As we enter the Thanksgiving Holiday here at our headquarters in the US, I’ve been reflecting on the many things I am grateful for in this topsy turvy year. 2020 has been a year full of challenges, uncertainty and anxiety, and yet through it all there have been so many blessings. I am grateful for many things, but here are some I’m especially thankful for.
Being in the food and agriculture industry, we were fortunate to be considered an “essential business” and were able to keep our doors open through the pandemic. We realize that we are a small link in the chain, but if we have learned anything through this pandemic, it’s that everything is connected, from the supply chain that gets rolls of toilet paper from the manufacturer to the grocery store, to the line workers in the processing plants that provide the cuts of pork, chicken and beef we expect in the meat section of those groceries. And if you go further up the food chain, you see the farmers, nutritionists, veterinarians, and workers that take care of those animals and crops that provide the food we have come to rely on. Dan Weathington, whom we lost earlier this year, was the Director of the NC Small Grain Growers Association. Dan used to remind those of us serving with him on the NC Ag and Life Science Research Foundation “if you ate today, thank a farmer.”
The promise of science and innovation to meet our greatest challenges
When COVID-19 started to emerge in the US this Spring, I was asked to put together a webinar with some fellow EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) members. I decided to entitle the talk “How we will ‘Science our way’ out of this pandemic” and invited a medical doctor and a drug development expert to join me on the webinar to discuss how we are applying the latest tools of science and medicine to develop prevention and treatment strategies for this deadly pandemic. Now, as we hear of vaccines being developed and gaining FDA approval at historically unprecedented rates, I am so grateful for the scientists, doctors and health care workers all over the world harnessing breakthrough science and technology to solve one of the greatest health challenges of our time. At BRI, science and innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and I am grateful to be part of that innovation to help move the world forward.
The trust of our customers and team members
The world is a big place, and I am grateful for the trust others have placed on me, and by extension my team, to do something bigger than ourselves. William James said “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” We are, as a human society, made up of parts of the whole. Little acts make a huge difference. In the midst of a pandemic, I was asking that our company remain open and have people continue to come into work if possible. That required our team members to entrust the company leadership and each other with their health. And because as a team we all made the commitment to wear masks, socially distance and keep each other safe, we’ve been able to keep our doors open and keep manufacturing product safely. We are so grateful that our customers and team members trust us to do the right thing and allow us to do our part to feeding the world.
There are always things around to be grateful for when you take time to look, and as I speak to other business leaders over the past several months, I am struck by how this pandemic has actually caused many of us to step back and really count our blessings. To be sure, the challenges ahead are great, but as a whole I think it’s far healthier to embrace the future with a grateful heart than a bitter one. Zig Zigler said it best, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”