Somewhere far, far away, in the heavens above my parents and two of my first two mentors in business, Sy Roseman and Ken Gesner, are smiling and hoisting back the finest 1959 wine they can find, because as of Friday, I now run an "award winning communications agency" called Comunicano, which that afternoon in Amsterdam was awarded the eComm 2009 Communications Innovation Community Award in the same esteemed group as Google and a few others.
Candidly, I was shocked, because I view my contribution, and that of my team, to events like eComm, Mobilize, GadgetFest and a few others as doing my part to give back to the community that makes it possible to continue to be a force in an industry. It’s not a mercenary thing, but quite the opposite. It’s about insuring the future, something I learned many years ago, and something I’ve learned is a lesson to be executed on the rest of my life.
Back in 1976 the third mentor in my life Aaron Siegel, approached Sy Roseman on behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers owner, Edward M. Snider with an idea that Siegel and Ken Gesner had hatched.
The idea was simple. Get kids playing hockey so the future of a fan base is secured. Sy, who had first “adopted” me into the public relations fraternity at the age of 14, was also asked to “bring that kid into the program” so I would eventually run what was to be called Hockey Central, and then the Flyers Office of Amateur Hockey Affairs. Ed Snider’s vision of 33 years ago remains active today, with most of the programs I had created from scratch continuing, and having been expanded now some 21 years after I “retired” from the Flyers organization at the age of 28 and almost thirteen years of what could have best been described as “playing” at the game of marketing, the same way Bobby Clarke “played” hockey. To simply win.
Winning the eComm 2009 Communications Innovation Community Award this past Friday was for me, my “Heart Trophy,” a comment I shared with Jim Courtney who was attending eComm. My word pun was clearly understood, for in hockey, a sport I know Jim loves, the MVP award is named just that, but with a different spelling, “Hart Trophy.” You see, for years I’ve always been the guy picking the award winners or bestowing them on others, so to win one, and not just one that is handed out frivolously means so much more to me than anything on Earth (except of course my wife.)
By working with Lee Dryburgh, who puts his own heart and soul into each and every eComm, I’m doing my part to help do for telecom and the world of emerging communications, what Ed Snider continues to do for hockey in the Delaware Valley. Insuring the future of advancement and improvement. Helping out at eComm is not only fun, in many ways it’s a real high for me.
You see, not only do I get to associate and interact with some real masters of technology, but by playing the communications game with some of the best in the business, and being recognized as a peer of sorts, is how I stay sharper, because, like we used to say to hockey parents, “your kid doesn’t get better playing against kids they’re better than.”
So for me, I’m doing what I often told many a youth hockey parent. I'm playing up. For me, eComm the last few years has been just that. Being with the best, learning, improving, and always sharpening my game.
So, for Sy, Ken, Mom, Dad and Aaron..this award is as much for you as it is for me.