Principles of professionalism are Van Hooser’s mantra |

Principles of professionalism are Van Hooser’s mantra

Duane Johnson
Phillip Van Hooser conducts a speaking engagement at TedXMurrayStateU.

Name: Phillip Van Hooser

Age: 60

Resides: Princeton, Ky.

Family: Wife Susan, son, Joe,

daughters Sarah and Sophies, five grandchildren with another one on the way

Phillip Van Hooser’s 12 ways to maximize your professional impact:

Always offer your assistance.

Take a minute longer than is necessary.

Do more than is expected.

Don’t whine; don’t whisper; don’t wonder.

Guard your reputation.

Never compromise your integrity.

Commit to constant improvement.

Work to solve problems, rather than place blame.

Be loyal.

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Don’t give up, give out.

Be thankful.

One might not think growing up on a farm in Kentucky would lead Phillip Van Hooser down a path as a sought-after public speaker and leadership coach.

But it was simple principles he learned at an early age that stuck with him later in his professional career.

“Growing up on the farm, my dad always encouraged me to offer assistance to others, whether it was to help my brother or the other hands on the farm,” Van Hooser said.

In 1980, after graduating from Murray State University, Van Hooser went to work as a personnel supervisor at Hyster Company, a Fortune 500 manufacturer. Surprisingly, he found other employees didn’t have that philosophy ingrained in them.

In 1988, he started his own company, Van Hooser Associates, as a way to develop the next generation of leaders, drawing on his own experiences working in the human resources and personnel management field. As a keynote speaker and leadership development trainer, he uses that simple advice his father once gave as part of a dozen principles in his “Professionalism is a Choice” checklist he shares at presentations, mentoring leaders in a variety of industries.

One of Van Hooser’s most recent engagements was keynote speaker at a WIN breakfast in Reno in September.

“It was the first time I had been in Reno in about 30 years, and I couldn’t believe how much the place has grown over time,” Van Hooser said.

He speaks to various industry groups and organizations, manufacturers, agriculturalists, and even U.S. military branches and government agencies.

He said one of the most interesting engagements was speaking before the PeriAnthesia Nurses Association. Beforehand, he witnessed firsthand surgeons perform a few different procedures, which assisted his own engagement with the group later.

Over his career, Van Hooser has made 4,500 presentations to 900 companies or organizations across the United States and as far as New Zealand and South Africa.

His “Professionalism is a Choice” list, or what Van Hooser refers to as “universals truths,” may vary in front of audiences in any industry or part of the world, but the underlying message behind them is the same. These “truths” are also boiled down and combined from about 50 different ideas and drawn not only from Van Hooser’s experiences but from other colleagues and acquaintances.

“The topics may change in any presentation, but every industry needs leaders,” Van Hooser said. “My job is to take what I know, do my homework and let it play out.”

He also parlayed the list into a best-selling book, “Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership.”

Van Hooser uses storytelling in his presentations. It’s a huge part of his native Southern culture, so the art comes naturally to him.

He has three types of speaking engagements: keynote presentations to 50, 100 or even 1,000 people; training exercises with small individual groups; as well as one-on-one online training via his website on a subscription basis or YouTube as well as

He earned his Certified Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association in 1993 and was elected by the organization as a Hall of Fame Speaker in 2006.

Besides his aforementioned book, he also authored three other titles: “Willie’s Way: 6 Secrets for Wooing, Wowing and Winning Customers and Their Loyalty,” “We Need To Talk: Building Trust When Communicating Gets Critical,” as well as “You’re Joe’s Boy, Ain’t Ya? Life’s Lessons for Living, Loving and Leading.”

He recently turned 60, but Van Hooser has no plans to slow down.

“I enjoy what I do and don’t intend to stop speaking anytime soon,” he said. “The best I can do is to continue building leaders.”


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