Quarterly Roundup of Your Most Compelling Comments

three images consisting of ad for Beyond #MeToo Conference, Joe Campolo with members of Flexible Systems, and paper lanterns of Light the Night Walk

Q1 and done – Well, that was fast! Somehow, the first quarter of 2018 is behind us. As we get ready for spring, Easter, and Passover and celebrate baseball’s opening day (Mets win!), I thought I’d revisit some of the feedback I’ve received about my blog these past three months. I really enjoy hearing from readers about what resonated with them (and what didn’t). Thank you for sharing your thoughts and broadening my perspective. Here, some of the comments that really made me think.

On millennials

It was so refreshing to read your column and to see where you were going with millennials; I know as the mother of a 27-year-old that [my son] takes exception with the straight jacket description of being over-pampered, under-stimulated and lacking general purpose. To go forward into 2018 with the notion that millennials actually are our “change agents” of tomorrow is a much more productive approach. I thank you for changing the previous narrative. 

Our women’s business community mentors young women ages 19-35. We couldn’t agree more with your sentiments that [there’s no truth to the stereotype] that they are lazy with no work ethic. The young women we mentor are motivated to succeed at their jobs and anxious to be heard within their companies. 

Your comments about the 4-hour work [week] resonated. I know colleagues who are younger than I am who view my work ethic as problematic because I believe in finishing the job. 

On Oprah the candidate

By the time I got to the end of the first paragraph, wherein you stated that Oprah should not run for President, I raised an eyebrow. As I continued to read as you shared your perspective, the eyebrow lowered. You made a good point and I applaud you for your perspective.

I thoroughly agree with your take on Oprah, and the reasons for concluding that she should NOT consider a political career. Your argument about her being able to do the most good by NOT pursuing political office makes so much sense. In fact I see it as analogous to a personal circumstance of my own.  As the most tenured manager in my [office], I was urged by some to apply for a national executive team position a couple of years ago…I [ultimately] decided that I could have much more of a direct positive impact by remaining in my position.

[I] was born into welfare myself, was taught from a young age to cater to authority figures and never challenge them, pushed myself to be the first of my family to achieve a college degree despite the odds…No, I don’t think Oprah personally should run for or be voted in as president, but… I would hate to dash the hopes and dreams of all those young girls and women out there who felt empowered by Oprah’s speech that women CAN accomplish anything they set their mind to, at least in this country, while simultaneously being treated with respect, equality and the fairness they deserve.

On immigration

I wanted to say that your column on immigration was one of the most insightful and clearly thought out writings on this issue that I have had the pleasure of reading. Thank you for taking the time to share it. If enough people like yourself care enough to have meaningful dialogue then perhaps rational thinking can again be a part of our story. 

Immigration is a sticky issue. My parents like your ancestors came here legally. It is illegal immigration and those who have been legally deported multiple times that we need to defend against. My parents came here in 1957 to do their residencies. They were made to leave in 1963 and stay out for 2 years. Then they had to prove they had professional jobs!! 

There is a population of U.S. citizens who perceive that some things have fundamentally changed since the early 1900s – namely, that (a) radicalized individuals expressly want to infiltrate America (and Europe) with the desire, intent and motivation to do harm, and (b) the means of causing death and destruction on a massive scale are more available and accessible now than ever before. The scale and scope of this problem is incalculable, but the ratings-driven, sensationalized media (both left-leaning and right-leaning) makes it seem, for many, practically inevitable…The proposed solution is to do everything and anything possible to halt illegal immigration, as well as to become increasingly selective in the management of legal immigration, implemented as a meritocracy based on the skills and workforce needs of the country.

I just want to thank you for your words regarding the current immigration situation. You voiced my feelings precisely. Thank you for being brave and putting this out there so that we can have a real conversation about this issue.

On civility and journalism

I love the title “Off the Record” but it could easily be called “On the Money.” Civility is out of control, people are out of their minds and it is so cowardly how they present their views through social media. All we can do is inspire the people around us to think and act intelligently.

I think most journalists are truthful and it is probably the most important pillar of our democracy, you can always choose what you watch and read. I am concerned if we are teaching critical / cognitive thinking to our youth and the ability to separate real and fake news. As an observation it appears our bi-cameral system is no longer working. The intentional checks and balances have devolved into a polarized sport.  Remember Benjamin Franklin’s quote at the convention of 1787 about our governance….we have a republic, if we can keep it…..

Always an enjoyable read – and yes, we need a return to civility. Graciousness might be asking too much, but kindness and civility would be a step in the right direction.

Thank you for putting in writing what most “reasonable” people are thinking.

On leadership

Well done Joe. I am printing it to give to my son to study – these are important ingredients for his success. Courage to go against the consensus view – standing up for what you believe when everyone is going a different way – very hard to do (much easier to go with the herd) – but that is what leadership is all about. 

I have never seen our government in such a terrible state, and am scared to death for our democracy, which is being attacked to its core on so many sides.

What a rich gift of ideas this week! I did not cast a vote for either presidential candidate in 2016, for the paucity of leadership that you highlight.

On gun violence in schools

As a dad of a new teacher and grandfather the time has come for the voters to demand action.

For me, common sense gun regulation has become a single issue in the upcoming midterm elections.

The problem is, do we have metal detectors where the other shootings have been? Churches, Las Vegas, night clubs, malls?

