“On Thanksgiving Day We Acknowledge Our Dependence.”
The quote above, originally spoken by turn-of-the-century politician William Jennings Bryan, speaks to the heart of Thanksgiving for me. As a business man I am not generally willing to admit that I am dependent on anyone, but as an entrepreneur, I cannot possibly claim otherwise. There are a myriad of people that I depend on regularly, to help me keep New Leaf running smoothly.
I depend on my Mom quite a bit. To start with I developed an entrepreneurial spirit because of her leadership. My Mom immigrated to the US from Ireland when she was 15 years old, moving from a small village named Tarbert in County Kerry, Ireland, to the Bronx, NY. She did not move with her parents/family but moved to the US alone to live with relatives and work in NY while finishing high school in the evenings. And I think running a company is an adventure. While my Mom did not run a business, she did have a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit, as she and my dad always managed to find a way to make things work – raising and providing for 7 children, getting us all through college, etc. By watching them make things work no matter what the challenge, I learned that anything could be overcome.
Without her courage to leave everyone and thing she knew in Ireland for a greater opportunity in a foreign (to her) land, New Leaf would not be here today. Not only because I would not be here, but also because I created the idea and what would eventually be the logo for New Leaf on a trans-Atlantic flight home from a visit to Ireland. For that, I am thankful.
I am thankful for my late father, John Skae. Prior to his passing I told him I was thinking about leaving the corporate world of beverages to strike out on my own and create a brand. I explained the tremendous work that would be involved and the risk associated with it. His advice was simple, he said, “Columbus took a chance and look what happened.” He then went on to tell me that I knew the beverage business better than most, so go for it. The thing I took out of this discussion more than anything was the tremendous belief that he had in my ability to succeed at whatever I did and, for that, I am thankful
Another person I depend on constantly is my wife, Sheila. To say that she is supportive is an understatement. It was Sheila who originally helped me experiment with the very recipes and flavors you enjoy now. And it is Sheila, now, who helps me coordinate my schedule and makes sure things run as flawlessly as possible. She keeps my life organized and on-track not only at home, but here in the New Leaf office as well. For that, I am thankful.
At work, I depend on many people, many of whom often go nameless in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of working on a burgeoning brand. But today, I am going to name a few of them, so I can thank them.
First, my CFO, David Tsiang, who is always willing to lend an ear when I come up with new ideas and provide constructive feedback – critical or supportive. Without the opportunity to delegate David, I would be hard-pressed to successfully steer New Leaf in the positive direction that we’ve been headed for quite some time. For that, I am thankful.
I feel that at this point in time, we have the right team assembled to drive New Leaf’s success. It is critical, when building a team, that there is a core group of leaders that share and live the vision of the organization. Sometimes the leaders in an organization are the officers, sometimes they are not. For example, take ToniAnn, our New Leaf Brand Ambassador: an employee so committed to New Leaf that she often goes above and beyond. She travels all over the country – sometimes with a day’s notice – to introduce consumers to New Leaf. Just in the past week she was in NYC, Washington DC and Las Vegas, helping consumers discover New Leaf and that It Just Tastes Better™.
Another shining example of this type of company leader is our Creative Director, Jason – who recently welcomed his first child, Jaxson. Even though he has a newborn at home, Jason works tirelessly, often around-the-clock (literally, I get emails from this guy at 3AM some nights!) on all of the creative executions you see coming from New Leaf – from all of our POS to our product packaging; from the pictures that accompany New Leaf’s press releases to the downloadable jpegs on this very website; from the header on the New Leaf newsletter to the original cartoon in the company newsletter; and everything in between – Jason does it all. Add to that a plethora of projects that he’s working on behind the scenes, and you start to understand just how much Jason benefits the company. And he does so, not only without complaint as to the quantity of projects, but also with an impressive skill-level that’s going to help drive New Leaf to the next level. For these two employees, and the many others at New Leaf like them, I am thankful.
The last people I would like to highlight – and thank – are our friends: consumers, investors, supporters of any kind. Without your brand championing, New Leaf could never be successful. You have shown your support in a number of ways: “liking” us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, calling in a compliment to our consumer hotline, emailing us pictures and happy anecdotes about your experiences with New Leaf, commenting on our blogs, investing in our company and subscribing to our newsletter. We have a strong and growing New Leaf family that extends passed the walls of our office and embraces people all over the country, in all walks of life.
And for that, truly, I am thankful.
New Leaf. It Just Tastes Better™.
Founder & CEO
New Leaf Brands