So this evening I attend this seasonâ€™s first member meeting of the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives. This professional association has been around since 1942 and is chalk full of great folks. Full disclosure in that I am a proud past president of BNSME, having originally joined in 1989.
I get to the Millennium Airport Hotel for the meeting about 10 minutes after the networking begins and I check in. The Vice President for Programs this year, Todd Salansky who owns online thymes, llc, says to me out of the blue â€œYou do the invocation.â€
â€œHuh, what?â€ I so eloquently reply.
â€œWe donâ€™t have an invocator for tonight, can you do it?â€
Well when youâ€™re a past president, you know exactly how crazed the first meeting of the year is for new board members so you know that you gotta say yes, which I did.
For some reason, though, I just trotted my way up to the bar and started chatting with friends and guests. While talking with one of the nightâ€™s featured speakers, it dawned on me that I had just agreed to give an invocation and hadnâ€™t written a damn word!
People seem to like my invocations because I usually spend some time on them but holy crapâ€¦Iâ€™d now given myself about 15-20 minutes to come up with something that usually takes about 30-40 to write.
Oh and about the computer that I didnâ€™t have on me to write that invocationâ€¦.
So I did what any self-respecting A-Type personality would doâ€¦I marched into the office of the Millennium Airport Hotelâ€™s Director of Sales and Marketing and my friend Russ Papia and said â€œI need to use a computerâ€¦right now.â€
Now if you ever looked up the term gracious in the dictionary youâ€™d see Russâ€™ picture. Heâ€™s says without missing a beat â€œno problemâ€ but instead of putting me at someone elseâ€™s desk, he gets up off his seat and gives me his computer.
Letâ€™s reviewâ€¦.this is the man responsible for all the revenue collected at his hotel, fielding much of the food and beverage issues at the Millennium â€¦.which is neither a small nor quiet hotel. And yet he pops up like a jack rabbit for me and says â€œhere you go.â€ I wrote my invocation, it was applauded (which is not normal for invocations) and it was all because Russ Papia said â€œhere you go.â€ He served the customer.
Thereâ€™s a reason Russ has been successful in that position for over 100 years (give or take) and itâ€™s because he delivers not only the revenues but more importantly the kind of memorable customer service that is sadly unique in todayâ€™s world.
If you come to Buffalo, please stay at the Millennium Airport Hotel and make a special effort to say hi to my friend, Russ Papia.