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About 15 years ago, when I was a sophomore at Xavier University, I was asked to lead a retreat for seniors at my high school in Louisville, KY.  As part of the program, I was required to give a presentation to the students on values.  It was a helpful exercise for me because until that point I had not taken the time to sit down and think about my values, much less organize my thoughts for a presentation to a group of high school boys.  The content of that presentation has stuck with me ever since.

Whether we’ve thought about it before or not, we all have values that guide us in our lives.  Some values change over time, while others are core to who we are.  We have certain values in our personal lives, and others in our professional lives.  Since I am new to TAAG I thought sharing some of my values with you would be a great way to introduce myself.

In my personal life I value family above all else.  I am always up for a family activity with my lovely wife, Hilary, and my two kids, Winnie (age 2) and Elliott (7 months).  Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, eating dinner, or doing chores, it’s always better together as a family.  I talk weekly with my four younger siblings and parents who live out of town.  Locally, we attend Sunday night dinner (SND) at my mother and fathers-in-law’s home.  I enjoy sports and value their unique ability to bring people together.  As a participant or a fan, I think sports serve as a stress release and emphasize working as a team to accomplish a common goal.  Most importantly, I believe sports teach us about overcoming adversity.  Other core values I hope to pass along to my children include independent thinking, diversity, kindness, equality, charity, confidence, integrity and hard work.

During my recent career transition, I thought a lot about my professional values and what was important to me in my work life.  I had discovered the hard way in previous roles that it is impossible to find success and happiness if your values do not align with your co-workers and your company.  I was looking for a place that put the client unequivocally above all else.  I wanted to help people and bring value to their lives.  I wanted to work with people that didn’t have to question for a second about doing what was right for the client.  I didn’t want to feel like my customer service standards were far beyond the expectations of my colleagues and the company.  I was seeking to work with good people who were honest and friendly and to be in an environment that was free of negative attitudes and inflated egos.  It quickly became clear to me that TAAG was that place, and that the people I am lucky enough to call my colleagues share these same values.  I am excited to be a part of the TAAG team, and I look forward to working with our vendors and partners to provide remarkable service to our clients.

My hope and challenge for anyone reading this is that you’ll take some time to consider your values.  Maybe even write them down and share them with others.  Whether in your personal or professional life, defining what matters most will help you to stay focused, find happiness and deliver the best results.