David A. Jones was the founding Board Chairman of Endeavor in Louisville and has been instrumental in building the foundation for Endeavor in our region. Over the past 3 years, he has donated well over 100 hours of mentorship to entrepreneurs locally and globally. Mr. Jones co-founded Humana Inc., a health insurance company, in 1961 and served as CEO for 37 years and Board Chair for 44 years. Today, Humana serves over 13 million customers and employs over 50,000 people. Below, Endeavor Louisville entrepreneurs, mentors, and board members share the single piece of advice they remember most from David A. Jones, Sr. 

Jackson Andrew, Managing Director of Endeavor  (as originally told to Louisville Business First)

Jackson Andrews

“The impact of Mr. Jones is indelible, immeasurable, and will continue to inspire. His was a life well lived and proves the power we all have to change the world for the better… And he never stopped believing in the future. As the Founding Chairman and the driving force behind the Endeavor office in Louisville, he punctuated that optimism – believing that high-growth entrepreneurs are the future of our community, believing that the next Humana is in our midst today, and that we must support them. He loved working with entrepreneurs and his mentorship has impacted so many. It was an absolute joy working with and learning from him; I am so humbled and grateful, we all are, for everything.”  

Joey Rivera, President and CEO of the Rivera Group, Endeavor Entrepreneur

Joey Rivera

“He said to me, ‘Don’t ever give away equity to solve a short-term problem. And that means don’t even give it to me!  Lead through your tough problems and leave the equity in place to use as a reward for great leadership!'” 

Andy Eastes, Co-Founder and CEO of SkuVault, Endeavor Entrepreneur

Andy Eastes

“He was explaining how you have to watch out for executives assigning revenues to incorrect periods, effectively masking true performance.  We analyzed some of our processes and realized we had some of that going on, which made it hard to see trends in the business. Thanks to this advice, we were able to catch and address it before it became a compounded issue, which also gave us better visibility for decision making.” 

Sean O’Leary, CEO and Co-Founder of EdjAnalytics, Endeavor Entrepreneur (as originally told to Louisville Business First)

Sean O'Leary

“David was the original entrepreneur in Louisville and a mentor to many of us. Even after becoming a national icon, he was still accessible and very engaged with local businesses and projects. He set the standard for what it means to take your gifts and maximize the value to your community. His business acumen, intelligence and belief in others influenced me both professionally and personally. He definitely ‘ran through the tape’ and I am fortunate to have known him.”

Jonathan Erwin, Co-founder & CEO of Red e App, Endeavor Entrepreneur

Jonathan Erwin

“After sharing our business challenges and constraints as well as our hopes and dreams, I waited patiently and eagerly for Mr. Jones to respond with solutions and answers—he quietly chuckled and said, ‘Well Jonathan, …(long pause) that doesn’t sound unlike any other business I have ever heard of or been personally involved with.’ This statement was followed by more laughter from him, essentially communicating to me that our problems and challenges are not unique, but we will persevere, just as others before us have. I loved this advice. When the going gets rough for Red e App, I often think of his confidence, kindness, and quiet chuckle. This previous conversation gives me the peace of mind that we will get through it.”  

Kent Taylor, CEO of Texas Roadhouse, Endeavor Board Member (as originally told to Louisville Business First)

“David Jones Sr. was the definition of humility and integrity. His word was his bond and his handshake was better than any contract. No matter how successful or wealthy he became, he never changed who he was. In my opinion, David’s impact and contributions to our local parks were just as valuable as Fredrick Law Olmstead’s vision.”

Steve Huey, Founder & CEO of Capture Higher Ed, Endeavor Entrepreneur

“I did not have many interactions with Mr. Jones—one maybe two at most. Like most fathers, he was very proud of the work that his sons were doing to help the community and this trait made him instantly more human to me. He sent me a handwritten note for visiting with him. This was such a memorable touch. I learned from his actions more than his words. You are never too important to be civil and kind. I will be forever impressed by the time he took to write me that note.”

Patrick Goodman, Co-Founder & CCO of Red e App, Endeavor Entrepreneur

Patrick Goodman

“The greatest lessons and bits of advice I remember from Mr. Jones are to always put your family first, and to lead others with thoughtful, focused, grit-driven resolve. Don’t give up. Keep going!”

Dave Calzi, Managing Partner at Ernst & Young, Endeavor Board Member

“Make family a priority. Mr. Jones went to grade school with my wife Jamie’s Mom and Aunt, and whenever he would see her, he would always talk about those days. That was over 70 years ago, and he still made time to remind her about how great her Mom and Aunt were. Family was very important to him.”

Kyle Green, Founder & CEO of Handle, Endeavor Entrepreneur

Kyle Green

“It is really hard to put into words how important Mr. Jones was, and is, to me. He taught me to plan for success, even when it feels like a stretch. He reminded me to always think of the customer and to surround yourself with people who can execute—especially in areas where you feel uncomfortable and aren’t energized by the task. Finally, be concise—nobody wants to waste time.

Stacy Griggs, CEO of El Toro, Endeavor Board Member and Endeavor Entrepreneur

Stacy Griggs

“You can do it here. You don’t have to move to be successful. No matter how big your ambition, you can achieve it in Louisville.”

Next up: Words of Wisdom from David A. Jones, Senior