Every year I look forward to attending the Great Game of Business’s annual conference. Over the past 28 years, it’s always been an opportunity to improve—to receive an education on how we can continually improve upon the lives and those of the people working inside our companies and within the communities that support us. I chuckle when I think back to our first conference—what we called The Gathering of Games at the time—which we held in our hometown of Springfield, MO. We honestly weren’t sure how many people were going to show up. A few dozen intrepid souls did make the trip—so we decided to hold another conference the following year, moving it to St. Louis to make it easier for more people to attend. We built on that momentum year after year—building up our community of like-hearted Great Game™ players with each conference. While I have learned so much from the incredible lineup of speakers and presenters that have blessed the stage over the years, I’ve learned just as much—if not more—from the attendees themselves over a shared meal or a cold beer at the bar after hours. They have been my most cherished friends and teachers when it comes to how we can collectively reimagine capitalism.
On March 17, 2020, John Costello, the owner and CEO of Cherry’s Industrial in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, entered a nightmare. On that day he learned that his wife, who works in the business, fell ill. She exhibited all the classic symptoms of Covid-19, such as a fever, dry cough, and a sore throat. But, with limited testing available at the time, they couldn’t be sure. Then, their son experienced similar symptoms.