This past week I was honored to be the guest speaker at the Sertoma Club of Greater Sarasota. Sertoma is an acronym for “SERvice TO MAnkind” and is an international organization that’s been in existence for over 100 years. The Sarasota Club has been in existence since 1956.
Sertoma’s primary service project is assisting the more-than 50 million people with speech, hearing and language disorders. Sertoma also sponsors community projects to promote freedom and democracy, to assist youth and to benefit a variety of other local community needs, as identified by individual clubs. The Sertoma Club of Sarasota membership includes leaders from a wide range of businesses including local colleges, banks, financial advisors, insurance agencies and CPA firms. It’s a truly impressive group who have done a great job supporting the many needs of the local community particularly with disadvantaged children.
The theme of my presentation was primarily based on my new book “Hitting the Curveballs” and included strategies for crisis management, creative recruiting, mindset and motivation. The group seemed to really appreciate the stories about how ISI doubled business during the Great Recession after losing 80% of the company’s sales team during the summer of 2007. Tough times for sure but the struggle made us stronger.
One of the other strategies that really hit home with the group (in my opinion) was “creating a legacy” where I discussed the variety of ways to give back to the community through mentorship by working with startup businesses in the community and supporting programs like Education that Works (ETW). Since Sertoma is all about service to mankind, their reaction wasn’t a total surprise. As I explained in my presentation, ISI’s sponsorship of ETW includes paying the tuition for a financially disadvantaged student to attend Memphis Catholic High School and in return the student works one day a week for ISI. The combination of tuition assistance and work experience provides the student the unique opportunity to not only receive a college prep level education but also get a chance to learn important professional skills (like teamwork, work ethic etc.)
I concluded my presentation by stating that there are a wide variety of ways to create a legacy for your business (and yourself) and that, in my opinion, having a positive impact on even one person life is worth the time and effort and makes for a much more fulfilling life. And as I thought about it, isn’t that why we’re all here anyway?