Area Executives on How They Remain Prepared for Daily Responsibilities

Strategy & Leadership


Staying at the Top of Your Game

From weekday workouts to morning meditation and prayer, almost everyone who operates at a high caliber will tell you that there is a specific part of their routine that sets their day – and their week – up for success. In fact, according to, the average leader wakes up at 6:15 a.m., and business executives fit an average of 45 minutes of exercise into their day. Roughly 70% of Fortune 500 leaders make sure they eat breakfast, and the same group spends an average of 2.5 hours in meetings every day. So, when you’re at the helm of a company with a seemingly endless number of tasks and initiatives coming your way, how do you make sure you’re able to focus and perform at a high level? These area business leaders share their personal secrets to success. 


Scott Parrish (Above)

Chairman, Miller & Martin PLLC

As soon as I arrive at the office and before my day starts with my fellow partners and clients, I try to focus for 5 to 10 minutes on one or two ways I can market my firm or my practice. It could be as simple as catching up with someone with whom I have worked before or contemplating a branding opportunity for my firm. If I don’t do this, the day-to-day responsibilities of managing the firm and tending to the needs of clients and employees will often prevent me from focusing on such matters.

Mark Cunningham

Mark Cunningham

President & Managing Shareholder, Chambliss Law

I like to get out and climb. Chattanooga is one of the best locations for sandstone bouldering in America, and many of the best spots are within an easy drive. Even so, they are a bit off the grid. These remote locations provide phenomenal areas to unplug and recharge, which is needed after a long week. I’ll often bring a beaten-up journal along that I’ve had for years and capture my thoughts.






Ken Shaw

Ken Shaw, EdD

President, Southern Adventist University

I enjoy my spiritual devotions each morning and take time to reflect on a few Bible verses, which provides a strong foundation for my day. As president of Southern Adventist University, staying on top of my game requires daily learning about the university’s operations and connecting with the employees who carry out our mission. My work in higher education for more than 40 years has taught me to keep a strategic eye on where we need to be, and that helps influence my day-to-day decisions.

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Beverly Edge

Beverly Edge

COO & General Counsel, HHM

Working out several times a week keeps me grounded and provides tremendous benefit both personally and professionally. While I enjoy a combination of running and strength training, I approach my workouts as an intentional lifestyle choice with a focus on my health rather than viewing exercise as a burden. Starting my day with a workout makes me generally feel better, have more clarity, and helps relieve stress throughout my day. I am also a proponent of an old-fashioned to-do list. Having clear goals for my day allows me to both prioritize and strategize my professional and personal objectives.






Tom Ozburn

Tom Ozburn

President & CEO, Parkridge Health System

My wife’s alarm goes off at 2:30 a.m. so she can anchor the morning show at WRCBtv. Getting more sleep past that is pretty difficult, so I typically either get on the Peloton or walk to the gym for a workout. I usually finish my workout by 6 a.m., which allows me to get to work by about 6:45 a.m. It is quiet for a while and allows me time to catch up and have moments of thought or prayer. Exercise, for me, is critical to keeping my mind and body in balance. I can always tell when I have missed working out for several consecutive days.

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Harshad Shah

Harshad Shah

CEO, Hamilton Plastics Inc. 

I start my day with prayer in my temple and have Indian chai with my wife. I glance at all of my texts and emails but only touch urgent requests. I will check the post office box on my way into the office, and when I arrive around 10:30, I’ll grab a cup of coffee and revisit texts and emails. After that, I’ll walk through our 300,000-square-foot plant, making a point to stop and talk with employees. I always try to make sure I have time to develop and market new products and serve on local boards to better the world as much as I can. I talk with my kids every day, and most of the time, I also talk with all of my seven grandkids. I do what I can to keep myself stress-free, which is key to my success for my health and the health of my business.






Ron Jones

Ron Jones

Chattanooga City President, SouthEast Bank

I am at my best, both personally and professionally, when I’m investing in the community. Whether it’s engaging with local youth through our financial scholars program or helping clients achieve their financial goals, banking gives me a chance to connect with my Chattanooga neighbors. As bankers, it’s important to remember that the work we do is about so much more than finances – it’s about bettering the community where we live and work. Seeing the positive impact that we make on our customers each day encourages me to do more, and it keeps me at the top of my game.

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John Sorrow

John Sorrow

Regional Agency Executive, McGriff, a subsidiary of
Truist Financial Holdings

It took the first 20 years of my career before I understood the value of being healthy. In 2008, I finally realized I had slowly become overweight. I designed a dedicated process of calorie-counting and -burning through nutrition and exercise. It took me two years to lose my goal of 60 pounds. Most importantly, I have spent the last 12 years counting each calorie consumed or burned – mostly through walking during conference calls (AirPods are the bomb!) and competitive tennis. The best time to make crucial decisions is right after or even during a good workout. I use those times so I can think more clearly and ask better questions to get to the right place.






Jim Vaughn

Jim Vaughn

Market President, Truist

Every day, I place my Truist lapel pin to my jacket. This action reminds me to serve our purpose, which is to inspire and build better lives and communities. It reinforces what I want to accomplish for the day. It reminds me to listen and understand the needs within the community and to be creative in providing solutions. These actions allow me to support individuals and organizations.






Craig Fuller

Craig Fuller

CEO, FreightWaves

My routine is pretty simple. I consume a lot of information on Twitter, which I consider the voice of record of our time. I look for relevant news and stories first thing in the morning. A lot of great ideas are sparked by engaging with other thought leaders and random people on Twitter. After that, I turn on CNBC or Bloomberg to see what is happening in the world of supply chain, transportation, and logistics.

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