As the Andy Williams song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Ok, turkey dinners, excessive parties and presents aside, the best thing about the holiday season is the human spirit. It’s about giving thanks and giving back.
When I first started Sudsies more than 15 years ago, I sought out the Chamber as an effort to boost my business. And it did. But my new-found success wasn’t just in the new business contacts I made, but in the guidance provided by key leaders in the organization. I credit a lot of people in the Chamber for their support, but was perhaps most touched by Michael Milberg, fellow Chamber member and executive director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation.
“It is always about the organization. Do the right thing and you will always be successful.” Michael said this to me more than 10 years ago, and the statement has resounded with me ever since. At the time, Michael was Chairman of the Chamber and a very influential figure to me. Luckily, I seemed to capture his attention as well and he appointed me to the Board. He followed up on these words of advice with many more, and his interest and leadership-by-example taught me that it’s not just about promoting your business, but being a genuine part of the community.
I hope that you too have had similar figures in your life – the person, or people, to whom you can credit your personal development and ultimate success. And if you don’t have a mentor, please consider the Chamber your support system, for it’s our mission to see that each member grows from their experience with organization. And what better time to play a mentorship role yourself? Pass on the guidance you received, along with your own experiences, to a budding professional. No matter how seasoned you are, you’ll most likely end up learning from them as well.
If I can give you anything this season, I hope it’s the following advice: Business is very much personal. It’s about bringing quality to a relationship, enhancing success by working together and giving back so that the cycle can continue. These words aren’t as glamorous as a new high-tech gadget or as fancy as designer duds, but I assure you that, if followed with sincerity, they’ll never lose their novelty.
Chairman of the Board, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.