On July 15, 2016, Global Connections, Inc., toasted 20 years in business a few days early. With cake, cookies, champagne and sparkling juice, the kick-off to yearlong celebrations started with a pop!
In fact, all of the Global Connections offices and resorts toasted each other, sharing memories over the years in their locations on the same date. While in the corporate office, President and CEO Tom Lyons shared his thoughts directly to the employees about this journey to 20 years in business with his wife Debbie, Vice President of Operations Cathy Wunder and COO Frank Zawojski by his side. Here’s his speech:
What are the defining moments of this company? Over 70 percent of all small businesses fail within the first two years. I think that’s pretty remarkable in and of itself. I think that what has built this company and what I surround myself around are people — the best I can find. You represent that. I thank you so much for helping me build this company. Because without you, there is no company and that is what I’m most proud of.
A few things that stick out to me. They say, “Wow is it the resorts? Is it the amount of members you have? It’s over 230,000 members now — phenomenal, right?” All that stuff. No. you know what sticks out to me? It’s people like Robert. Guess what? He came here, worked for us and I got him an education. He went on to do what he loves. That means a lot to me.
It’s about people. It’s about family. It’s about building things.
It’s about Liliana becoming an American citizen. And it’s about Brian, who I met when he was 12 years old. And I saw this young kid; you wouldn’t believe the troubles and trials this guy went through. He had it rough; some of it was his own making. He stuck through it, and I tried to guide him as much as I could, even though from afar. I love that guy like a son. That’s what this is about.
I just thank you all so, so much. I know I wasn’t supposed to mention any names. But I had to mention a few because that’s what sticks out to me. Even a little girl down in Daytona Beach, Stephanie. When I bought Sea Shells Beach Club, she was the only person there with Cathy and me. She was housekeeping and we had a full house. Stephy and I did all the laundry for all the rooms all week, July 4th week. She’s still with us today, head of housekeeping now. What a great human being she is.
So I thank you all. Don’t think anything about me not mentioning your name. I think highly of each and every one of you. I am just so glad and so proud of what you all have built. I am very, very appreciative. And Debbie hanging out for 40 some years with me, I love her.
Thanks so much to everybody. We can’t do it without great leadership. Our Executive Team is second to none. Whatever department you work in, think of whoever is at the top of your department. Whatever you think of them and how they manage you, how they work with you, how they treat you and become part of your life. You should be very, very proud of the relationships that you have. With the Executive Team, I know I am very proud of them.
With that, Tom popped a bottle and everyone raised their glass to toast 20 great years of Global Connections, and to 20 more. The official anniversary was Tuesday, July 19, 2016. We’ll be sharing more about how Global Connections came to be, how we’ve grown, and where we’re going in the coming months.
If you’d like to give a shout out to the company, an employee or share your own memories please comment below. Cheers!