The Journeys We’re Making

Even though the fragile warmth of April sunshine on our island brings brisk, cold winds off the Atlantic, I’m ready to be optimistic.

It’s not simply a matter of enjoying better weather on our daily walk. Or the brilliant daffodils and forsythia, star magnolias, and shoots of greenery everywhere reclaiming the dull brown of woods and pastures. Or even the incessant birdsong, punctuated by the rattle of the woodpecker on the telephone pole across the street. 

I’m energized by the people around me, stirring to life after a year of inertia. Friends, extended family, fellow sailors, coaching clients, and all those I meet on writing assignments. People are in motion, and I’d like to share what a few of them are up to with a leadership and a sustainability focus.

Gotta love the skunk cabbage—the first and greenest vegetation in the woods each spring.

For the weekly Phlotilla.News email I’ve edited since last fall, I have talked a few times with Max Kraimer who works for the non-profit Clean Ocean Access. Max is a project manager working on a multi-year shrink-wrap recycling initiative. His goal is to build on the effort that regional boatyards have made in collecting and recycling the plastic used to cover boats for the winter. Not only does that mean more collections, it also means finding a way to recycle it into more shrink wrap rather than as a low-value filler material in composite wood products. If you’re a boat person like me, learning more about the path Max is following should be of interest (“Rhode Island Recycles Shrink Wrap, What’s Next?”).

I interviewed Richard du Moulin about the Offshore Sailing Leadership Symposium he staged last November with some extremely accomplished sailors and non-sailors (see “The Business of Training Leaders”). What’s fascinating about Rich is to see the continuum he is on, and has been on for a few decades, with safety-at-sea training for youth and adults as the frame. This spring he’s not resting on his laurels—rolling right into an experimental, “socially distanced” safety workshop aboard several boats gathered in the middle of Long Island Sound.

In a feature interview, also for Soundings Trade Only, I met Tara Norton and learned about the journey she’s taken to become the chief sustainability officer for the largest marine electronics company in the world—and what that job looks like. A Massachusetts native who went to Northwestern, then London Business School, and has spent most of her career in Europe, Tara became a supply-chain sustainability expert because of an unlikely stint working for a non-profit at the Port of Los Angeles facilitating world trade. (If you want to know more about what a CSO does, see Q&A with Tara Norton.)

These are just a few individuals who are inspiring me to think about my journey, what I focus on, and how I embrace it. The stuff we are dealing with is not always exciting in and of itself, but the direction it leads us makes a difference with every step forward and every setback. How do I make the most of each step along with so many others working on great projects? The other day, I whittled it down to these three thoughts, which represent a target I aim for daily—and hit as often as possible:

  • Get set for a great day, every day, with clear focus and upbeat communications;
  • Energize yourself and others with a vision and a frame for your collaborative works;
  • Bring discipline, follow-up, plus a good dose of empathy for others and yourself.

Have a great month!

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