Heroes of the 500

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Nearly 27 million people go to work for the Fortune 500 companies every day. We found 55 of them—sometimes working together—whose extraordinary acts of bravery, kindness and selflessness are changing people’s lives. Read more about our second annual list here.
RANK NAME AFFILIATION TITLE AGE LOCATION
1 Michele Haddad Ingram Micro Executive Assistant 47 Santa Ana, California
2 Mustapha Gore Citigroup Executive Services Agent 60 London, United Kingdom
3 Jeremy Folland Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Financial Associate 41 Hallock, Minnesota
4 Kevin Wang Microsoft TEALS Founder and Ringleader 35 Redmond, Washington
5 Mike DelPizzo AT&T Professional, Technical, Process and Quality Manager 60 Jacksonville, Florida
6 Paula Kok AT&T Network Support Senior Specialist 46 Helena, Alabama
7 Harry Behrens Comcast Network Engineer 38 Vineland, New Jersey
8 Marcela Loaiza MGM Resorts International Cocktail Waitress 37 Las Vegas, Nevada
9 Patrick Working, Mark Nowlin, Crystal Wright, Noelle Banks, Nina Porter, and Princeton Richardson Delta Air Lines Captain, First Officer, and Flight Attendants - Detroit, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; New York, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia
10 Paul ‘Mo’ Moline and Jim Round C.H. Robinson Worldwide General Manager and Global Forwarding Regional Director, respectively 51 and 46 Forth Worth and Grapevine, Texas
11 Michael Lee Absher Wells Fargo Teller 25 Hendersonville, North Carolina
12 Anne Cheung Biogen Senior Associate Scientist 39 Cambridge, Massachusetts
13 Richard ‘Stick’ Williams Duke Energy President, Duke Energy Foundation 62 Charlotte, North Carolina
14 Russell Doussan Live Nation Entertainment President, New Orleans 49 New Orleans, Louisiana
15 Kate Cummings DaVita HealthCare Partners Nurse 44 Mount Laurel, New Jersey
16 Toni Bazon-Forsberg Exelon Senior Environmental Coordinator, Com-Ed 54 Chicago, Illinois
17 Michael Clark Eli Lilly Senior Sales Representative 39 Hershey, Pennsylvania
18 Ryan Russek CarMax Senior buyer 33 Duarte, California
19 Ron Kocian Caterpillar Team Lead, Caterpillar Victoria 43 Victoria, Texas
20 Mary Jo Quinn Allstate Vice President, Assistant General Counsel 59 Northbrook, Illinois
21 Mike Sheehy Abbott Laboratories Senior Director of Global Purchasing 43 Abbott Park, Illinois
22 Alicia Smith Tech Data Senior Project Manager, IT 45 Clearwater, Florida
23 John Cartwright Intel Education Services Manager, Intel Sales and Marketing Group 57 Hillsboro, Oregon
24 Silvia Vasquez-Lavado eBay Principal of Enterprise Technology 40 San Jose, California
25 Tim Gruhlke CSX Special agent 38 East St. Louis, Illinois
26 Diane Moore McKesson Clinical Decision Support Implementation Manager 49 Durham, North Carolina
27 Michael O’Neal International Paper Maintenance Electrician 59 Savannah, Georgia
28 Kelly McDonald Raytheon Principal Planning and Production Control Specialist 45 Largo, Florida
29 Sheri Daye IBM IBM Software Group Manager 58 Boca Raton, Florida
30 Ray O’Brien Ryder System Technician 62 Stoneham, Massachusetts
31 Paul Ruszczyk Time Warner Senior Transmission Engineer, Turner Broadcasting 46 Atlanta, Georgia
32 Patrice Eastham Assurant Vice President, Business Communications 55 Atlanta, Georgia
33 Tlaca Benavides Dow Chemical Latin America Marketing Manager--Advanced Manufacturing Solutions and ERG Leader 31 Sao Paolo, Brazil
34 Chris Pilkerton JP Morgan Chase Compliance Director 41 New York, New York
35 Dorothy Varon and Kathy McGrath Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group Assistant Vice-President and Counsel, Senior Corporate Counsel, respectively 63 and 58 Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts
36 Justin Gordon Kroger Store manager 33 Louisville, Kentucky
37 Jonathan Greene SunTrust Banks Group Vice President Area Manager 47 Asheville, North Carolina
38 James Mailman Aflac Field Force Liaison Manager 53 Columbus, Georgia
39 Kari Miller Lockheed Martin Adaptive Sport Coordinator, Community Programs 38 San Antonio, Texas
40 Rachel Wilkins Patel Progressive Web Application Developer 39 Mayfield Village, Ohio
41 Jeff Stecyk SanDisk Senior Manager, Sales Engineering 43 San Francisco, California
42 Timothy Russo JetBlue Airways Manager, Strategic Maintenance and Material Planning 38 Queens, New York
43 Eric Gelber CBRE Group Executive Vice President, Retail Services 48 New York, New York
44 Noel Keesling and Joe Clement UPS Delivery Drivers 56 and 53 Clearwater, Florida
45 Manoj Cherian Qualcomm Senior Security Manager, Qualcomm India 58 Bangalore, India
46 Bruce Graham J.C. Penney Business Analyst 59 Plano, Texas
47 Mark Cavalleri Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America Manager, Reporting and Analytics 40 Orlando, Florida
27

Michael O’Neal

Maintenance Electrician, International Paper, 59
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Photograph by Bunny Ware

Location: Savannah, Ga.

 

In 1999, many parents in Savannah were dissatisfied with the public school system, and the relationship between community parents and the district was fraying. After speaking with parents around the community, O’Neal, a father of four children and a maintenance electrician with International Paper (No. 114), realized that many of them just wanted to learn to be the best parents they could be. O’Neal’s training as an electrician gave him the tools to analyze and solve problems at work. “But as a parent,” he says, “I hadn’t had any training.”

 

That year, he launched Parent University out of his living room, developing the curriculum through crowdsourcing: asking parents in his community what they wanted to know. About three or four Saturdays each year, O’Neal has held Parent University events in Savannah offering 20-30 primers—on topics like how to help children with homework and how to interact with the school district—per day to participants. The first event attracted hundreds of parents. All are staged like a town fair, with raffles, food vendors and activities for the kids—and classes are now taught mostly by expert volunteers: college professors, high school teachers, and even the occasional lawyer for sessions like “Know your housing rights.”

 

So successful was the endeavor that in 2012, Parent University merged with a philanthropic initiative called the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation, which teaches classes for parents with children age 0-5, to create the Early Learning College. Last year, the organization hosted four Parent University sessions and 12 Early Learning Colleges, which offer more specialized classes for parents of infants. “The most important thing is making the model engaging and making the environment feel safe and non-judgmental,” says O’Neal. “Parents don’t feel like they’re being talked down to, and they feel like they’re valued.” Since January, International Paper has awarded O’Neal a paid sabbatical so that he can scale up the program even further.

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