I love anniversaries as they remind me to stop, reflect and celebrate. Any relationship that lasts twenty-five years deserves a celebration.
Big congratulations to Bruce Dement of Kastalon and Cathie Cushing Duff of Cushing. Thank you for your membership, support and involvement. We are beyond lucky to have these two great humans as active members of EFBC for 25 consecutive years.
This month I am diving deeper with Cathie and next month with Bruce to learn more about EFBC and why they continue their involvement. Lucky me! All I had to do was ask and they each made time for me.
As we began our conversation, and I fumbled with my words, Cathie graciously helped me by asking, “you want to know why I stayed so long, right?” YES, I DO!
It was no surprise that when she reflected on her time as President of the organization, she lit up. At that time we were Family Business Council and she described it as the “brainchild” of the Founder, Jim Liautaud. Like any good entrepreneur, Jim’s footprint and voice are woven into the foundation of EFBC.
Cathie was the first woman to join the Gamma Forum and is one of the group’s original members. Diverse gender representation in our membership continues to be a goal and I believe the progress that has been made is in part due to Cathie and others like her showing up, especially when she was the only woman in the room. Thank you.
Cathie said things continue to change, even after 25 years. People come and go in forum. The value for her is experiencing those changes. Change is valuable and good. When change happens for me, especially unexpected, it can feel very tumultuous. It was comforting and insightful for me to hear Cathie share her experience of change as a necessary part of a forum.
She shared that there were times she thought about leaving EFBC. Every time she thought about it, something happened, whether it be the digital wave and how it impacted their business or when her husband got sick. EFBC helps us recognize that life is complex, there are many variables and that they all impact one another. This holistic and realistic approach to forum has been one of the most valuable and empowering takeaways for me. As much as I hated hearing the sadness in Cathie’s voice when she discussed her husband, it warmed my heart when she said, “I don’t know what I would have done without my forum.” That is why we exist.
Change is good and EFBC continues to evolve. One thing that will not change is being there for our members personally and professionally.
When Cathie shared with me, “Nothing works out the way we expect” it reminded me of the title of one of Jim Liataud's poems , “there are no plans for the unexpected.”
Thank you, Cathie for your wisdom, generosity with your time, and a few highlights from your 25 years of EFBC shared experiences.
Co-President, Chicago Glue & Machine
EFBC President 2020-2021