New Year’s Resolutions – 2013

** From the pages of Junction’s notebook: Read about the experiences, perspectives, and ideas of Junction team members.

As we flip the calendar once again, we are reminded of how important setting goals, such as New Year’s Resolutions, can be. But these resolutions transcend business; when we declare our objectives, we set the tone for our entire year in our personal lives as well.

Here are our own ambitions for 2013:

After a difficult year, I hope for better health in 2013, and I resolve to work hard towards that goal. – MC

My New Year’s Resolution this year is the same as every year…  to save more money.  I didn’t do too well in 2012, but we’ll see how it goes this year! – TLS

I resolve to spend more time on my Kindle, which I’ve hardly touched the last couple of months, and also to commit more time to an organization giving back to my community. – SB

My resolution is to dedicate more time and energy to exploring new paths, discovering new experiences, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones, and making the most of the precious time afforded to me at this point in my life.  – JMA

I resolve to spend more energy and focus on moving forward to creating additional opportunities for personal and business growth in 2013, and to spend more time with family and friends.  – JMC

My New Year’s resolution is to take down the Christmas Tree before March and remain healthy in order to fit into my wedding dress. – BM

I find that most New Year’s Resolutions fade after the first 2 weeks of the New Year. In an attempt to have success with my resolutions in 2013, I resolve to listen, learn, and contribute more in all areas of my life throughout the year. – JCG

Junction wishes all of our readers a prosperous New Year, and good luck with sticking to your resolutions!

The Context of My Experience: The End of the World

(Read previous entries about Days 1 and 2: Day 1, Day 2 )

The final day of Necker Cup was an explosion. After the tennis matches were complete and the Necker Cup was awarded, the tennis players and business leaders shared an unforgettable evening of charity and celebration.
During the live auction at dinner, the bids escalated for the chance to hit with the world’s top tennis players. The energy was electric as the final tally hit the screen. In just 3 hours, over dinner, Virgin Unite and The National Tennis Foundation raised more than $500,000. Amidst the cheers, you could see tears rolling down the cheeks of many guests.
What followed only added to these unbelievable experiences that I still don’t believe… and I was there. We met on the beaches at Necker Island for the ‘End of The World Party,’ aptly named. As the drinks started flowing, the band took the stage: Bob Bryan on the keyboard, Mike Bryan on the guitar, Jim Bogios (Counting Crows) on the drums, and former American Idol finalist Michael Johns providing the vocals. The music and dancing took us well into the early hours of the morning. It was electric.

Click the image above for the full set of Sir Richard Branson’s photos (Facebook)

It was nearly 4am as the iSpeed docked for the last time on Virgin Gorda. My mind was full of new ideas and exciting possibilities for my business in 2013 and my iPhone was full of new contacts (friends) made over the span of three days. I felt, as strangely as it may sound, like I survived the ‘end of the world’ with a new world before me looking forward. I can’t be sure if it was the salt water paradise or the company – I’m inclined to say both – that has given me an inexplicable energy. It is reminiscent of the energy I felt when I launched my business 4 years ago.
The context of this experience can’t aptly be detailed in 3 blogs posts and a few photos – despite my best attempt. I have a great amount of gratitude for the amazing group of people who created this world-class Pro-Am tennis experience for social change. The impact of this experience is profound not just for participants but for those touched by Virgin Unite and The National Tennis Foundation.
Even as I write this blog post, it’s hard to ignore the flashbacks. I will let the business and life lessons from Necker Cup 2012 fuel me in 2013. Thank you to my readers for sharing in the journey. It is my hope that in 2013 you, too, can build momentum, create a paradise, nurture it, and watch it grow…

Happy Holidays from Junction

There may not be any snow falling outside the windows where you are, but Christmas Day is upon us. It is again the time year to cozy up by a fire, cue up some festive music, drink copious amounts of eggnog, and exchange gifts and laughter with family and friends. We love being busy, but we also love slowing down and enjoying quality time spent with those who matter most to us. The holidays are an important time to pause, reflect on the year that was, and gear up to make next year even better than this one.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish very Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to our clients, partners, and friends. We are privileged to work with fantastic people every day. Thank you for a terrific year, and enjoy whichever holiday you are celebrating this season!