I think as you do that the ridiculous claims that any regulation might somehow be a secret society move to take away Constitutional rights is specious. However, it is tough to have a discussion when everyone is screaming. Thanks for your thoughtful commentary.

I disagree about mental illness being the culprit, or we need to redefine mental illness. I had two close acquaintances commit suicide in the past year, professional men in their 50s, that was in both cases the culmination of their lives falling apart, and just giving up. In both cases they had children, who are devastated, and in both cases they are claiming mental illness. I knew them both for decades, and never did they show any sign of mental illness. It just makes the families feel better and excuses them of any blame…I cannot imagine any sane person killing others. But it happens. In the most recent case [in Parkland]…he was bullied. He probably felt justified and wanted revenge.

Every time I see one of these events unfold I get more and more nauseated by all of the workarounds offered rather than addressing the root cause….the damage in Florida was done in a span of 6 minutes. Do you really believe that bringing back the wild, wild West by locking arms in an office somewhere would have made any difference whatsoever???? If I sound like I am angry it is because as a father of 2 in college I am boiling over what could have been an easily preventable tragedy and yet again I suspect that our lily-livered politicians are going to continue to cater to the NRA and do absolutely nothing of value about this!!!!!

He killed 17 people and injured 14 others in SIX minutes. Your solutions would not have prevented that. If he had a gun that only was able to shoot one bullet at a time – more lives would have been saved. 

NOTHING will change as long we allow people to own assault rifles. I don’t expect change anymore from our policymakers. If Sandy Hook and Las Vegas did not change anything, I don’t see why Parkland would change anything.

Thanks for the excellent post. I wish everyone was as careful as you not to focus on the shooter’s name.

I’m thinking that we need to think a little out of the box re: school shootings. We have a situation now where anyone expelled for violence or threats needs to be reported and perhaps monitored…Facebook and other “social media” sites…should be able to provide uploads to law enforcement. Threatening posts, pictures with rifles and threats/aspirations to kill – should be uploaded to an early warning system. You threaten to kill people on [Facebook] – you can’t buy weapons – of any kind. And yes, we need to have real conversations about people on meds – who don’t like to take them – and used to be institutionalized. In fact, school suspension or expulsion for violence should be part of the background check that voids the opportunity to buy any weapons. 

On the Constitution

Pearls of wisdom, especially applicable in today’s turbulent times.

HBO should show “John Adams” again. I think our citizens need to revisit how this country was created and what our forbearers went through…their fears and thoughts and analyses could inform our thinking about the issues of our time. 

Thanks for your very informative comments about our Constitution. Should be required reading for every law maker, particularly for those who want to run for Congress, many of whom seem to have no grasp at all of history and of our Constitution.

On allies and friends

I agree with your points about Churchill and FDR. Where would we be without these great men? I read every book and watch every movie about them. You captured them well. 

On extinction

We are a badly flawed species – our primal instinct is for survival of a weak and poorly prepared species. So here we are – a prey species evolved into a greed species kept dominant by our tools and toys and fire. Without those we would also be extinct or at least hiding like most prey species – which is what we seem to find ourselves doing when things go wrong and we find ourselves prey to our own kind – and our tools and toys and our “fire” or our firepower – whichever is applicable in those unfortunate moments.  

Thank you, Joe, for the beautiful tribute to Sudan.  It truly was a sad moment for the entire planet.  Let’s ensure that our business communities come together to support programs that help to sustain our endangered species. 

I just read your commentary on Sudan. Joe, your humanity is showing and it is a very nice and rare event for a person to put what you said into print. You are a mensch.


Beyond #MeToo: Where We Go From Here – The critical problem of sexual harassment in the workplace has undoubtedly received significant attention over the past several months. As women continue to share their experiences, many businesses are left wondering how to move forward and remain productive. With that in mind, I’m very excited to moderate CMM’s incredible panel on April 17 featuring the leading authorities from the business, legal, and academic worlds exploring what the business community needs to be focused on. Panelists include Judge A. Gail Prudenti, Dean of Hofstra Law School and former Chief Administrative Judge of New York State; Professor Michael Kimmel, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities; and Carol Allen, President/CEO of People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union. I’ll be engaging these thought leaders on real-life issues facing businesses. There has already been a glut of panels focusing on everything businesses are doing wrong… join us to discuss practical approaches to keep moving forward. Register now.

Light the Night – On Wednesday my friend Denise Angiulo of Advantage Title stopped by to introduce Sara Lipsky, Executive Director of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Long Island Chapter. Sara’s passion about the groundbreaking research advances supported by LLS was palpable. In what sounds like an excerpt from a science fiction novel, Sara described recent approaches that use dangerous diseases to solve problems caused by other dangerous diseases. Check out this video about CART-t therapy (HIV and T cell combo) as one incredible example. I look forward to learning more about the success stories that LLS is making possible.

Flex Time – I spent some time with Marty Schmitt, Joe Saggio and Kevin Edwards and received a grand tour of Flexible Systems in the Hauppauge Industrial Park on Thursday morning. It’s music to my ears when a Long Island company outgrows their space due to exponential growth and even better news when that company recognizes the value of the HIP and makes plans to relocate to a bigger space within it. Flexible, an IT support and technology consulting company with over 125 employees, is an active member of HIA-LI. Marty explained that staying in the park was a no-brainer because there are so many like-minded businesses everywhere you turn. Watch for their upcoming spotlight in the Hauppauge Reporter and on social media.