Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Group and Cook Medical, spoke to the college’s Presidential Ambassador Corps during the inaugural Presidential Leadership Seminar at Franklin College on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
During the seminar, moderated by Franklin College President Thomas J. Minar, Ph.D., Yonkman shared details with the students about his personal career path, the Cook Group, lessons learned from the company founder, Bill Cook, and information about programming, vision and values. He also provided advice regarding leadership development, career growth and maintaining upward mobility in an organization over time.
The new seminar series was the vision of President Minar and is designed to expand the leadership skills of the 28 students currently in the Presidential Ambassador Corps, also known as the GrizPAC. The GrizPAC is comprised of the college’s best and brightest leaders, selected through a rigorous application process, who personify the college’s mission and values. The students serve as official student representatives at college and alumni gatherings; are expected to hold themselves to the highest possible standards at all times; and attend events with the college president, both on and off campus, as student ambassadors.
Senior Christian Bowling is a member of GrizPAC and attended the seminar. “I believe experiences like this are important because it allows the seminar leader to challenge students to look at leadership from a new perspective and to become self-aware enough to identify weaknesses for improvement,” said Bowling. “It’s another example of the college providing engaged learning opportunities so its graduates can help solve complex problems with the use of critical thinking skills in their careers.”
Senior Munashe Mugonda, an international student from Zimbabwe, is also a GrizPAC member. She said what she found most valuable was learning Yonkman’s educational background didn’t include medical devices, so he worked hard on his own to learn about the industry. “This meant a lot to me because I am leading a group of people now from various backgrounds to navigate an investment banking platform for Zimbabweans to participate in building the Zimbabwean economy,” said Mugonda. “This inspired me to keep going.”
Cook Group is an American family-owned company based in Bloomington, primarily involved in the manufacturing of medical devices.
Yonkman became the president of Cook Medical in November 2013 and president of Cook Group in July 2015. He joined Cook Group in 2001 as corporate counsel and manager of Cook’s patent office. He has held multiple leadership roles in the organization, including president of Cook Urological, executive vice president of sales and marketing, president of Asian operations of Cook Group, and the executive vice president of strategic business units at Cook Medical. He earned undergraduate degrees in psychology and philosophy at Indiana University in Bloomington as well as a law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
For more information, please contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.
Franklin College is a liberal arts and sciences college in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, about 20 miles from downtown Indianapolis. Our small class size allows students to thrive through personal interactions and individual mentorship. In addition, our liberal arts and sciences curriculum offers transformative opportunities that translate into empowered perspectives and real-world jobs. Our professors, faculty-advocates, challenge students to stretch beyond easy answers and become leaders in their fields. At the end of the day, we are self-motivated lifelong learners who relentlessly pursue the best in ourselves and in our community. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.