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Sharing his expertise

Successful businessman helps entrepreneurs build businesses

Created date

June 8th, 2015
Fox Run resident
Fox Run resident

Larry Short spent his career building a successful custom-design training business. His company, Creative Universal, Inc., provided training, education, and performance improvement services to Fortune 500 companies in a variety of different sectors. Based in Warren, Mich., Creative Universal naturally worked with many of the auto companies.

Larry began his company in 1970 with ten employees. When he sold it in the 1990s, the thriving business employed more than 300 professionals. 

After completing the sale of his company, Larry didn’t retire and head to the beach or the golf course. Instead, he decided he would continue to put to good use the skills and expertise he had gained over several decades as a business leader. 

He joined Vistage, an international membership organization for CEOs and presidents of midsized companies. Through Vistage, Larry serves as a coach to entrepreneurs who are building their own companies, just as he did many years ago.

“I started a business from scratch and grew it, so I’ve gone through all the levels of growth,” Larry says.

The ‘why’

Larry leads a group of about 15 Michigan CEOs. He meets with each of them individually for coaching and strategy sessions on a regular basis. Every six weeks, the group comes together for a daylong session that includes a speaker on a topic of interest to the members and several roundtable discussions.

“The purpose is for the CEOs to help each other, solve problems, evaluate opportunities, and grow their companies,” Larry says. “They share with each other, and my job is to make that all happen.”

Larry says he enjoys his work with Vistage and has no intention of retiring any time soon. He plans to continue drawing on the knowledge he gained over 60 years in business to help other people become successful.

“People ask me why I’m still doing it. I didn’t know why I was still doing it for a few years, and then I looked at my history and realized I’ve always been making a difference in people’s lives,” Larry says. “Some of these Vistage members have been with me for ten years. Some of these people are very experienced, so I think of myself as a coach. My job is to help them deal with change.”

More time for what matters most

Almost four years ago, Larry and his wife Charline decided to move from their house is West Bloomfield, Mich., to FoxRun, an Erickson Living community in Novi. 

Larry says they decided to move so that they wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining the house and so they’d have a support system if they encountered health problems. After about two years of living at Fox Run, Charline needed a higher level of care, so she moved to Rose Court, the community’s continuing care neighborhood. She gets the assistance she needs, and since she’s just a short walk away, Larry can visit her any time he wishes.

“The services here have been really fantastic,” Larry says. “I’m over [at Rose Court] with Charline for two or three hours a day. I go over there in the afternoon and take part in some of the art activities and music activities, and then we have dinner together, and then I come back here.”

Purpose in life

Larry also lends his business expertise to the community he now calls home. He serves on a health committee of Fox Run’s Resident Advisory Council. And he has been in discussions with Fox Run’s management team about how his business coaching experience might be useful to them. 

Larry says Executive Director Mike McCormick and his team do a great job of running the community, and he wants to be of service to them as Fox Run continues to grow.

“I came to Fox Run with the idea that this will be the rest of my life,” Larry says. “When I came in here, it was with the intent of what I can bring to the community, and that is why I am involved in the health committee and a memory care support group. Those things give me an opportunity to continue my purpose in life, which is to make a difference. If I can continue my life’s purposes and apply my career, then I am happy.”