Roughly a year ago, I published a personal Plan B blog titled “Personal Branding and Retiring Early on Your Own Terms”. As I stated in that post, “continuous learning” opened new possibilities that were calling to be executed.
The objectives that I had set out for my new career included:Working with a few select private equity firms in developing growth plans for their portfolio companies either through consulting or board positions. Continue to public speak on the “Disruptive Future of Retail”. Monetize my personal website www.tonydonofrio.com. Continue to write about technology and leadership, including publishing a couple books.
In one word, the last 12+ months have been transformational.
"There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion for life." - Federico Fellini
Officially I announced my early retirement from Sensormatic / Tyco / Johnson Controls on social media last week. Culminating an amazing 25+ year career, this life changing event was nearly a decade ahead of my long-term plans.
Continuous learning in building a personal brand has opened some interesting new possibilities. The foundation of this post are the comments that I shared with the Tyco retail team at my farewell celebration where I answered four simple questions.
Couple of weeks ago had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies (MC) at our multi-day fiscal year kickoff meeting. Over 140 people from around the world joined us in Florida for the "Mission Possible" themed New Year event.
The orchestration of this event was a great reminder of the quintessential leadership success formula. It is never about you. My mission possible life and career has been inspired by these three success elements.
“It’s not where you start that matters, it’s where you finish that makes all the difference.” – Tony D’Onofrio
Maybe I have been luckier than most. Every day I am inspired by the potential possibilities to change the world. Every night, reminders swirl through my mind on how much I love my life.
In a recent internal company video I was asked how I keep my passions alive, what gets me up every day and keeps me going.
As reflected on my personal website, my endless curiosity journey has focused on three topics: retail, technology, and leadership. The subplot spotlight to all three categories has been a passion for branding.
Every year, I look forward to the latest BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Report. In a turbulent 2017 year, "brands have continued to deliver. The Top 100 brands increased in value by 8 percent year-on-year to now be worth $3.64 trillion."
A few weeks ago had the pleasure of sharing a great evening with 100+ retail attendees at the world famous Walnut Room in Chicago. Opening in 1907 and currently located in a Macy's, the Walnut Room was the first ever restaurant in a department store. The elegant interior is surrounded with Circassian wood paneling imported from Russia and features Austrian chandeliers.
The celebration was part of our two day ShopperTrak Retail User Summit. My role for this particular evening was to deliver the official welcoming toast to our special guests. Taking my endless curiosity to the next level, decided that this particular moment required a special "Chicago Way" salutation. Verbatim following are the words shared with the audience.
It was an early brisk morning. My tired tourist family was still asleep. It was my turn to venture out to our favorite bakery in Florence
The sun was still hiding behind the Tuscan hills. The sky was a mixture of darkness, red, yellow streaks of light, forecasting another great Italian holiday ahead.
I was the first to arrive at our special bakery and found the door still locked. The culinarians inside were busily filling the bakers’ racks with the sweet treats. An amazing delicious sugared aroma permeated the air outside the store.
Impatiently I paced outside. One minute, three minutes, past opening time. When are you going to open this door? The family has a busy day ahead.
Last week had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies at the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Sensormatic. Over 300+ current employees and a large number of alumni gathered in Boca Raton to honor the legacy of a very successful retail loss prevention brand.
I must admit that I was initially skeptical on the need to celebrate the past as my focus has always been on driving a positive future. This hesitation was reinforced by a recent article titled 'Why Steve Jobs Turned Down The Idea Of A Big 30th Anniversary Party.' "Apple is focused on the future, not the past," said Jobs.
50 years is a major milestone. Reflecting on the history of Sensormatic and its impact on retail loss prevention, it's an important time to assess the lessons of the past and celebrate the promising future ahead.
Vision, customers first, and teamwork are the strategy elements to the Sensormatic brand successful first half century.
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain
Over the last several years, I have embarked on a focused journey to develop a global personal brand. The initial inspiration was Apple's discerning attention on simplicity in both their hardware and software which disrupted multiple industry sectors and revolutionized personal computing.
The insight was transitioning Apple's level of continuous innovation to the personal level. Formula elements that coalesced to shape my brand definition included constant career re-assessments, an interesting mix of personal passions, global leadership skills, and the recognized importance of staged goals for success.
The USA holiday of Thanksgiving carries a special meaning in our family as many years ago it marked the exact day we started our immigrant journey to the United States. From a small town south of Rome, to Zurich, and then on to Cleveland, my youth was brimming with dramatic cultural changes.
Our USA trip was arduous from the start as my family was literally lost in New York. On arrival by cruise ship, traveling with an uncle who we thought spoke English; we were taken to the wrong train station. For the planned train journey to Cleveland, instead of Grand Central, we were dropped off at the nearest New York subway station.