Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - (Page 46)
electronicRETAILER | July 2012
The Tree of Life
In Memory of Ray Golden
Those who would like to can donate directly to the Amber Golden Education Fund c/o Wells Fargo Bank N.A., P.O. Box 3408, Omaha, NE 68103. him there was no shame – the shame would be for his friends and colleagues to not have the opportunity to help one of our own and his family in their hour of need. All one has to do is reference the vagaries of many in this industry to quickly realize that Ray could be any one of us. Everyone wants to leave a legacy. For some that means building a corporation that endures long after we are gone. For others, it’s grabbing the brass ring of a megahit that forever changes the face of direct commerce. And for still others, it becomes about our children, who we see as an extension of ourselves, carrying on certain characteristics and traditions. Like roots of a tree that sprout and create new foliage that we may never witness firsthand, it is our hope that our children might provide a canopy that diffuses harsh light and makes the world a more incandescent place. Life goes on. We blink twice and find ourselves gathered together again. And yet, if we take a moment to notice, something is missing. Better put, someone. We could say our lives are diminished because of this, or we could choose a different perspective and think of how much better our lives are now for having known the likes of Ray Golden. When I ask new people – who are typically younger – what they think of the direct marketing industry, they usually reply along the lines of, “This is awesome!” They understand that there is something utterly unique about this marketing and advertising world. The locations are unbeatable, the cuisine is pretty great and the energy is palatable. But it’s the people that truly set it apart; the kinship to be enjoyed, and for them – lucky them – that is just beginning. In time, they will come to appreciate that just about every other industry pales compared to this one for that one reason more than all of the others combined. Yes, it’s about the people. People like Ray Golden. Rick Petry is a freelance writer who specializes in direct marketing and is a past chairman of ERA. He can be reached at (503) 740-9065, online at rickpetry. com or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thepetrydish.
When members of ERA are polled and asked which benefits are most important to them, time and again, one of the top answers is the opportunity to network. Such connections are the coal that fuels the entrepreneurial spirit and allows businesses to grow and shine like so many tiny diamonds. Yet, one of the most profound things that make the direct marketing industry so unique is the manner in which professional relationships evolve into personal ones. It is a peculiar and wonderful aspect of the field that what begins as a matter of business, so often transcends into the business of life. Then again, perhaps it’s no wonder, for this industry pretty well defines the adage, “Work hard, play hard.” And our playground – from Las Vegas to South Beach to ports of call throughout Europe, Asia and beyond – represents some of the most dynamic and inspiring locales across the planet. Amid our periodic gatherings, we have confronted every conceivable cycle of life – job transitions and personal reinventions; births, illnesses and deaths; bankruptcies and balance sheet triumphs; marriages and divorces; economic cycles and political skirmishes: in short, the gamut of human experience. Such musings have been rendered more vivid lately by the untimely passing of our colleague Ray Golden, whom many of us have known for over two decades. For much of his career, Ray worked for call center giant West Telemarketing, which was appropriate, given his positivity and ear-to-ear smile were as gargantuan as the heartland from which he came. Months might go by where there would be no contact with Ray, and then I would turn a corner at a trade show and there he would be, greeting me as a “brother” with his singular broad grin and infectious enthusiasm. Over the years, Ray and I networked and fed each other leads, while comparing notes on how life’s more pressing struggles sometimes threaten its beauty. The health of Ray’s daughter, Amber, was a source of deep, ongoing concern as she was forced to undergo five heart surgeries over the years. However, inspired by the care she was given by various loving health professionals, Amber, now a young adult, is studying to become an nurse practitioner herself. A few months ago, Ray related that his own struggle with lung cancer had sapped him not only of his health – but his bank account. His last wish was that his daughter would be able to complete her education, and, while he confessed shame, he was turning to the industry to fund a foundation created for that purpose. I told
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - July 2012
Calendar of Events
Your Association Your Bottom Line
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney's Top Categories
From the Executive's Desk
Cover Story: Could You Sell Like Amazon?
Counterfeiting: Why We Should Care and What We Can Do
All Media Are Not Created Equal
Electronic Retailer - July 2012