The Context of My Experience: Big Ideas to Inspire Change

(Read about Day 1’s events here.)

As we waited for the iSpeed to arrive on day 2, a group of us recapped the previous day’s events, commenting on the how incredible we found the island, the people, and the experience.  Ahead of us was an exciting day of match play followed by a Virgin Unite Leadership Retreat led by Sir Richard Branson, Jean OelwangJose Maria Figueres, and Dr. Sylvia A. Earle.

The Hardware: The Necker Cup

Tennis players and business leaders made their way to the Temple to gather for a discussion around philanthropy and social change and the impact it has on the community and the world.  The 2-hour retreat brought to the forefront the efforts of Virgin Unite, Ocean Elders, and the Carbon War Room, culminating in a lively discussion. From the conversation came a poignant question:  How can the average individual become a change agent?  The answer: awareness.
Most individuals can’t afford to adopt an endangered lemur species for $100K per year but awareness, even in its smallest form, can start a conversation. To be aware of what is happening around us, regardless of scale, we must make smart decisions with a shared goal of making change – positive change. The rule applies for businesses as well.
The efforts of Virgin Unite, Ocean Elders, and Carbon War Room are examples of how ideas can impact social change. As a participant, I left with the notion that consciousness endures.
Momentum was building as we left the Temple that evening. To be a participant in the discussion was an opportunity. And while I don’t have any immediate plans to adopt a lemur species, I will do my part to start the conversation.
For more information regarding the efforts of these organizations, visit the following websites:

The Context of My Experience: Necker Island & Meeting Sir Richard Branson

As a CEO and entrepreneur, I look to great leaders for inspiration and guidance as I mitigate challenges or validate my own business strategies. Sir Richard Branson has long since been one of those leaders known for his incredible business prowess, his contributions to entrepreneurs across the globe, and his commitment to conversation and charity. I have read his books – almost all of them. I peruse the internet for articles penned by him or about him. All of this has been at a distance, until recently.

On Monday, December 10, I set sail from Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands for the inaugural Necker Cup on Necker Island. Aside from the promise of watching the world’s top tennis players play in a Pro Am, I anticipated catching a glimpse of Sir Richard Branson.

The scene upon arrival at Necker Island

As the boat neared the dock at Necker Island, the anticipation was building. Within 20 yards, I could see Branson on a speed boat with a few others with photographers in tow. He beamed a smile in our direction and waved us in. His smile was electric.

Stepping onto the dock, I looked up only to see a jungle – or at least what resembled a jungle – lush with color. We walked down the sandy path complete with tortoises, flamingos, and lemurs. With the blink of an eye, Branson appeared, smiled, shook my hand, and welcomed me to the island. It was completely disarming, and it set the tone for what remains to be one of the most memorable experiences in my professional and personal life.

I scanned the crowd of no more than 60 people that included tennis stars like world singles #1 Novak Djokovic, world #1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan, Tommy Haas, and John McEnroe, mixed among other notable business leaders spanning technology, finance, commercial real estate, etc. With no pretense, there was undeniable camaraderie all around.

Gathered around the dinner table

It became even clearer to me that I was witnessing authenticity in its purest form. This environment, created and nurtured by Branson, is a place – rather a paradise – designed to strip away the labels. To see how one person’s sentiment can infect an entire group is a lesson to all of us.

On our ride back to Virgin Gorda that evening, I couldn’t image a better experience and opportunity, and yet, it was only Day 1.

A Time for Thankfulness

**From the pages of Junction’s notebook: Read about the experiences, perspectives, and ideas of Junction team members.

At Thanksgiving, it is important to take pause from our daily routines and the pressures of demanding responsibilities to recognize and give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy. The following are the reflections of the Junction team for this special time of year:

I am greatly thankful for the love of family, the time to enjoy the important “stuff” with one another, the gift of good health, the kindness of good friends, and the many bountiful comforts of life in the best country on earth. – JMC

I’m thankful for the usual things: my loved ones, the food on my table, the roof over my head, and a great job, but I’m mostly thankful for life and being blessed to see another day….good times and bad…they’ve all made me a better person! – TLS

I am most thankful for the people in my life – my loving family, caring friends, and wonderful coworkers and clients who make going into work every day a pleasure. – JMA

