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The Heart of Business Success

July 8, 2015

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and small business owners


The door would open and my sister and I would race to the coffee maker to pour a cup of coffee for the ski customers entering my parents ski shop. Once they left, we played beneath the hundreds of skies that created a tepee on the ski rack. The smell of hot wax drifted upstairs from the waxing room where skies were prepped for different types of ski conditions. Later at night my sister and I would head downstairs to watch exciting ski jumping movies with the guys who worked for our parents. We usually made ourselves our own coffee – with much more sugar and cream than coffee – as our treat.

I believe my entrepreneurial and athletic spirit was born during the late 1960s and early 1970s when my parents were entrepreneurs during the winter months in Upstate New York in the heart of my parent’s ski shop. There was something exciting about the cash register drawer opening, watching my father laugh with his clients, and the comfort created in the shop making staff and clients feel like family. In my eyes, mind and spirit, entrepreneurship meant creating a welcoming environment for everyone and making them feel like family.

I have tried to remember that spirit when I greet women entrepreneurs at 40 events a year, when I host athletic events for women, when I’m helping a member with a business problem or when I am greeting sponsors who support my programs. I want them to feel the same warmth and comfort my father showed his customers during a windy, cold day when they entered his establishment. Sometimes we don’t know what lifetime experiences mold us but I know for certainty those “ski shop” days molded me.

Today as I recognize the ninth year of my father’s passing and stare at the original Larry Van Alystyne painting of a skier that represented him and his entrepreneurial spirit, I will be very grateful for his presence in my life; for not only teaching me how to be a good human being, a loving parent to two wonderful sons, but for also teaching me how to be a kind and generous entrepreneur to my clients.

coffee_heart_design4As I work today, I celebrate the man who gave life to me, loved me and showed me how to be a warm and caring entrepreneur. I’ll make sure to start my day with a coffee filled with alot of cream and sugar to toast his memory. I hope you have one too and cheer to the people in your life that made you who you are.

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