The 2013 People to Know issue profiles an amazing number of individuals who are credits to their chosen professions. The group includes small business owners, philanthropists, doctors, lawyers, personal trainers, REALTORS#, educators and caterers, to name a few. Every success story is personal and unique, yet from the tales of success, some themes do tend to emerge that serve to connect the experiences in a collective and universal way.
APPRECIATION OF STAFF AND SUPPORT TEAMS
The majority of the successful people showcased in the 2013 People to Know issue are very quick to point out that they would not be in their successful positions were it not for a committed and talented staff.
Ronnell Richards is particularly enthusiastic in his praise of his staff at RD Direct; when speaking of his business and success, Ronnell very rarely uses the pronoun “I,” but chooses “We” instead. He wants to focus “on the collective efforts of the good people who work for us,” and credits his company”s award-winning customer service directly to his staff.
Similarly, Susan Bacon, owner of Palmetto Grant Consulting, recognizes the essential nature of the team approach in planning, researching, evaluating, budgeting and editing grants for clients. Teamwork speeds the process and serves as its own check and balance system for each step, to produce winning grants.
Many of the 2013 People to Know speak of the important role that mentors have played in their lives, those influential persons who inspired them to rise above the ordinary.
As a child, Dannella Burnett owner of Oakwood Occasions, for instance, loved watching Julie Child on TV. When she got a chance, at the age of 20, to meet Ms. Child, Dannella says, “She was everything I expected her to be – graceful, humble and beautiful.”
For Greg Cantrell, owner of Living Stone Properties, that mentor was a real estate friend of his father who encouraged him by example to become interested in real estate as early as high school.
And James Sanford, president of e-Tech Software, speaks of his love of electronics from the age of 11. By his teens, he was writing programs for his dad, and as a senior in high school, he got the chance to meet and work with Steve Jobs.
PATHS TO SUCCESS
At times, the path to success can include a few unexpected turns. When asked why they chose their professions, many of the 2013 People to Know spoke of those who inspired them at an early age, or how they were introduced to a subject they immediately loved in school.
But for some, their calling in life came to them unexpectedly, and with little warning, leaving them feeling almost as if their vocation had instead chosen them.
Others find their paths by being clients of the company they currently work for or learning about their present company through the competition.
Kelly Herndon, executive director of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation, says of her career path, “There are events that change the world, and that was the case for me with Columbine in 1999.” Kelly left a career in banking to enter the world of helping young people.
Lissa Versteegh, of Georgia Sales Development/Sandler Training, rose through the ranks of her company after being a client of the company herself and finding herself impressed with its way of doing business.
Chip Moore, of Gwinnett County Police Department Animal Control, had worked in various positions in the police department since 1995, but not until was temporarily made interim director of the animal control department, in March 2012, did he feel he had reached his full potential in an area for which he felt completely suited. When he had a chance to move into the position as permanent director of the shelter, he didn”t have to think twice.
WHAT KEEPS THEM HAPPY?
When asked what they liked best about their jobs, the 2013 People to Know tend to rank the feeling of fulfillment they get from helping others very high on their lists.
Tim Simmons, in the Sports Medicine Division of Gwinnett Medical Center, says that serving his community gives job to his life. He loves helping others reach their full potential and return to doing what they love best.
Like Tim, Personal Trainer Henderson Vanderpool takes price in seeing the big effects that come from helping people get in shape and stay healthy. As he says, “No matter what you have, it doesn”t matter if you don”t have your health.”
Thomas and John Robert Boyce, of Boyce Design and Contracting, cite as the favorite aspect of their work seeing satisfied clients after they have all worked together to solve design problems and implement the plans into a final, finished project of which everyone can be proud.