Liz’s THD Reader Feature

I believe you can learn something from every person you meet, whether they are a CEO of an international corporation or a college freshman trying to find their way. There are many fascinating people on the Thought of the Day distribution list, and Liz’s THD Reader Feature is a way to share that wisdom.


Kelly Higgins

Kelly Higgins is a 2019 graduate of University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business. She was the 2018 recipient of the Heart of William J. Keating, Jr. Scholarship, which is awarded to a third-year business student who has made a tremendous impact on their community. She is currently the Commercial Learning Trainer for Intuitive Surgical. She is a daughter, sister, community leader, and inspiration to many. Here is Kelly’s story.


1. How did you get on the Thought of the Day distribution list?
After interviewing for The Heart of William J. Keating, Jr. Scholarship at the University of Cincinnati, Bill’s children, Liz and Paul, shared the Thought of the Day email and the story behind it. I immediately signed up and continue to share it with my family and friends.

2. What is your favorite Thought of the Day and why?
This is hard! I don’t think I can pick one. I have a handful saved that I frequently refer back to. But the one that has impacted me the most, and to me, is an umbrella quote over all other THDs, is: “A Final Message from T. Boone Pickens shared before his passing on September 11, 2019″ – specifically, the line “What is it that you will leave behind?”

It is easy to get caught up in my own life. I sometime find that I worry about myself versus others. When I read T. Boone Pickens’ question,“What is it that you will leave behind?” – it serves as a reminder that the things we do throughout our lives should play a role in the way we impact people. And, it’s not only while we are alive, but, more importantly, the role we play should leave a big enough impact that people will remember our contribution we are gone.

3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip

4. What is your life’s purpose?
To have a positive impact on the lives of all people I interact with, strangers and friends, and to make their days better than before they interacted with me.

5. (Besides marriage/having kids/etc.) What are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud of my 15-year-old-self who partnered with CancerFree Kids and my high school, Mount Notre Dame, to start Night for the Fight. It is an overnight event that raises money and awareness for Pediatric Cancer Research. Seven years later, this event has blown away all expectations. It has raised over $1 million for Pediatric Cancer Research and over 1,500 high school students have participated. After graduating high school, I remained involved as the Chair and helped mentor new leadership teams who have taken the reigns and continue to build on the event’s success. My 15-year-old-self started something that not only raised money and awareness for an important cause, but helped get students involved in their community and opened up opportunities to grow their leadership skills.

6. From your experience, what’s most important in life?
Whether it is with your spouse, family, friends, yourself, or God, I believe relationships, and the way you manage your relationships, are the most important part of life.

7. What do you believe in?
I believe God has a plan for everyone and that everything that happens in life is a part of that plan.

8. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher. With my new role as the Commercial Learning Trainer with Intuitive Surgical in Sunnyvale, CA, I will get to do that in a way.

9. What is the one thing you need to do every day to get ready to take on the day?
Every day, I remind myself how blessed and lucky I am to have a day full of whatever life brings my way.

10. What are you currently doing to positively impact your community and why?
I am setting an example for younger generations of how to treat people – strangers or friends. I believe the way you treat people throughout your life can positively or negatively impact the way you feel about your own life. If everyone would treat one another in a good manner, it would positively impact everyone’s life, including their own.

11. What is the one defining moment that changed the course of your life?
My dad passing away when I was 15. The things that came out of this experience were things I never expected to gain from losing my dad at a young age. I am the person I am today because of the time I had with my dad and because of the loss I experienced. I am proud of the person I am today and the person I continue to become regardless of any adversity in my life. It shapes me into who I am.

12. What difficult situation happened to you that, in hindsight, turned out to be a blessing in disguise?
8 months into my dad’s treatment, we were celebrating Father’s Day and my dad had to be rushed to the ER for breathing problems. At the time I was so confused and upset that it happened on Father’s Day, but because it was that day, my family was together and able to support one another and be there for my dad. We were able to enjoy dinner together before doctors told my dad that evening his treatment was failing.

13. When was a time was your beliefs were challenged?
My beliefs were challenged when my dad was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when he was 46 years old. I didn’t think it was right that my father had to go through this challenge even though he had the strongest relationship with God. I now understand he had served his purpose on Earth and it was God’s time.

14. If you could change one thing in your personal or professional path from the past, what would it be and why?
If I could change one thing about my past, it would be the way I handled my dad’s last year on earth. As a 15-year-old, I was consumed by other things that do not really matter in life, not realizing how precious the moments with my dad were and would forever be to me.

15. How do you find fulfillment in your life?
I find fulfillment in supporting my friends and family through hard times. I like being the person who people feel comfortable coming to with their struggles in life and being a support system to them.

16. When was the last time you took a leap of faith?
Today! I moved across the country by myself to California for a new job! After losing my dad, I wanted to get involved in the medical device industry to have a positive impact on families who are on similar journeys to my family’s journey. Intuitive Surgical is changing the way surgery is done, giving surgeons the ability to perform minimally invasive surgery with the same capabilities as open surgery. This technology would have had a positive impact on my family by avoiding complications from biopsies, risks that are higher in open surgery. `

17. What do you want your legacy to be?
I want people to cherish and nourish important relationships in their lives. I want my constant support of my loved ones and friends to have an impact on the way they support one another. I also want people to see the fun I have every day and remember not to take life too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun!

Tim Fogarty, Liz Keating, Kelly Higgins, and Paul Keating at the 2018 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards dinner where Kelly was honored with The Heart of William J. Keating, Jr. Scholarship.
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