I was fortunate to be born to a wonderful family. I was the second of five children in a middle class, intact family in Queens, NY in the 1950s. My parents were loyal, instinctively reached out to others. I was surrounded by family, neighbors, kids. There was plenty of sharing, playing, responsibilities, support, encouragement and opportunities. My siblings and 13 next generationers are still very close!
Like my upbringing, my business life is very people oriented. There are simple lessons that I learned, live and run by:
Faith: whether it be family, yoga, religion, therapy, running. It is important to have something steadying to fall back on when things get tough.
Fulfill commitments: made a youth basketball team, but being self-conscious , wanted to leave the team. My parents would not allow me to leave the team. I had to complete the season. I continued playing organized and pick- up games for another 40+ year. Have completed over 100 road races including 3 NYC Marathons. Graduated Garden City High School, St. Michaels College in Vt. Spouse Barbara is an avid sports and rock and roll fan, very active in our Church and helping neighbors in our community, youths and seniors. Have two wonderful children, Samantha a dedicated social worker in the Bronx and Michael, a dad, is a well respected local business man. Start a race or activity, finish it!
Every place has something to offer: on a job interview on a cold, dreary spring day in Maine in 1980, asked the interviewer what it was like there full time. He said ‘everyplace has something to offer’.
In spring of 1982 living in NYC, was offered the opportunity to open my own insurance office in Katonah, NY. My response was ‘fine, where is it”? I immediately joined the Chamber of Commerce, sponsored, volunteered, chaired many community and professional events and still do. Some of the many highlights included producing the once in a life time Katonah Centennial Celebration in 1997 and the 9/10/11 Katonah 5k remembering 9/11.
Each road race we embark on is a little bit different, they’re ‘optional and certainly doable’ as we have all learned.
Pass Around the Good Stuff: a smile, handshake, thank you note, honesty. Simple, easy, inexpensive. In this day of (un)social media, more than ever personal interaction, offering support and encouragement to the needy is important and rewarding.
Am more passionate than competitive, do not need to finish first or win. There is an unexplainable feeling of satisfaction, when one realizes you will make it to the finish line; or a customer planned properly and we covered their needs; or a community event went right and we had money to donate to a local library, scholarship fund, memorial. Got it!
While my first step in life was planned by someone else, it is natural to reach out to others and be loyal. I value and cherish the relationships I have made over 60 years and look forward to new experiences and opportunities one step and one day at a time.