Leadership: How To Stay Focused On What Matters

Leadership: How To Stay Focused On What Matters

Ashley Buckner

It was a rare moment that broke up the otherwise regular work day filled with meetings, spreadsheets and emails.

Sometimes you have these moments that define an experience, or in this case, a workplace.  For me I encountered this last year as we were preparing for an event for our founder's charitable organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have a quality education in order to become a thriving member of society.  Each year we raise money for these children through various fundraisers, culminating in an end-of-year gala where one young high school senior is recognized with a college scholarship for their exceptional commitment to academics, personal integrity, leadership, extracurricular and civic involvement.

On this particular day, I came upon our founder staring at a computer screen, a picture of a young high school senior on the screen staring back.  The young man's story was inspiring.  He had overcome personal tragedy and hardship with hard work, determination, perseverance, leadership and humility to excel both academically and athletically. We were going to be recognizing these qualities in a scholarship award that we would soon be presenting him at the Gala.

The young man’s face, so full of hope and happiness despite his challenges, drew our founder in. As he stood there staring at the computer screen, I abruptly came upon the moment. He turned to me quietly and said "that is why you run a company".

The moment was fleeting but it stuck with me.  That is why you run a company.   The idea of giving back.  That we are all connected by our shared humanity.  That we're not here simply to make a buck, but if we do, we'll do something with it.  Have an impact.  Make a difference.  If this is not why we run a company, what is?

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