“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My dad always stood in front of the whiteboard. He moved with the grace of a conductor—brows furrowed, eyes darting back and forth, hands continuously gliding the print-jobs magnets from one column to the next. Only after multiple iterations and two water breaks did he take a breath: the press schedule had been set, but only for a moment... before a rush order came in or a pressman called in sick and the process started all over.

But my dad did not mind the chaos. In fact, he secretly enjoyed the inevitable hiccups in planned production because this schedule was his favorite puzzle. To anyone else it might have been just a messy whiteboard.

As a kid, I worked at Flexo-Graphics—my dad’s small printing business—every weekend. Over time, I realized that his whiteboard wasn’t just a lesson in operations, but also an agent of change for the Flexo-Graphics community. It gave people opportunities for jobs they might not have thought achievable, provided health insurance for 40 families and allowed peace of mind for retirement plans.

My personal whiteboard contains lessons that have shaped who I am and represents future opportunities that I choose to write. Excited, yet uncertain, about what the future holds, I am ready to stand tall at my own whiteboard.

— Janie McDonough