The common conception is that we all get our 15 minutes of fame at some point in life. Well this past week I indeed did experience this, as I was recognized by our local Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Foundation as the recipient of their GEM Award. This recognizes an individual as being a “generous, enthusiastic and motivated” leader. This is the fourth year that they have given this award, and I was preceded by several very worthy individuals – Bob Blazier, Paula Dorion-Gray and Richard Harms.
As I made a point of saying within my acceptance, this is the kind of recognition that one does not actively pursue and especially for myself, it was not only humbling, but also a little overwhelming! I tend to be somewhat of a quiet individual and not overly outgoing – so when everyone is there to honor you, it is somewhat daunting. At the same time I will also admit that it was an experience that I will cherish for some time.
Part of the event included three individuals that were invited to speak on my behalf. Mary Zeh is an employee of C L Graphics, and I have worked beside her for nearly 15 years. It was very gratifying for me to hear her share experiences in working with me, and it gave the audience a different perspective of who I am. I very much consider her to be a friend as well, someone whom I can confide in. Suzanne Hoban is not only a client of mine, but also someone who I have worked with on the Board of Directors at the McHenry County Community Foundation. Our work together there was important and I value her experience and knowledge of the nonprofit environment. And the last one was also a client of mine – Jayne McGrath of the Little City Foundation. Jayne and I have worked together for the better part of 10 years and I have always felt that she was not only a good marketer, but in fact was someone willing to “push the envelope” in her projects. It is not often that you get to work with truly creative individuals, so this work has been fulfilling.
In closing out the celebration, I made a point to also suggest that as the common saying goes… “it takes a village to raise a child.” I firmly believe that for me to have earned this distinction, it was due to the many individuals that were in attendance that day. All of us rely on the resources made available to us through organizations like the chamber, and the individuals that lead by example. We are mentored and inspired by those around us – and if we learn to give back, then we too can help others achieve success and become GEMs as well.
So thank you for this honor, and it is my hope that I can someday pass it forward!