I created the first bike share business in the ‘70s.
I am the sixth child of seven in my family. My mom stayed at home to raise us and my dad was a mason who built many of the buildings in our area, namely the Hackensack University medical buildings, Holy Name Hospital and the Woodcrest Center.
I rarely got anything new as a child. My older siblings would get new toys, bikes and clothes. My younger sister and I got what they no longer used. The bikes were pretty beat up by the time we were able to use them. I learned to use various tools to take one bike apart to build another. I built the bike I wanted and discovered that my sister also like to ride it. I saw this as an opportunity to make some money and I decided to charge her for each use – Bike share. She paid me as she used the bike and I was in business.
Business is great! Isn’t it?We can create something and then sell it to others for money!
My bike share business continued until my sister got the bike stolen from outside a store she was in. I continued to charge her until she told our mom which put me out of business!
A business I admire is banking. It is brilliant! We give our money to the bank and the bank lends the money back to us and others for a fee that is higher than what it pays us!
What about you? What business do you admire?
I did get the interview and eventually the job. This experience taught me to try, to go for it even if the odds are against me. And that there is always something to learn in the experience of trying.
I worked with JP Morgan Chase for 5 years as a lease accountant and eventually a manager. The managers I worked with gave me interesting projects that enabled me to use my skills and education. The projects also stretched me to learn new skills and increase knowledge. Unfortunately, JP Morgan Chase decided to get out of the leasing business and I had to look for a new job. In the meantime, I worked with colleagues as we sold the portfolio to GE Capital. The unsold portfolio was moved to the Rochester NY office.
My husband and I had our first child during this time and I returned to work from vacation to find a note on my desk with a recruiting firm’s number.
I called the number and spoke with the recruiter who said she was looking for an accountant for BMW. BMW was interested in taking their small auto lease portfolio which was being managed by GE Capital in house by creating a captive finance company, BMW Financial Services. The recruiter explained the position qualifications which were exactly what I was doing with JP Morgan Chase. I interviewed for the position and was hired. I was thrilled because being involved with a startup was one of my career goals. And I got to do it with BMW! Throughout my 25-year career with BMW I was involved with many different projects and supported tremendous growth, from 90,000 to over 400,000 units today.
In recent years, I’ve seen a shift from running a business that is all about profits to one that takes the community at large into consideration.
Business leaders are beginning to understand that all business is people business. Business cannot survive without customers and employees. Both of which are people!
I call this shift, companies supporting the common good. Not too many years ago people satisfied their need to do good through the religious organization they affiliated with. Today people are leaving and not affiliating with religious organizations for various reasons. Corporations are providing opportunities to do good through community partnering and volunteer programs which satisfies this human need within us.
Earlier this year we experienced horrific violence in Charlottesville Virginia that ended in one death and many being injured. It was a wakeup call to how divided we are as a nation. In response to Trump’s inability to condemn the hateful actions and speech many business leaders resigned from his economic council. Apple’s CEO pledged $2 million in donations to fight hate.
Earlier this year, President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord and manufacturers, BMW included, stated their commitment to continue to reduce their carbon foot print.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA): "There’s a new focus on environmental responsibility and small business owners can make a difference by protecting our ecosystem and serving customers who value environmental efforts."
And according to a business trend site, Balance. com, “Millennials are people born between 1978 and 2000. They are 77.5 million strong with over $1.7 billion in spending power (so far). This group has lived the digital life and their entrance into the workforce has enabled them to be more adaptable, collaborative, and innovative than any other generation. This generation is diverse and they embrace community as inclusive of all cultures and classes.
The key for companies will be capturing Millennials' interest and business. According to the American Express Open Forum, businesses -- particularly small businesses -- can capitalize on some of these Millennial traits and interests by making things easy to share, emphasizing local connections, and "gamifying" Millennials' loyalty.” And we see new business emerging for both the Millennials and Baby Boomers such as;
· in-home care for elder and infants
· tiny houses
· car, bike and home sharing.All of this change is being driven by us, the consumers. Consumers have an advantage in this environment because business leaders know they must support the common good in order to remain profitable. Our buying power is creating much change in our world today.
What about you? Have you experienced this shift in your life?
Living for oneself and one’s family is not enough anymore. We have become a global family through the use of the internet. Our interconnectivity is more visible than ever. Our decisions effect more than ourselves.
We have the possibility to continue to create space for the common good. We also have the possibility to become a channel for people to realize their dreams through the product or service we provide and through the living wages we pay.
We have the possibility to be friendly to our environment, our home, the earth, by using ecological and economical means in our production of products and services.
Our present and future are dependent on the daily decisions we make about the businesses we create, the careers we build and the lives we live.
What about you? What will you decide today?