In every story penned by our editorial team, there are more than a handful of lines that climb off of the page, walk across the table, and take on a life of their own for the reader. Those lines are different for each person, but they are the gems of the story, the precious stones that light up from the depths, the curvature of marble to which we have taken our narrative chisel.
You know these lines because they transform some part of your understanding from static to movement. Sometimes you have heard them a quarry of occasions, but now they seem to hold up a mirror and catch the light.
Speaking to Steve Junqueiro about his contributor article for our May issue of The Snack, a line surfaced for me in such a way.
When you arrive, that is when things actually start to happen.
He said this to me on a phone call one morning this past winter, at the end of a long work week. It is easy in these moments to let good conversation lull you away from the idea that you are working at all. The industry mentor was speaking about leadership, of course. He is, after all, Steve Junqueiro, Founder of Steve Junqueiro Associates, and former President and Chief Operating Officer of The Save Mart Companies. But you never get the sense that he speaks to you from higher ground. His words lift the energy in a room, carving away at the idea that leadership is not just about expectations and action, but about energy and intention.
In such a goal-oriented system and society, it is refreshing and inspiring to hear this forever-student speak about what he has garnered from 40-plus years in the industry, as well as what he is still learning today.
Speaking for myself, I can spend so much time investing in the perceived achievement or completed task that I forget a big part of the goal is the path. I speak from the foothold of a young 10 years in the industry and 40 years on this Earth, but I think what Steve said speaks to all of us. Achievements and stakes are necessary, especially in the pursuit of excellence, and they are a measure of success. But, success—like leadership—as many of our friends tell me, is not an inanimate object to be prized on the mantle.
It’s a verb. It’s a living, breathing state of rising to the challenge.
We get the chance to listen to many leaders in our position as a trade news company—industry veterans and up-and-comers who inspire and support, who see leadership as a pursuit and a gift, and who live the idea instead of assuming the label. Such teachers we are lucky to be surrounded by. Becky Wilson of Tom Lange Family of Companies and David Lake of 4Earth Farms™ are members of such great company here in this issue.
All make this edition feel like a welcoming classroom, especially when I read John Shuman’s words as he spoke to our writer Anne Allen about the gravity of reputation, stating, “It will walk in the door two weeks before you do…”
The surprise and wisdom that come with such gifts are experiences we hope you will share with us here.
And, if our reputation precedes us the way in which we hope it does, you will already trust that these words were laid on the page with a deep appreciation for you, and all that you share with us.