Updated: Mar 27
I am a student of why some businesses fail and some succeed. And, success is a term that we at The Success Foundation take very seriously. In 2019, I reconnected with two of my William and Mary buddies, Gary Powers and Don DeLaney, who were on a mission to give success in RVA a new and innovative dimension. And they have.
Joining TSFs good work in March 2020, we are working to test and codify a wrap around support model for youth aging out of foster care as the youth define their success and path. I learned from another WM friend, Bob Mooney, the importance of defining values and principles so we have a path forward. We are doing that in partnership with Children's Home Society and Fostering Acadia. Two superstar principled non profits.
And, I learned from a true WM hero, why some businesses are successful and some people are successful in life: Jim Ukrop.
As a young WM grad, I learned that the farmers from my hometown of Halifax had no outlet for the hands down best cantaloupes grown anywhere. Boldly, I called Jim and said I wanted Ukrop stores to buy the cantaloupes to help the farmers. He said yes and actually sent a truck to Halifax which my brother and his friend loaded each morning at 4 am and sent the cantaloupes to RVA. The punchline is that it was the worst year in 25 years for cantaloupes because of rain. Calling Jim to tell him that was not an easy call. He said, "Load them all. I promised you that we would buy then and we will." Principled leadership. They teach that at the WM Business School by the way.
So now in 2020, I have the pleasure of another business success story, Donna and Darrell Shires own Medworks, an RVA based medical equipment supplier whose website says they work to be "Intentionally excellent." https://www.medworkssurgical.com I like that. Stating your principles for all of your employees and partners to know what they are is why some businesses are successful. Donna and Darrell share our belief that we can change the trajectory for the incredible youth who are aging out of foster care when, in fact, the percentages are against their success in life.
The task is big.
Following their lead, we are working with some principled business leaders to create the wrap around support program to change those percentages.
And, we are doing it.
The reason some businesses and people succeed in life is because they are intentional, principled and just damned dogged to say we will work hard and smart to meet our goal. Stay tuned for more success stories and contact us to join our good work. Success is about setting a goal and being "intentionally excellent."
And, by the way, Halifax County cantaloupes are still the best.
- Sarah B. Williams, TSF Board Chair