Going for the Gold!

Mark A. Trowbridge, Chamber president and Chairman Drew Kern, EWM.

Olympic fever has once again captured the attention of sports fans across the globe in a way that is unparalleled in modern sports. Whether you are a fan of track & field, gymnastics, swimming or the team sports, the Olympics are the quintessential showcase for amateur (and some professional) athletes every four years (or two, if you throw in the winter games). Many of us paused 10 days ago when the world spotlight shone brightly on the London stage for the opening of the summer Olympic games. Bigger than the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee hosted in the London fog back in June, this was no restrained affair. It was very un-British if you ask me, almost (gulp) showy, and I should know…my people hail from the United Kingdom. But, it was spectacular, a reminder that we can all get along, even if just for a little more than two weeks every other year.

I have always liked the phrase, “Go for the Gold!” It has a specific meaning that most understand, no matter where we hail from. speaks to excellence, achievement and no holds barred tenacity to succeed. Very few people will ever win a gold medal in the Olympics – actually, very few athletes will either. But, we all understand the pinnacle of success that is attained upon winning a gold medal. For the rest of their lives, these incredible athletes will be introduced as Olympic Gold Medalist…insert name here. It will be for almost all of them, their crowning glory.

We know that people like to do business with people they know and familiarity can lead to greater opportunity. Our members tell stories of coming to an event, making a connection and seeing the results in a very tangible way. It does take effort and perseverance, but the rewards can be tremendous. The potential return on investment is enormous!

We use the phrase Go for the Gold in business, too. It speaks to us, much like the iconic phrase does to any Olympian as they step onto the field, court or track. In business, we talk about gold medal service, setting the gold standard, or even achieving a gold star. Gold, you see, is more than a precious metal; it is the standard by which all other metals are judged. Maybe we should change the name of our annual Diamond Awards – where we honor luminous success in business – to something more golden. No, wait…the diamond is still…well…the gold standard of gems.

Like the Olympics, the summer is fleeting swiftly by this year and it is time to begin thinking about the New Year ahead. For us, September 1st marks the beginning of a new Chamber year. We welcome Darla Thompson as our new leader, along with her team of outstanding volunteers, and we bid farewell to Drew Kern, our outgoing Chairman. It is a time of change, transition and reflection.

When I think of Drew and his tenure of service to our Chamber, too think of the gold standard. He has been a wonderful Chairman of the Chamber, a steady hand at the helm of our organization and a good friend during a very active and engaging year. His family – Stacey, Andrew (AJ) and Justin – loaned him to us and for this, we are eternally grateful. They, too, get gold stars for their patience and understanding.

Many take on the mantle of leadership, but very few actually lead. Drew set the gold standard by following the Golden Rule. He always did unto others as he wished they would do unto him. He is a man of his word, a leader of great conviction and a Chair who possesses unparalleled principles.

He is the gold standard of Chairmen, my friends, and for this, we say a collective and heartfelt thank you Drew!

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