Special Guest Ickey Woods at the Window Genie 2015 Annual Convention
Ickey Woods… you may remember him from Super Bowl 23… the rookie fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals who rushed for over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in the 1988 season… he brought us “excessive celebration” with the Ickey Shuffle… the dance you can now see immortalized through his recent Geico commercials… We were incredibly honored to welcome Ickey Woods to the 2015 Window Genie Annual Convention in New Orleans last week. We invited Ickey to speak to the whole Window Genie team about the Jovante Woods Foundation.
The Jovante Woods Foundation was created after Ickey suddenly and tragically lost his son Jovante to a severe Asthma attack in 2010. Unbeknownst to his parents, Jovante had checked “yes” for organ donation on his drivers permit earlier that year. LifeCenter worked with the Woods family to grant Jovante’s wishes and he was able to save 5 lives and impact dozens more through tissue donation. Being not only a star on on the football and track team at Princeton High School in Cincinnati but also a 3.8GPA student, Jovante’s parents developed the foundation with a mission that was 3-fold… They would create an ongoing endowment in Jovante’s name at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Asthma research division to help fund critical research and education to help raise awareness and means to treat the disease, they would work with LifeCenter to raise awareness to the benefits of being an organ donor, and they created the “3.8 to be great” scholarship that rewards one male and one female academically successful high school athlete in the tri-state area each year.
We asked Ickey to speak at our convention because we believe he has a unique perspective of what giving back and reaching out to the community means and how it can make a difference. Window Genie operates with 75 locations in 24 states – giving back to our individual communities has always been a major part of Window Genie’s culture… we even have our own program called Windows 4 Wishes that encourages and enables all franchise partners to give back to their communities.Window Genie’s founder and CEO, Rik Nonelle became friends with Ickey early last year after meeting him while Ickey was doing some fundraising for his foundation. Touched by Ickey’s story, Rik felt compelled to involve the Window Genie corporate team as well as the Cincinnati franchise as a way to help raise awareness and funds for the foundation locally… This past year we helped sponsor a local celebrity golf tournament that benefited the Jovante Woods Foundation… and the local Cincinnati franchise included information about the foundation in their advertising that was distributed throughout the greater Cincinnati area. Ickey even did the ALS ice bucket challenge with the Window Genie corporate team this summer!
He’s been a great friend to our team and we hoped that inviting him to our annual convention as a guest speaker would be mutually beneficial. Ickey spoke to the entire Window Genie system about the importance of identifying a passion and how YES small businesses CAN make a difference in their communities. Ickey has worked with both individuals and local businesses to further his mission, and made it a point to assure our franchise partners that if they identify a passion for a cause…. that contributing money, time and effort would never go unrewarded. The work Ickey has done to raise funds for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the work he’s done with LifeCenter, and the scholarships his foundation has provided – it all means that he’s able to provide hope for families battling Asthma, and he can help them avoid a similar tragedy as his. Ickey’s reward for giving back to the community is that he’s able to do an immense amount of good in his son’s name, it helps his family heal and it gives him purpose in the wake of his personal tragedy. Window Genie feels incredibly fortunate to have met Ickey and become a small part of the enormous amount of good he and his foundation continue to do in our community.
Our franchise partners and guests were just as moved as we… and in addition to Window Genie corporate donating $1,000 to the Jovante Woods Foundation… Ickey was able to raise over $2,000 for the foundation through merchandise and donations from our attendees. We’re thankful for the impact Ickey made on Team Genie – and we hope moving forward our franchise owners will take pride in their unique ability to give back and participate in the communities they share with their customers.