The company you keep

A college professor once told me about the importance of surrounding yourself with good people. He told me it would shape me and my future more than I would realize. Well, I am here to tell you that he was spot on!

As a Cornell alum, I am fortunate to know many of the industry’s greatest leaders. It was with great pride that I recently saw one of my classmates, Virginia Mariani, and her family honored at the Cornell Icon Award ceremony. The Marianis have done so much for our industry, my alma mater and wine lovers around the world. The dinner also got me thinking about the importance of the company you keep.

As a parent, I try to instill this lesson in my kids every day. For good or bad, the people my kids choose to hang out with will affect their lives forever. Unfortunately, I have seen good people get caught up with the wrong crowd and never recover.

The same thing applies in business. As Katie Taylor said in the movie “The Power of Advice,” “The best people attract the best people. It is the quality of the people you surround yourself with that ultimately determines your success.” Profound words from a true leader.

In the end, if you want to get better at something you have to hang around more knowledgeable people. Most people will share when asked for help or ask to be taught. So don’t be bashful, and start getting better. Just make sure you reciprocate when others start asking you.