An amazing man, called Jim McEachern, wrote an article entitled “What you will one day be, you are now becoming” in the 1960s. I heard about it when I initially was selected for the Southwestern Advantage Program in November 1991, and it made a real impact on me. Since starting with Southwestern in 1991, I am so grateful that I have been blessed with some incredible mentors like Dave Causer, Liz Dunn, Sarah Jennings, Sarah Carter, Jerry Heffel, Dan Moore, Lee McCroskey, Spencer Hays and Henry Bedford, to name just a few. There is no company in the world like Southwestern that helps young people to develop the skills, and the character, that they need to be successful in life.
I had a tough start to my Southwestern career, with 4 weeks to go my first summer I was on less than 500 units, I had had a bout of pneumonia, had changed Headquarters, Towns, States and time-zones. Others thought I was crazy not to give up. The summer of dreams wasn’t really happening and I thought that I would end up in debt, again. Most things I had tried at in life, I had eventually done well at. It never came easy but I got there in the end. I am grateful that my parents have always taught me not to give up, and if it were not for their encouragement and belief I would have failed.
That first summer I felt self -conscious, tired, scared, I made excuses BUT I never gave up. I wanted to give up many times, I thought about it, but I knew I would finish strong. Eventually like everything else in life, with continual practice it clicked, I took off my last 4 weeks (with 4 weeks to go I was on less than 500 units) and just won the Sizzler trip. I was fortunate to be able to go on from there to build an organization, hit the Mort Utley Club, have the number one team in the company and help to grow our company horizontally and vertically. Most importantly, I made some of the most meaningful friendships with people who have similar values (most of all with my wife who sold for 10 summers!), and thanks to the Southwestern program, was able to travel the globe and see places that I would never have dreamt of, with many laughs, bottles of red and bonhomie enjoyed along the way. The peers, friendships, colleagues and people that you serve as a leader at Southwestern are incredible.
I have been privileged to work for this company from the ground up, as a guy from Glasgow in Scotland; I have loved learning about American people. They are some of the most incredible, caring, capable and positive people I ever met. The USA is an amazing country, and even though I have crossed the Atlantic over 200 times now, I still feel the same excitement as I did 20 years ago when going to the land of opportunity.
At the end of my first summer, I went back to Scotland with a new perspective, a new determination, a new belief that tough times don’t last, tough people do. Working with Southwestern is a tough job, however with the correct attitude and a great work ethic, it is the best summer work of all. It is not for the faint hearted.
The reason that Southwestern Advantage has endured, grown and prospered over the last 155 years where the world has changed so much is because its success is based upon timeless principles and beliefs. Fashions, technology, society, trends all change, however the timeless principles that are passed from generation to generation through the Southwestern Advantage program will never change. It is the present generations role at Southwestern to make sure that these principles and beliefs endure for another generation. Sadly Jim McEachern recently passed away – he left an enduring legacy on many people and an indelible impression on me.
We do a GREAT thing through our summer program, our partner companies and the SHARE the Southwestern Advantage program inspired by Henry and Dan. I admire every young person who has the belief and character to attempt this incredible experience and I personally will do anything I can to help them. The legacy continues……..