Thank you to Bob Walker, David Horobin, Brian Childers, Brad Leslie, Tom McCarter, Tom Mac, and Fred Rai. Each answered this question on a MDI Facebook page: “Who ’caused greatness’ in you, and how did they do it?” See below for uplifting tributes to those who have lifted us up into greatness.
There were a few men who moved me to greatness. Steve Junkin, all the times he mentored me, especially setting up the Legacy Discovery in Toronto. Peter O’Neil, Patrick Laforte, Geoff Tomlinson. All men who trusted me when I didn’t trust myself. David Hellman when he didn’t let me slide on productions. All those men, and others, who helped me move from the frightened boy who went on that weekend way back in 1994 to the man I am today. I don’t see those men as often as I would like and more than one of them has left us, but I love them all like brothers…
For years I have said:
“My MEN Rise me Up. Hell, all of them from when I was a pasty English, Prince Charles twit on my first team of GORILLA REDNECKS, damn near effin killed me … to every man I have worked with. Just watch, they will teach you everything.”
Jack Brown single-handedly got me elected as the SE Region Board Rep and set me on the path of leadership in MDI, which has contributed to me in countless ways.
Steven Marchione – when I met him he appeared like a man I didn’t want to know nor like. I’m sure I told him this a few dozen times in the early years. And then it set in when I became captain of the oldest running team in MDI. We had a meeting and he said he would mentor me and I thought. “Yeah whatever, I’m sure you are saying this just to make yourself feel comfortable among your men.”
My father passed soon after this meeting and the one man who followed up the most during this time was Mr. Marchione. He did it in ways I so wish to honor and build myself to be similar. He did it while handling some many other issues he was facing in his own personal life. He shared his presence in a manner I won’t ever forget. His greatness radiates in a manner that enforces valuable lessons I had not yet learned.
Steven Marchione exemplified GREATNESS, and I honor him and am in gratitude to him for all he shares with me and his men.
There were many men who contributed. After my Men’s Weekend in 1994 I volunteered for many positions. I didn’t know why but my gut said keep going. I was divorced and had three boys. I lost a custody battle and spent one cycle in NYC. I was on the Audio Visual (AV) team for the Weekend.
The night before one of our Regionals, Peter Rosomov and David Hellman took out our DC and sent him home. Our division was interviewed the next day, and it was made clear I was the best man for the job. I took my mask off and told over 200 men the truth of who I was. I was told at first that I couldn’t take the job because I was on AV and a single dad.
Justin Sterling suspended my AV commitment. Then all of the men stood up and said they had my back. I was a DC in training. I called a meeting with my division, and one man called me out on something, which still resonates to this day. He wondered how a single dad who has a van that burns a quart of oil a day, a man who just started his business is going to be my DC. He then said, “I will get behind you, but I’ll be watching you.”
To me that meant I had to live my Weekend in every aspect of my life. I have been teaching that concept ever since. My last leadership position was leader of Motomo Nation. It’s interesting to note my context was bringing greatness out of the men. I led with mask-off many times and tried to lead by example by registering over 120 men. I still miss my old men in arms, Turk, Hellman, Shortell, Junkin, Thompson, O’Neal and many others. I am greatful for I have learned so much more than I could give. Twenty years married, five kids, three grandchildren, and a great career. What a fucking ride.
Right off the bat, I credit my first DC, Willie Oswald. He set an example of stretching himself, being successful, and making it all work. Very inspiring. Plus he expected my best. When I was team leader I had to clear my CPR and agenda with three men before I brought it to him. I got discipline in my life and pursued my dreams. In the nine months I was in Headhunters, I was a team leader, assistant to the food manager for ICSD, and the S1 for the Zaca Lake Rhino. I succeeded at all of them, and that put me on track to become the success I am today. The other thing about Oswald is he would have core team meetings at 6 a.m. He’d drive down from his house in Santa Barbara to make it work. It was difficult to say you couldn’t be there with commitment like that. Now I have people in my division who won’t drive an extra 1/2 hour to attend a meeting. Another big influence was Bruce McCullough. Later on, men like Mark Hoover, Fred Vesey and John Dorrian kept me pointed in the right direction.
DL Hilton caused greatness by retracting his offer to manage the Saturday Night dinner for the Sterling Men’s Weekend. He stepped back when he saw me step up. He was vastly more experienced and I assumed he’d get it. Wayne Morgan, our Bladerunner DC at the time propelled it forward, and there I was in my first leadership job in SMD. I never looked back from that point on. Thanks Hilton and Morgan for seeing something in me I couldn’t see in myself.