A Note From The President

The Grace To Make A Difference
Thom Geshay
July 28, 2021

Thom Geshay Headshot

Thom Geshay

We’ve all heard the phrase “the world is a crazy place.” It’s understandable when we turn on the TV and see examples of political unrest, violence, storms, wildfires, the Delta variant on the rise, supply chain constraints, lack of employees and government sanctions playing out all over the globe. Why, even a team from Milwaukee won the NBA Championship (Go Bucks…I was 4 years old the last time that happened)! How crazy is that? There has been a lot of stress on all of us, and that can be, at times, overwhelming. So, what is it going to take to get our communities focused on changing what we see out the windshield and worrying less about what has played out in rearview mirror? And how are we, as hospitality professionals, in a great position to be facilitators of change? None of us know the absolute answer to those questions as there are many factors involved, however, I’d like to suggest something quite simple that would go a long way toward improving all of these circumstances, and that is GRACE.

Grace is confidence, empathy, care, poise, humility and understanding all rolled up into one behavior. What I’ve witnessed in the world of Davidson with the return of guests to our hotels, is the return of hospitality across the country. We’re doing what we do best, taking care of others. There is a quote I read from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett that said, “Surround yourself with people that push you to do better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.” There is so much truth in this statement. We need to honestly ask ourselves if we are being the positive influence that is motivating those around us.

I was reading an article from one of my business sources the other day, and was surprised to see a topic in the article being “grace.” It’s not talked about much in business circles. Gary Burnison, the CEO of Korn Ferry, wrote an article on “grace” and how team members are turning to leaders for help and hope at this difficult time, and while “grace” is hard to define, we know it when we see it. Some outtakes from his article are as follows:

Grace is a feeling.
It moves us forward—elevating above any circumstance—and always along the high road. It is what makes us inherently human—the better self that shines a light for others.

Grace is the gift of goodwill.
Unearned and unmerited, grace is present within each of us. It’s as old as human history—present in all major cultures and religions. For us, the gift is the goodwill of human nature that is predisposed to helping others. We have joy when others are fulfilled.

Grace is an action.
The image that comes to mind may be a dancer’s poise, an athlete’s fluid motion. But true grace emerges through pressure and sometimes under fire. It is that voice of humility that continually whispers, “It’s not about you.”

So, what has been the one constant in our culture over the past 30 years that demonstrates the grace of Davidson? That’s easy; it’s our commitment to Give Kids the World. Our company philanthropy where we help provide, at no cost, a care-free vacation for families who have a child with a terminal illness. You want to talk about stress and chaos in life, imagine not knowing how many days your child has to live?

Give Kids the World is the ultimate demonstration of “grace”. But the village cannot provide life changing experiences for these children without the selfless grace of others. That is where the Davidson family comes in. While there are still challenges all around us as the economic recovery broadens, it’s time for us to look out the windshield and get back to normal and re-discover the joy of giving back. Please consider putting some positive energy around this great charity with your team.

In Warren Buffett’s quote above, he reminds us to “surround ourselves” with people that “push us to do better.” I’d like to thank the Davidson team members that do just that; the Give Kids the World Ambassadors. They remind us that giving back is part of our culture and something that creates real joy in a world often defined by chaos. Thank you for your grace as you push all of us to make a difference in our community.