I am reminded of how blessed I am to be surrounded by wonderful, supportive, positive people in my life, whether it be family, friends, or colleagues. I am especially grateful this year for good health, not taking it for granted, and that I am able to travel and spend the holiday with family, sharing the same old stories around the dinner table and deepening the bonds that tie us. – SB

My thanks are well represented by this poem, which captures some of the intangible blessings in my life. – MC

Although Thanksgiving Day comes but once a year, I am mindful of those things I am most grateful every day. As a business owner, I am thankful for our clients, partners, and colleagues. To our clients, thank you for allowing Junction to be part of your business. We applaud your success! To our partners, thank you for investing in our relationship. We appreciate your collaboration!  To my colleagues, thank you for working hard every day. Without you, it would not be possible!

And on a personal note, I am appreciative of my family and friends who have been a source of constant support and motivation.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you all be rich with blessings today and throughout the year! Gobble! Gobble! – JCG

Looking Ahead: Four More Years

**From the pages of Junction’s notebook: Read about the experiences, perspectives, and ideas of Junction team members.

Regardless of which way we voted, or how we feel about the results of Tuesday’s Presidential Election, each individual American citizen has hopes and fears for what the future of our nation looks like throughout the course of Barack Obama’s second term in office and beyond.

The political climate of the country has reached fever pitch, and the following thoughts from Junction team members reflect optimism and urgency towards Americans coming together to ensure a better tomorrow:

“My hope is that the next administration will have the leadership ability to reach across the aisle and govern to the middle. Our country deserves a responsible government that can move us forward as the world looks towards the U.S. for leadership.”

*

“My hope for the next 4 years is that everyone puts in the effort to come together for the purpose of helping the nation get better. We must find ways to do the right thing, not just on the federal level, but on the on the local and state levels as well.”

*

“I hope that all the politicking of this election cycle subsides quickly, and we forego the partisanship that has characterized the last four years in favor of doing what is right. If our newly elected and re-elected officials take the state of our union as seriously as the voters who put them there, I think the outlook is positive.”

*

“With the evenly divided electorate, it is essential that our newly elected leadership work together to reach common ground and move forward with positive and measurable objectives and goals for one America. If we are to turn the corner on this failing economy and make gains towards growing a prosperous future for all Americans, compromise and consensus must be the primary objective. Our ability to survive the many challenges we face as a free and just society will greatly depend upon our leaders’ desire and ability to seek and secure common ground and mutually beneficial solutions. Building policies that produce winners at the expense of losers will result in losses for all. We must insist that our elected officials work to build one united America.”

*

“As Americans, we are granted many freedoms, including the right to elect our leaders. Regardless of political affiliation, it is my sincerest hope that this election sparks a change in all Americans – a positive change – to work together. With any election, one candidate will concede and one will reign victorious, but I am reminded of the proverb “it takes a whole village to raise a child.” It will take all Americans to raise this country up again, not just one individual.

Calvin Coolige once said ‘All growth depends on activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.’ Let’s put aside the politics and get to work.”

Got the Time?

**From the pages of Junction’s notebook: Read about the experiences, perspectives, and ideas of Junction team members.

I was racing to a meeting and realized that I had left my cell phone at the office. I desperately looked at my colleague fearing that I would be late. I ask her if she can check her cell phone to see what time it is. She peered at me and smiled. She calmly replied, “Aren’t you wearing a watch?” In fact, I was wearing my favorite white ceramic watch. It was one of those embarrassing moments, but it made me question- how did we get to this point?

Now that so many people rely on their cell phones to tell them what time it is, global sales of watches have been consistently declining since 2005. Wristwatches are now just a fashionable, rather than functional, accessory. Since most people carry mobile devices with them at all times, the timekeeping abilities of watches are all but obsolete.

We interact with our phones and tablets so much that mobile device use is projected replace PCs as our primary point of access to the internet by as soon as 2014. Sometimes, I subconsciously know the time just because I have been checking my phone every 5 minutes for the last hour…

There is real lasting impact to the culture shift we are currently undergoing. Technology continues to change how we approach work and life. It’s strange to think that our future generations may not have to learn how to tell time on an analog clock, but rather will be conditioned to look at a digital display as I am. Hopefully the next time I leave my cell phone behind, I will remember to look at my wrist!