Monday, June 14, 2010

Community Service, Leadership and Small Business

[caption id="attachment_105" align="alignright" width="131" caption="Tina Reynolds, Phyllis Lyon and Armistead Maupin"][/caption]

My best friend Tina Reynolds, owner of Uptown Studios, was honored today by the California Legislative LGBT Caucus for her extraordinary inability to stand by and watch even one person be treated as less than equal. I’ve know Tina for 15 years. We met when she was doing volunteer work for CARES, and through the years I can not begin to recall how many organizations, actions and activities she has led or been a part of. And not just LGBT issues; she’s an equal opportunity activist. I’m proud to be her friend, and I’m proud that she’s a role model for my daughter.

What does this have to do with small business? For those of us that own small business, we all know that we have less time, not more, to spend on our passions. How in the world does Tina have time to do all that she does? Well, there are 50 different ways to market your business in the ActionCOACH model. By doing what she loves, she has become a successful business owner. She could have spent all of her time going to endless networking events, but instead she has used the less direct path of following her passions and making a difference. You don’t get clients as quickly, but over time you get them just the same because we all want to do business with good people.

I’ve learned a lot from Tina about what it takes to be a business owner. She taught me that if you are going to own a business, you must connect with others. We  joke when one of us gets a new client, “did they come from the Yellow Pages?” Well the Yellow Pages hardly even exists now. She has inspired me, a bit of an introvert, to become a connector, and to even enjoy it.

[caption id="attachment_106" align="alignleft" width="106" caption="A Cherished Friendship"][/caption]

I’ve also learned from Tina about how to be a better human being. We go walking in the early mornings around our fabulous midtown neighborhood. She says hi to everyone, and I mean everyone. Not just the people that are going to say hi back, and not just the people who look like they might. No matter who it is we pass, there is a cheery hello. It’s reminded me that that simple act of kindness can lift someone else’s spirit, even if just for 5 minutes.

Almost all of us that own a business began because we wanted to lift someone else’s spirit. And that’s what makes Tina Reynolds not simply a tireless activist for equal rights for all, but an amazing business owner as well.

p.s. She was honored amongst some amazing people. Today, I got to shake Phyllis Lyon's hand and thank her for all she has done for us, for me. I also got to tell Armistead Maupin how incredibly funny his books are. If you don't know who those two are, look them up on Wikipedia!

No comments:

Post a Comment