You know the sensation when your arm hairs stand up because you’ve been powerfully impacted by something or someone around you? That feeling is the finest way to describe my experience with our annual 2017 “Best of Northland” Readers’ Choice Issue. I’m genuinely inspired by the “why” behind what makes people in our community shine!
Being the best isn’t about knowing the most. Throughout September, I was personally honored with the opportunity to visit with many of our winners this year – and look forward to meeting others throughout the coming months. Many I’ve encountered have surprised me when asked, “what makes you different?” and “what ultimately has contributed to your success?” I found it was not because they came from privilege, in fact, many did not. Overwhelmingly, it’s because they believe in the simple yet profound reality that, “one can’t keep what they have without giving it away.” It’s been refreshing to be reminded of these individuals’ constitutions and their dedication. After all, “to those who much is given much is expected.”
Please pardon all the quotes as I’m humble enough to acknowledge the wisdom of others. Stephen Hawking likely says it best, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” Everyone can think of someone along their journey who has helped shift and shape them. Be mindful and pay it forward at every opportunity. I’ve rarely heard people say they wished they were less generous (which far outweighs the alternative of regret).
Integrity dictates my desire to illustrate how “Northland’s Best” arrived at their victories. First, thank you Mayor Johnston (Parkville) for being our Auditor reviewing the tabulations. To our loyal readers, thank you for voicing your opinion from start to finish this year! This was a genuinely organic opportunity where no one was positioned with preference or bias. These victories were not purchased; rather these organizations earned it the old fashion way through word of mouth. In June, we asked people to lend their voice and nominate the ‘Best’ with a fill-in-the-blank format. We took the top five nominees (in some cases close ties) to the next level – the voting round in July. These nominees became winners, if and only if, they made the second cut in their category’s voting round.
The fact we received over 100k individual votes caught even us by surprise! The journeys of the individuals responsible for these organizations’ success truly warrants the spotlight we aim in this issue. We’re grateful many will use this issue as a reference for the next year. We delight in squashing some of those “What’s for dinner?” family conundrums.
See you around town!
Publisher of Northland Lifestyle