I was afforded a rare opportunity last month to meet MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui — and not just with a passing handshake while he was on Guam to deliver the University of Guam commencement address. The University of Guam courteously hosted a small group of journalists to engage in an informal, up-close and personal meet-and-greet with a role model in our field.
In listening to his stories, I was reminded that there is so much more to learn personally as a journalist and so much more room to advance the sophistication of journalism in the region overall.
A lot of us have professional goals we are working toward through degree or certification programs, through reading books, article or training materials and by attending the occasional off-island conference, expo or event. While these are all necessary aspects to advancing knowledge in a certain subject, none of these is as impactful as even a five-minute conversation — and longer, if you’re lucky — with someone with whom you can relate career-wise and with whom you consider successful.
For their size and location, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands see a good number of VIPs — whether politicians, musicians, athletes or chefs — on a regular basis, many of them keynote speakers at conferences or special guests for events. This year Guam welcomed a couple Congressional delegations to include one led by Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Rep. Michael D. Rogers and another led by U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii. Additionally, the island saw visits from Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie; and just recently over New Year’s, an executive chef for the PGA Tour, David D. Trevelino.
What is unique about greeting these people on a small island is that the chances of having more than just a handshake with them are much better than elsewhere. In the Marianas, we get to mingle with our VIPs at mixers, sit at their tables at luncheons and maybe even run into them in a hotel lobby or lounge. These opportunities should not go to waste with any visiting VIP who might have something of value to share with you.
Role models are as effective as goals. If you give yourself something to work toward, you’re more likely to achieve it.
Congratulations to Jeffrey B. Jones, our 2015 Executive of the Year. Not only is he a prime example of a role model for businesspeople in the islands, but should you get five minutes with him in the future, he would tell you he has a lifetime role model of his own in his father, Robert H. Jones, who founded Triple J Enterprises 30 years ago, which is now a $161 million grossing conglomerate with more than 650 employees. Jeff says he is still learning from him.
In fact, this is the first time in 32 years of the Guam Business Magazine Executive of the Year program that we have had two generations of a family hold the title. Robert Jones was the very first recipient of the award back in 1983. We are pleased to add Jeff to this distinguished list.
I wish you an inspiration-filled 2016 with many seized opportunities to speak with and learn from people of influence in your profession.