With many schools going back next week, it's time for our CEO, Dave Baker's annual "back to school" message. We wish all students, teachers and faculty good luck on the start of a new year!
BACK TO SCHOOL FALL 2023
It’s that time of year again – a chance to continue to develop the next generation of our future leaders.
This is one of my favorite times of year! College football is gearing up for an exciting run at the national title. High school sports, especially soccer and football camps are already deep into conditioning and all of our grandkids are excited about the return to school. We have three starting first grade for the first time, two starting third grade, one in fifth grade, and the munchkins, they’re all scattered around pre-school programs and childcare programs. And the littlest ones, they let us know that life is very fragile, so we must protect, nurture and encourage them. What we do today will leave a legacy for them tomorrow.
Graduate programs follow the normal academic year, while medical schools, especially residencies, begin in July. But it’s a time chock full of transition, some anxiousness, and excitement for those returning to see their friends. I couldn’t wait to get to college, especially as a first-year student. The amount of work I put in that summer to prepare for trying out for the college soccer team was a little manic. I’ll save that experience for another day, but it paid off and I played every minute of every game for 4 straight years. Not bad for a kid who never touched a ball with a team before he walked on to the pitch that fall!
Somewhere in the midst of those millions of students are thousands of individuals who will seize the opportunity to satiate their desire for learning. That’s the importance of the beginning of the school year, the opportunity to encourage that passion to learn more tomorrow than I know today.
The funny thing is it doesn’t take a college education to become successful. Ask Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, Larry Ellison, and countless other successful individuals. None of them finished their college degrees. All of them are listed amongst the richest people on earth. None of them had anything given to them. All of them worked an incredible amount of time perfecting their passion. None of them gave up in spite of daunting obstacles. Regardless of your admiration or sarcasm, they persevered to change the world.
One of the most sought after benefits offered by companies to their employees today is the prospect for professional development. If you are not offering these benefits you’re already in trouble. If you are recruiting new employees and they aren’t accepting your offers, there is a strong possibility the candidate is considering an opportunity with a company who does offer this benefit.
Why? Because the opportunity for continuous professional development means that tomorrow I’ll be better than I was today. And if you can maintain the desire to feed your curiosity on all things, especially as it applies to your profession, I can only imagine where you’ll be in 3, 5 or 10 years.
Some of you have listened to my podcast interviews where the host asks to what I attribute my success. Simple answer. I surrounded myself with a group of individuals, especially my team, who have such a deep curiosity in so many things that I have to keep learning to keep up with them. Secondly, my first mentor, Marty Unger, gave me a treasure trove full of gold with one incredible piece of advice – ‘if you want to make a difference, do the hard stuff, the work no one else wants to do or is frightened of – in a very short while you’ll gain confidence to do more of those types of things, and in just a few years you’ll have the experience of individuals many years your senior’. It worked!
Somewhere right now there is someone who is going to change the world for the good, like Elon Musk. Regardless of your admiration or political persuasion, Elon Musk has changed the world and will continue to do so in the decades ahead. He is so smart, so driven, so practical and so visionary that I cannot wait to see what comes next. Right now there are thousands of individuals with that extraordinary passion, the desire to feed their curiosity and with it change the world, perhaps one small step at a time.
Listen. Learn. Teach. Mentor. But most of all - care. Mother Teresa taught us that lesson decades ago.
I wish you well,