It’s that time of year again. As the holiday season fades into the New Year, the national discourse migrates from gifts and goodwill to calories and cardio. Instead of Santa’s sleigh in the sky, we look for magic numbers on the scale. Instead of celebrating old friends, many of us embark on quests for a “new you.”
This time of year, especially, Americans are obsessed with slimming down. And so are American businesses. Just as many individuals are consumed with reducing their waistline, many organizations are fixated on reducing their costs. And with good reason: Efficiency is a worthy goal. After six years of financial dieting, however, the belt at many companies already has been tightened as far as it can go. At Forefront, we’ve therefore resolved to spend this year focused not on losing, but rather on gaining—the strength to lift more, the endurance to run farther and the knowledge to make better decisions.
It seems appropriate, as 2014 is the year of the horse, according to the Chinese zodiac. Although they can be wild, rebellious and unpredictable, horses are also agile, fast and free. Born to race, they’re always moving, galloping forward—never backward—in search of new pastures. They don’t survive by slimming down; they do it by forging ahead.
In our ninth issue, we profile a herd of workhorses. Business leaders who are perfectly aligned with our New Year’s resolution to gain, the executives we’re featuring are working hard to fortify their respective companies and industries with new ideas that add value without adding bloat. For instance, there’s Tim Donovan. A modern-day cowboy, he grew up with horses and knows exactly what it means to be an “equine” executive, wrangling the gaming industry as general counsel of Caesar’s Entertainment. Or, there’s Barbara Landes, CFO of PBS, whose love of learning, like a trusty steed, has taken her career to new and unexpected places; Seattle Sutton, whose healthy eating empire bucks the trend of failed family businesses; and Kerry Chandler, executive vice president of human resources for the National Basketball Association, on whose back the sport of basketball is riding into a new, global future.
These and the other talented executives in this issue of Forefront are ideal mascots for the year 2014, which we hope will be marked not only by cutting fat, but also adding muscle. As the saying goes: You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
– The Forefront Team