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.


Candace Kendle, Pharm.D. is a wife, mom, grandmother, proud Bearcats fan, former Chairman and CEO, and changing the face of early childhood education.

1. How did you get on the Thought of the Day distribution list?

Bill Keating, Jr. was a Leadership Cincinnati classmate and knew my family before we met. I was privileged to be on the original THD list.

2. What is your favorite Thought of the Day and why?

“Eat dessert first.” – Bill Keating, Sr.

3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Graeter’s Boldly Bearcat.

4. What is your life’s purpose?

Research, educate, and understand how we become better as a society. 

5. (Besides marriage/having kids/etc.) What are you most proud of in your life?

Co-founding Kendle International Inc. and the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES National Campaign to build a national understanding of the importance of reading aloud for at least 15 minutes every day from birth. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity Kendle International gave me. I have traveled all over the world. I have met global leaders in my industry, other industries, and heads of state.

6. From your experience, what’s most important in life?

My business partner and husband, Chris Bergen, has had the biggest impact on my life. Chris and I share a sense of integrity around the way a business should be run and honesty in the way in which we deal with people. 

7. What do you believe in?

Education from birth to age eight. 37% of children in America are not prepared for kindergarten and are at risk for falling behind for years to come. Kindergarten readiness is highly correlated with success in school. The Read Aloud 15 MINUTES National Campaign builds awareness helping parents and professionals understand how reading aloud changes the connections in the brain. Help us spread awareness by joining the March 21-Day Read Aloud Challenge

8. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no idea what I wanted to be. I was fortunate to have parents to guide me.

9. What is the one thing you need to do every day to get ready to take on the day?

Hug my husband Chris before we go our separate ways. 

10. What is the one defining moment that changed the course of your life?

My career was made of preparation, tenacity, and more than a little bit of luck. I had intended to spend a life in academics (not all plans work out) but my early days in Chapel Hill and later at Penn were instrumental in building the basis for my later years as an entrepreneur. Early in my career, the clinical scientists with whom I worked were of the highest caliber, and they really gave me the best foundation. I was taught that rigor with regard to honesty in reporting results and open-mindedness in terms of reviewing results were the keys to successful clinical research. I had the opportunity to work with real thought leaders in that regard, and those people shaped not only the way I thought about research, but also how I conduct myself in business.

11. What are you currently doing to positively impact your community and why?

We create jobs by building America’s companies. We build our labor force by preparing children to be ready to be educated. As I entered the last chapter of my life I wanted to do something significant in giving back, and working with family members, we founded the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES National Campaign. The campaign is a partnership of business and civic leaders across the U.S. striving to get every child kindergarten ready; every child reading at grade level by the third grade; and help parents understand the importance of reading aloud to children every day. It is an effort to develop positive economic outcomes from a literate and articulate citizenship.

12. What difficult situation happened to you that, in hindsight, turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

My grandparents walked out of the coal mines of Kentucky, traveling 360 miles with nine children, because they were determined to get out. This type of commitment is sewn throughout the fabric of my family tree. There are quite a few entrepreneurs in our very large family. So, when I wanted to start Kendle International Inc, my parents thought it was just fine. I had two young children and little money. They didn’t have money to give me, but they were more than happy to help me with childcare. I stayed with them during the first year and started the business in a bedroom of their home. It’s not so much that I consciously thought I could do this; it’s that I’d grown up in a family where you were expected to provide, and starting the business was the way I could provide best.

14. If you could change one thing in your personal or professional path from the past, what would it be and why?

I would reach out more to friends and colleagues. I tend to be a bit reclusive.

15. How do you find balance and fulfillment in your life?

With my husband Chris Bergen. We love spending time together.

16. When was the last time you took a leap of faith?

Read Aloud 15 MINUTES National Campaign. It has turned out to be extremely rewarding! I hope 250 million Americans will recognize, understand, and act on the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES. Every child. Every parent. Every day.

17. What do you want your legacy to be?

Research, education in the sciences, and helping young parents understand the importance of reading from birth with their children.

Previous THD Reader Features:
Kelly Higgins
Kathy Fish

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