At the time Ray was "driving the bus", virtually every senior staff member in Kodak Professional was working to build relationships. Terry Deglau was the face of photography for wedding and portrait photographers. Mike Gurley and later Dan Steinhardt had responsibility for the commercial side. In terms of marketing and strategic planning, I remember meeting Jeff McLeod for the first time when he returned from a long term position in Japan and people like Beth Myers (now Beth Cubberly) and Chris Majoy were part of the team, along with Marianne Samenko in advertising. I wasn't alone in considering all of them good friends.
I know there are more people who made this team so legendary, but these are the first names coming to mind this morning. Here's my point...
Ray loved this industry and when you love something you'll always do a better at it, because it's so much more than just a job. That passion gets translated into a commitment, often as serious as your wedding band. It becomes a piece of who you are to so many people.
Scott Stratten in his book, UnMarketing, wrote, and I'm taking this out of context, but it's so relevant:
"We spend so much time trying to figure out what's next, and focusing our attention on future customers and growth, that we forget our fans...Take a good look around and appreciate where you are and what you're doing. Don't neglect people who are giving their time to you."
So, the point of this Sunday Morning Reflection is to follow what so many of us learned from Ray. Don't take people for granted. Appreciate whatever time they give you and let them know they're important to you. Build relationships with substance.
I always appreciated the fact that Ray showed everybody the respect they deserved. He treated us all as associates on the same quest for imaging for perfection he was on!