governor on the New York CKI District Board. I met him at the NY Key Club Leadership Training Conference in 2018 and when he heard I was going to St. Lawrence University for my undergraduate education, he handed me his business card to help recruit me into CKI and help build up the club at SLU. Once I became the Northern Division Lieutenant Governor, Johnny K always offered to help me out with anything I needed: from connecting with Kiwanians to getting to New York City from my small college town which we called “basically Canada.” Once I moved on and began working with the International Board, Johnny K would call me to talk about what was happening on the international side and how he could help. On top of everything he did for CKI members, he served as an idol and pillar of support for his fellow District Administrators and every Kiwanian who knew him.
Johnny K was a giant among men in the Kiwanis world and there truly will never be anyone else like him. He was a family member to everyone in the CKI world, and I am forever grateful that I was able to get to know him. Johnny K, thank you for everything that you did for me personally and for countless other CKI members and Kiwanians all over the world. Your legacy will live on forever in the waves of positive change that can all be tied back to the passion, energy and love you put into all the work you did. I promise we will make you proud.