New Chapters for 2023

December 31, 2022 sunset viewed from White Street Pier, Key West

Catching a beautiful end of the year ocean sunset with my family triggered thoughts about what I would take from the year just finished. Some of those reflections were already kicking in with the first dawn of the new year.

2022 had its mix of ups and downs

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early in the year got my attention in a big way. Many visits in prior years to my ancestral homeland of neighboring Slovakia stoked awareness and concerns – including memories from the 80’s while visiting family under Soviet subjugation. It doesn’t get grimmer than war, but Putin is only part of the alarming trend of autocracy filling voids created by failures to evolve democratic institutions.

Closer to home, the biggest chunk of my energy last year was devoted to non-partisan Unite NY seeking to build support for reforming democratic processes in New York State. This included work aimed at establishing a state wide minor party ballot line and helping candidates for office aligned with our agenda. Notwithstanding a consuming effort, our approach failed to produce results we set out to achieve in the 2022 election cycle.

While I remain a large shareholder, retiring from the board of directors in May ended my tenure with roles at TriNet. At one level, it was hard to step away from being involved in the company Krista and I began 34 years ago. A journey rich with experience and relationships impacting my family and many others who’ve worked hard building a company to last. But the timing was right, and I have complete confidence in both management and our board to move on while achieving what should be every entrepreneur’s goal to work myself out of a job!

For 23 – Continue building, but with some new twists

Watching the sun rise on January 1 brought deep gratitude for the many lucky breaks I’ve been fortunate to receive, as well as optimism for what’s ahead in this new year.

Good health and a loving family are foundations I will never take for granted.

Teams growing around me are getting increasingly capable of driving progress across our social impact and community ventures. This helps transition me towards being more strategic and governance oriented while still having fun finding and engaging with new people who can help us.

With intentions to steer clear from any perceptions of partisanship, we decided that Unite NY will now drop all involvement in supporting candidates. We’re focused exclusively on building voter awareness and engagement to address systemic issues driving political dysfunction. In addition to independent polling, expanded media coverage and growing member development, we’ll be advancing our partnerships with state and national organizations similarly aimed at pragmatic solutions providing incentives for officials to put voters ahead of party interests.

Entrepreneurs Across Borders will be my primary focus in 2023. While our pilot in Jamaica was hampered by Covid restrictions since early 2020, we’re now progressing to show we can scale up connecting entrepreneurs in underdeveloped countries to resources within our network of in country and U.S. based seasoned entrepreneurs.  A week long visit in December opened up many new doors with high impact relationships enthused about joining the effort. My joining the Endeavor WNY board also jumpstarted insights on best practices to aspire to. Combined with an expanded team, EAB is now in go mode for ramping up.

So let me know if either reforming democracy or alleviating poverty by helping entrepreneurs in underdeveloped markets might be social impact areas of interest to you. Both movements are still in nascent stages but have some footing to show the potential for impacting many lives.