Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping in Mind What Really Matters

In the end, it’s about family, friends and community.

But how often do we reflect on these foundations in the midst of our busy days? Sometimes it takes a personal struggle to put it all in perspective.

Jay Williams talked about his own such journey this week at the annual meeting of the newly renamed Waukesha County Business Alliance.

Jay had a long, successful career in banking, most recently at the helm of The PrivateBank – Wisconsin. Then cancer blew in like a tornado, taking the life of both his father and son and threatening his own. Through this adversity, Jay saw what many would miss: an opportunity to reevaluate what’s most important in life. He thought a lot about what he wanted his legacy to be.

As a result, Jay is now devoting himself to something he’s long been passionate about: the Milwaukee community. Today, he’s president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum, a vital and historic community institution. He’s applying his experience to advance a cultural asset that can benefit greatly from his financial and business management expertise.

Jay sets a fine example for many business leaders, who have so much to offer nonprofits like MPM. While not everyone can dedicate all their time to their favorite cause, every business can do its part.

Leaders can lead by example in their charity work, while providing opportunities wherever possible for their employees to do the same.

I believe we all do better work when we keep in mind why we’re doing that work in the first place. That’s why being a force for good makes good business sense. Ultimately, it truly is about family, friends and community. Thanks, Jay, for reminding us.

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