Do what you can, when you can

Leroy M. Ball, president and CEO of Koppers Inc., who is featured in this month’s cover story, is deeply involved in the community.

He serves on the board of directors of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He is also an honorary board member for the National Kidney Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and a trustee of Robert Morris University. A champion of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Ball is also serving as the 2017 Allegheny County Campaign chair and 2017 co-chair of the Helping Families Thrive Investment Strategy and Action Plan Committee.

When I asked him how he makes time for so much philanthropy, he says you have to accept the fact that it will ultimately infringe upon your personal time. Even if Ball attends meetings during work hours, that work doesn’t go away. It means staying later, coming in earlier, working the weekend, etc.

But it’s important enough to be worth it in Ball’s eyes.

“The corporate community and folks that are in my position have a responsibility for helping to build and strengthen the communities that support their companies,” he says.

“There are a lot of great organizations out there that do a lot of great things. I personally have been very fortunate in my life to have the job that I have, to have had the other jobs that I’ve had, and I get paid pretty handsomely to do that. The least I can do is find a way to make a positive impact,” Ball says.

No one is an island, and everyone has family and friends who are touched by the different things that are served by these nonprofits.

“I’m a strong believer in doing everything I can to help where I can. Someone in my role can bring a lot of influence, and I don’t want to waste the opportunity,” he says.

When you have a short window of opportunity, you should try and make the most of it, Ball says. I’ll second that.