Can You Smile Through the Struggles?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

I hear it almost every day. I hear of the struggles. They are as varied as the person I talk to. Some struggle with growth, others with stagnation, and still others with something in between. It seems like our lot in life is to struggle. Is that so bad?

After 17 years of learning and serving here at MACNY, I am convinced that the struggle is what we are destined for. Today we struggle. Tomorrow we will struggle, but under different circumstances. And yet, it is what keeps us coming back. It’s the struggles that require leaders. If we look carefully, we’ll see that leaders are everywhere in our organizations. It’s the struggles that help us determine if we are leaders and if others will step forward. The struggles are what both identifies and refines leaders.

I look for leaders most during the struggles. I look for those who can keep smiling despite the pain of today and tomorrow. I saw leaders who stepped forward when I was in the Army. When I felt I couldn’t go on, they stepped forward to lighten the load, offer encouragement, and walk beside me. Without the struggle, would I have even noticed them? I think not.

Manufacturing has many similar aspects. The product is produced – or it is not. It gets sold and shipped or sits at the facility. It’s both straightforward and yet complex. I see leaders abounding in the factories I visit. I smile as I see the process, the technology, and the great people involved. They speak of the pride they have in what is produced right here in New York. Sure, there are struggles. There are lots of struggles. But through it, I see the smiles and the commitment to do it together as a team.

People will ask me what I like most about my job. I say the people. They struggle with both growth and losses. It’s hard work for them. However, in the struggles I see the strength of character and the concern they have for each other. It’s pretty special.

Do you honor the struggle of the day? Can you see how it refines leaders? Are you able to lead through the struggles with a smile? If you can, then you are ready for tomorrow when there will again be struggles of a different sort. With your struggles comes the success of our local economy which supports so many families and our entire community. Please keep smiling through the struggles – our community counts on it!