“There’s a hundred years of great ideas just waiting to be told.” Those words from Chicago Bears Vice President Brian McCaskey lingered in my mind for the entire weekend. Brian was the keynote speaker for our 35th annual sales awards celebration. When planning this celebration we set our eyes on the future. This year we decided to take an evening to celebrate all our successes from the 2019 calendar year. We wanted to acknowledge the performance of the sales team and still make time to recognize the successes of our other teams. This was an opportunity to redefine our culture as we move into a new decade.
We have been in pursuit of a unified culture since we moved buildings 2 years ago. We moved into a building that has open concept offices and art on nearly every wall. It is a creative, aspirational, and comfortable space that has led to easier crosstalk between our teams. In that same spirit we decided to innovate on our traditional sales event and move to an event where everyone was welcome. We invited the entire company to Halas Hall and asked Brian McCaskey to share some stories about the founding and history of the Chicago Bears with our staff. He spoke to us about the importance of being there for people on your team and those who used to be on your team. It was a wonderful glimpse into the potential of an effective team with strong leadership.
The stories Brian told made us laugh and warmed our hearts. His words of inspiration set the tone for our awards ceremony. He reminded us of the simple truth that “What’s old is new.” Brian’s words served as a fitting reminder that our evolution as a company does not need to neglect our past, but instead can be informed by our history as we march toward a better future. With that in our minds we began our awards ceremony led by our dynamic leader, Carol Lynn McNally. She told us stories of our humble beginnings. We were reminded of the slow and steady progression of sales that built momentum over the last 35 years.
We celebrated Todd Birkholz, Matt Kurowski, Donald Manns, David Nolan, and Mike Caruso. They were our top sales performers in the 2019 calendar year. We also celebrated Dawn Passehl of Five Star Logistics for her dedication and sales performance. We recognized Jennifer Manns, Executive Vice President of St. Charles Trading Inc. for her growth of the international sales division. Then we recognized Doug Larson for his performance as director of finance and HR manager along with his tactful assistance with a large coffee sale. Finally we celebrated the growth of several sales people. We celebrated Pete Bowe, Brendan O’Connor, Peter Gallagher, Lowell Crouse, and Mike Caruso. These individuals were our most improved sales team members over the 2019 calendar year. Together they represent the fighting spirit and grit that makes us successful.
St. Charles Trading is growing and changing and change is what makes us outstanding in our industry. We focus on customers not just prices, we focus on our employees not just profit, and we focus on our values over our goals. We wanted to create an event that served everyone in the company and it seems like we succeeded. We had a great turnout of 60 people to this first-of-its-kind event. We all laughed together and learned together. We were one team, celebrating our collective successes in one of the best places on earth; Halas Hall.