I was recently honored as the National Big Brother of the Year at the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference in Dallas. It was exciting, rewarding and uplifting and I am deeply humbled by this recognition. At age 81 I feel like I am finally understanding the true meaning of living—to give of ourselves and serve others. This was evident throughout the entire event and served as a wonderful reminder of how Big Brothers Big Sisters is transforming lives, and inspired me to reflect on the importance of family that may not always be blood related.
What might seem like an unlikely pair (me, an 81-year-old businessman and Joseph, a 13-year-old kid from East Los Angeles), Joseph and I immediately hit it off and have been close friends for four years now. In my role as Big Brother, I’ve been shedding light on the opportunities that are available to him if he does well in school and steers clear of the potentially harmful nature his neighborhood facilitates. I’m happy to say that, after a visit to CSUF’s campus and with a little direction from me, Joseph is determined to go to college and has even started a college savings fund.
Being Joseph’s big brother has re-energized me and opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about advising family businesses. Mentoring Joseph goes hand-in-hand with mentoring family businesses; I offer my experience and knowledge to help guide others down a successful path. I hope to help achieve success for every family-owned business I know and if mentoring Joseph is a testament to my hard work and dedication then I must be doing something right.
Being a mentor often means just showing up. Investing my time with Joseph, my own family and the family-owned businesses I work with has become the driving force behind my life’s mission. My goal is to make an impact and a life-changing imprint that will spark change and at the end of the day be a vehicle to enable Joseph to fulfill his purpose, inspire my family to pursue their passion and help companies become more profitable.