Gratitude for Leadership

Happy November and Happy Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving. It is by far my favorite holiday.

I believe that we are what we practice. What better way to practice gratitude than to celebrate Bruce DeMent, CEO of Kastalon Inc., a charter member of the EFBC who participated in its first forum? We are excited to celebrate him, his company, his family, his two terms as EFBC president, and how EFBC has been a part of that 25-year journey.

After I reached out to Bruce, I decided to reread EFBC’s P^EI manual, or our Process and Protocol for Increasing Emotional Intelligence. Bruce’s insight about emotions and their connection to our relationships and decisions (both personal and professional) instantly connected dots for me.

Ultimate Listening in our manual is in part described as:

“Listening goes beyond the issue of understanding the meaning of words. Effective listening focuses the listening energy on the feelings or emotions being projected.”

Thank you to Bruce for reminding me that listening done well goes beyond the words. I appreciate him and his openness to share. His EFBC journey has been filled with both gratitude and frustrations, authenticity and humility.

In Bruce’s words, his involvement has been “life changing.” It is clear to him that learning through experiences and life lessons of others along with making “original mistakes" has been beneficial to him,  far beyond any formal education.

“Thanks to the personal experience and the emotions connected to certain decisions, especially involving family and close relationships, the camaraderie, and shared values at EFBC make transitions and challenges whether it be an oil embargo or a recession simpler and easier.”

Bruce reflected on how serving as EFBC President and his multiple decades in forum have impacted his relationships. Some of his closest and most valuable friendships are from his investment in EFBC. He believes these friendships form by having shared values amongst divergent backgrounds. Bruce epitomizes our values of confidentiality, trust, openness and growth.

Bruce stated what he hears, sees and feels is that our membership is made up of people who are filled with joy when able to provide support for others. He also felt that people can be themselves at EFBC. It is not about showing off and rather about helping one another during tumultuous times. Our business and personal lives can benefit from sharing with others who have gone through similar experiences without judgement. Bruce put additional emphasis on that last part.

When Bruce was president, the EFBC didn’t have the level of structure it has today, including forum retreat. These evolutions were happening, and he didn’t feel it would be setting up the EFBC or the next president up for success to step down mid-stream. Bruce saw the value in those changes. To increase the odds of them being accepted and implemented, he graciously worked for a second term as president.

Speaking for myself, retreat alone has been a life changing tool for me. I am grateful for Bruce and the membership that took the necessary steps toward a positive change.

Thank you, Bruce, and every EFBC member. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Nirel Inman

Nirel Inman
Co-President, Chicago Glue & Machine
EFBC President 2020-2021

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