Peter Block is a man on a mission. And that mission is building community.

Block — who is this year’s keynote speaker for the Manny Awards — has spent a lifetime on a different path, as a business consultant and author of such best-sellers asThe Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters; Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used;Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest;The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work and, coming to bookstores this month,Community: The Structure of Belonging.

Now, the Cincinnatian sees a different need to address: Cincinnati’s lack of self-confidence. “This is a great city, one of the great cities in America. The problem with Cincinnati is that it has the lowest self-esteem around.

“It was a relationship that brought me here, but I think this is one of the most beautiful cities in the nation,” continues Block. “What I am trying to change is what we think about ourselves. People seem to expect there will always be something wrong about the city. I will be talking (at the Mannys) about how we can change this narrative. Not a good news or PR thing, but about why don’t we just wake up and realize Cincinnati has all its needs to excel except a good feeling about itself.”

Block says he’ll address community building and how the business sector can help to get disengaged people more involved in the community. “I think why I was chosen (as keynote) is the manufacturing sector can do as much as anyone to connect the private sector to community, making Cincinnati a stronger and better place. I’ll talk about what’s the possibility that the private sector can play in building community, through outreach and employee volunteers.

“The basic theme of most companies is we build jobs, that’s what we do for the community,” he says. “But the private sector has a role to play in social issues, poverty and such. Nobody knows more about bringing prosperity into the world than the private sector.”

For his part, Block’s presence into the community is substantial. He serves on the boards of directors of Cincinnati Classical Public Radio, Elementz, the rap music social agency in the West End, and InkTank, the outreach writing and self-help organization in Over-the-Rhine. Block is also currently involved in projects focusing on people on the margin and supports the Urban Opportunities Alliance, a cooperative group of six efforts to value the possibility of youth and families in Cincinnati. He even finds time to coach at Clark Montessori.

At a professional level, Block has gained a reputation for his work about workplace empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and team-building.

Block’s corporate background is impressive. After earning an undergraduate degree in industrial management at the University of Kansas and a graduate degree in industrial administration at Yale University, he went to work for Exxon in employee relations. Soon, Block was running employee sensitivity sessions, and from there, he went to work consulting for a variety of Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller firms.

Peter Block is keynote speaker atCincy’s annual Manny Awards banquet on June 2 at Xavier University’s Cintas Center. Tickets are$60. (Tables of eight may be reserved for $450.) Call (513) 297-6218, or visit www. cincymagazine.com to reserve tickets.Tom McKee

Tom McKee has been a news reporter with Channel 9 WCPO-TV for more than two decades, which gives him a unique perspective on what’s important to every area of the Tristate.

Originally from Maumee, Ohio, McKee joined Channel 9 in 1973 after graduation from Ohio University. He covered the Hamilton County Courthouse and Cincinnati City Hall until becoming a producer for legendary news director Al Schottelkotte. In October 1980, McKee and eight other WCPO employees were held hostage at the television station by a gunman who released everyone unharmed and later took his own life.

McKee joined production company Video Features Inc. in 1984, rising to the position of vice president of operations. He continued working for the station as a freelance producer/director/writer until 1989, when he rejoined WCPO as assignment manager and reporter.

McKee lives in Kenwood with his wife, Claudia. Their three grown sons live in the Cincinnati area.