Wheeler Coleman

Wheeler Coleman
SVP and CIO, Lifetime Healthcare Companies, Inc.


I am a change agent. I see and think about the big picture. Then I institute, organize, and select the people, processes, and technology necessary to build new capabilities and resolve business issues.


My high school educated dad worked 13- to 16-hour days, to raise six kids and put us through college. Today, at age 84, he’s still working 14-hour days. His commitment to family and his career inspires me to get out of bed every morning.


I find that the best way to motivate others is to foster an environment of trust—one that empowers employees to make tough decisions, and celebrates and recognizes their accomplishments. By doing this in a culture of partnership, collaboration, and teamwork that holds individuals accountable for delivering value, I have found that people tend to step up and excel. Showing that you trust and believe in people gives them the confidence they need to believe in themselves and reach their potential.


I didn’t get where I am today without the help of others, so I believe that I need to give back. I do it by contributing my time and money to not-for-profit organizations that support efforts to make a difference in society—not just for African Americans, but for all. I contribute to organizations that benefit inner-city kids and serve on not-for-profit boards to assist the disadvantaged and others. Being a role model is another way I give back, using the success I’ve achieved and the lessons I’ve learned to demonstrate what is possible and inspire others.


Never give up. Throw yourself into reaching your goals and try as hard as you can. In one of his speeches, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you are behind in a race, you must run faster than those in front of you or forever remain behind.” That quote motivated me in college and through the early days of my career. It still motivates me to this day. Recognize and acknowledge that there will always be those who have more talent than you. But no matter what your disadvantage is, where you started, or what obstacles are in front of you, you can overcome it all if you work harder than those ahead of you.