“Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging,” said Brene Brown in her latest book Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. We’re proud to spotlight this next couple from Kansas who do just this. Bill and Jann Newton are wonderful leaders and entrepreneurs with the Bonvera family who welcome many to the Bonvera community and make them feel at home.
Bill and Jann reside in Wichita, Kansas where they have lived for most of their lives. They went to Texas A&M, and after getting married, they came back to Kansas to help Jann’s family with farming and a family business. Jann described, “We had a farm equipment business that we started with my family. As my dad got ill, we took over and ran the business with my brother. The economy took a crash, and we took a crash with it.” They had been in the “top 10 combine sales in North America.” Bill explained, “We took a big loss on our farm equipment in 1982. We held on for 4-5 years.” Jann said, “That’s when we took a look at the industry.”
When asked how they became a part of Bonvera, you couldn’t help but feel the passion and courage behind their reply. Bill said, “So it was just a group of things that were coming together, and when something like that happens, you either sit on the sidelines and suck your thumb or you choose to do something magnificent. We decided to do something magnificent. Jann and I believe we have a purpose, and it’s provided a great opportunity to speak into our children and grandchildren.” Jann added, “We found people that wanted to build this for us and by us so that generations down the road could have a business that they were proud of and withstand the scrutiny of what was right and wrong. We’re so proud to have family and friends that we can share this with.” They saw a group of “men and women that had common goals and dreams that wanted to help so many different people.” With the unique opportunity that Bonvera offers to people, they love that they can give people hope. Jann said, “Seeing the sparkles in their eyes. It never gets old. It still gives me goosebumps.”
Bill nailed down exactly what makes Bonvera so unique. Bill said, “If there is ever a business out there where someone invests their time and it benefits both parties and you can’t lose them to another business, then this is it. I can pour everything I have into your business, and it won’t hurt my business. That’s what is unique about Bonvera. When you think of the nature of what we have, it is truly remarkable.”
Jann described that her favorite thing about Bonvera was “making an impact on people’s lives. There’s nothing like seeing someone’s life change. So many people have never had someone else believe in them. It’s so awesome to watch people blossom as they see themselves through your eyes. It’s so fun watching them grow into leaders. We just registered a family that said we’ve always lost. All of their other family members are successful, or so they think, and they don’t think they’ve been very successful.” Bill said, “We started to do it for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons was to create ongoing residual income. There are so few things that do that. The other reason was to be in business with our family.” For Bill and Jann, it really is all about family. Both their son and their daughter and their spouses are a part of this business, and their grandchildren are involved in the business too.
When you’re with Bill and Jann, you feel like a part of the family. Jann said, “When we go to every meeting, we say I wonder if we are going to meet some of our best friends.” As they are meeting people, their kids and their grandchildren are seeing their whole family work together to make an impact on people’s lives. For Bill and Jann, it’s all about legacy. In fact, Bill and Jann require that their kids have to read certain books before they get any of the rewards allocated in their will. Jann described that it ensures “that legacy stays with an attitude of gratitude as it’s passed down.”
“The best memory I have is from the very beginning of Bonvera. I’ve got a picture somewhere. All of these guys, Tim Marks, Tim Jarvinen, Kyle, Bob, Tymber, and Bill, are sitting in the basement just talking about the future. Later on, at 3 am, they are still there. The enthusiasm and wisdom that was coming out of that was so fun to see and think about. The start of the business was in the basement with so much heart and energy.” Bill joked, “When you get as old as I am, the most recent memory is the only one you have. The memories they keep coming. If you think about what we have and it potentially being life changing for folks, almost every time we share this business it’s an “Aha” moment. We get to have that almost every day, it’s really amazing.”
Bill and Jann are a couple that truly work together. Bill described, “It’s not your duty or my duty. It’s like we got to go and get it done.” Whatever they have to do, they have an attitude to put all hands on deck and do what needs to be done for the good of one another, their families, and others. This is their “secret sauce” or what makes them unique as a couple.
Of course, we had to finish up this interview with a few fun questions for these two!
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Bill confidently stated, “O. My. Goodness. Ribs. If God himself were to make pork bbq ribs and compared them with mine, there wouldn’t be a big difference in taste.” Jann said he slaves for hours on his delicious ribs! Jann answered, “My favorite food would probably be chocolate with caramel. When I’ve gotten all the stuff I wanted to get done that day, I’ll tell myself I can have one square. Although I don’t like to stop with one.”
If you were a cartoon character, what would you be?
Jann replied, “I would say for me that would be Minny Mouse. One of my favorite things is to dance with my grandkids. Doing fun things like that. I would say Minny Mouse because all of my grandkids are going to be taller than me, and I’m going to be the smallest.”
Bill stated, “Elmer Fudd. He’s the guy hunting that ‘wabbit.’” Jann joked, “Actually, that would be him!”
Bill and Jann are leaving a legacy for their family, for future generations, and for Bonvera. If you know Bill and Jann, you are a part of their family. We’re so honored to have them with Bonvera, and we thank you for taking the time to get to know Bill and Jann Newton. To learn more about our Bonvera Leaders, visit Leader Profiles on the blog. If you want to learn more about Bonvera, talk to your local Bonvera entrepreneur. To get connected to one, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (316) 260 – 2225.