“A Dedication to our Great Friend & Colleague at CLG”
By Sarah Banks
James S. Hillgren was a devoted husband, a loving father, and an engaging leadership coach at The Continuous Learning Group. In October of 2011, Jim lost his 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Throughout his diagnosis he was known for his positive attitude and for remaining honest & objective about his diagnosis even as the disease became more challenging. His CLG business partner of 15 years, Steve Jacobs, described him as “a warrior” as he endured vigorous treatments and, in a letter written to the company he wrote “we will miss Jim more than words could ever describe.”
An executive at CLG, Jim wore many hats as a business partner, a Chief People Officer, and leadership coach. One of Jim’s final projects was co-authoring the book “The Behavior Breakthrough”. As a special way to honor his memory, co-authors, partners, and mentees dedicated the book in Jim’s memory. The company then reached out to the Hirshberg Foundation to set up a memorial fund as a special tribute to him. After the book release in May 2013, CLG will be contributing a portion of the book royalties towards research and supporting patients and families facing pancreatic cancer.
Jim believed in giving back and it was a code he lived by. One of Jim’s favorite quotes was, “There’s a time to earn, a time to learn, and a time to serve.” The two people closest to him at CLG, Steve Jacobs and long-time Executive Assistant Donna Dotson, spoke fondly of his calm yet proactive nature expressing that Steve has said “Jim created a sense of purpose and camaraderie. When he spoke people always listened, yet he focused more on others than himself. He had a strong presence and a great sense of humor but he encouraged others around him to shine.”
The company has always seen their motto “When it’s time to make things happen” as a call to action amongst peers and clients alike. Undoubtedly, his knowledge, expertise, and caring guidance helped people unleash their true potential. Jim’s real gift was that he had a gentle, quiet approach. People were naturally drawn to him and he had the innate ability to create calmness where there was chaos. Throughout his illustrious career, Jim’s thoughtful leadership and his inviting, calm style were ever-present in all that he did as a CLG senior executive.
He was a dedicated member of the Continuous Learning Group family since 1998 and his peers at CLG will remember him as an exceptional and generous man. Jim Hillgren’s legacy will continue through the work of individuals and organizations around the world.