Name: Mabel Tung
Hometown: Glencoe, IL
Circle Start Date: September, 2017
What do you do when you’re not running a Ben Franklin Circle?
I’m a recently retired Bank Executive. I enjoyed my 37 year tenure at Northern Trust, headquartered in downtown Chicago. I played various roles in Technology and later, as a Client Executive. The wonderful set of core values of Quality Servicing and Integrity at the bank made it a super special place to work. I also mentor and advise young people about their careers – it’s always fun and satisfying to feel that you’re positively impacting someone’s life. I play classical music and am a lover of the Chopin piano pieces. I ice skate. Since setting foot on the ice for the very first time last December, I have gone over 100 times. We work in our garden, which is a few blocks from downtown Glencoe and which we fondly nicknamed the “Tung Arboretum”. It’s fun to have people get off their bikes or stop their cars, roll down the window to tell us they love the garden. We grow 10 ft Sunflower plants, 12 ft Tall Maiden Grass, and dinner plate sized Hardy Hibiscus.
What attracted you to the Circles?
I enjoy reading and studying History and Philosophy. I also deeply appreciate the importance of socialization, so naturally I love the idea of a Circle. My career took me to Europe and Asia many times, forming relationships with world class clients and institutions. I had opportunities to observe and interact with the cultures of the East and the West, different management styles, human behavior, causes and consequences, and many other corporate imperatives at play along the way. As a result, I continue to be interested in values and virtues overall, especially as I design this new chapter in my life. The Benjamin Franklin Circle idea – studying the virtues with a group of friends and within the circle, one person befriends another, extending the friendship network… it fits right in with my own list of favorite things to do. It gives us a convenient, legitimate forum to call together a group of people we enjoy to examine these values and debate their applicability in today’s world.
Tell us a little about the composition of your group. How did you find members (or how did they find you)?
I started with a few friends whom I thought might be interested, and when they liked it they started bringing their friends. We are all neighbors living in the town of Glencoe and we meet at the Glencoe Public Library. We have 8-12 members and generally about 7-8 attend each meeting. Two members are Asian and the rest of the group is Caucasian. We are 30% male and 70% female.
How has hosting a Ben Franklin Circle impacted you?
The meetings are purposeful and focused, and everyone has a chance to contribute and share. As the host, I run ahead a little to explore the topics, find materials and prepare questions for the group and give them time to read and prepare. I can see many relationships flourishing and everyone enjoys the debates. I have a great sense of satisfaction seeing people engaged and inquisitive, learning from one another in an open and trusting environment. We all have takeaways as we reflect and ponder how we want each virtue to apply to our own lives.
Which virtue means the most to you personally and why?
One of the exercises we did when the Circle started was for everyone to prioritize the 13 virtues for themselves. It was a rather hilarious exercise because none of us agreed on the most and least important – and we all had our own reasons. We have agreed that we will do the same exercise again after we finish all 13 virtues to see if anyone has changed their minds about how they prioritize the virtues.
Personally, I rate Industry and Resolution as the most important virtues. I believe that hard work can overcome almost everything and a commitment to make good on our promises will take us far. Many of the social issues we see today will disappear if everyone is industrious and resolute. Spending more time being focused on achievements is much more productive than looking around and wasting time criticizing others.
What is the last commitment you made to yourself? How’s it going?
The commitment is to Keep Going. I thank God I’m allowed to live another day, which means today has to be better than yesterday. In forward motion I go…..😀