The Power Of Connections: A Heartfelt Reminder

Over the years, I have attended my fair share of business networking events and seldom considered the benefits beyond developing contacts to advance business and my career. Recently, I was lucky enough to experience the power a simple introduction can make for our entire community. 

Specifically, my participation in Leadership Tampa has reinforced the notion that the connections we make in our business lives go so much further than self-promotion or career advancement. In fact, these relationships have the power to enrich lives of others in our community, in ways both small and large. Here's what happened…

Leadership Tampa's day of service was hosted at Metropolitan Ministries just before the Christmas holiday. During my day on the campus, I was able to hear directly from families in need about the profound appreciation and disappointment that comes with needing support during this time of year. I also learned of the organization's shortage of Christmas turkeys -- a holiday staple most of us take for granted -- and how the folks served would have to go without.
Although the day of service concluded, these thoughts continued to weigh heavily on my mind when I arrived at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting the next day. Before taking my seat, I was introduced to Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding America Tampa Bay. Almost immediately, my mind went back to the previous night and the heartbreak of those who did not receive a turkey for their Christmas dinner, so I quickly conveyed my experience to Thomas. I mentioned that if there might be extra turkeys at the food bank, they could definitely be used over at Metropolitan Ministries’ operation.

Less than 24 hours later, I was ecstatic to learn that Feeding America Tampa Bay was going to supply hundreds of turkeys to Metropolitan Ministries the same day. A simple introduction, a five-minute conversation and the quick action of our nonprofit leaders resulted in 350 families having a turkey for their Christmas dinner, and just a little bit better of a Christmas. That's the true power of connection!

This Valentine's Day, I would hope to inspire the entire community, especially our business community, to make just one similar connection. It won't require hefty donations or even endless hours of volunteering -- while those are still very helpful and greatly appreciated. Making just one connection can make a tremendous difference in the lives of others.

Santino Provenzano of Tampa is Environmental Advisor, Phosphates, at The Mosaic Company. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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