It’s so weird! She was a 26 year model and was blown away.

Why does everyone have name tags?

I gave her my best explanation.

I think it’s because sometimes you should know someone’s name, but you forget. This prevents you from having that awkward, hello, “long pause trying to be cool about the fact that I forget your name and it might offend you.”

She wasn’t sold on the idea.

I was at Mike Bloomberg’s foundation HQ celebrating a book launch. Bradley Tusk, who was Bloomberg’s campaign manager wrote a book called “The Fixer” about how to navigate government regulations as a startup company. Bradley Tusk is a friend of mine, and I respect him a lot. I was grateful to have another chance to spend time with the Mayor, Bradley, and a bunch of other familiar faces.

I had some time to visit with Mike Bloomberg. I, just as I have many times in the past, expressed my gratitude for the leadership lessons he taught me (so many) when I worked for him. I gave Bradley a hugged and congratulated him for his ambition and big thinking. They both make me a better business man.

Then I mingled with a bunch of people I did not know. And after the “weird name tag” conversation, I started to watch more carefully. Turns out, a lot of people looked right at the tags. Right at the name. I didn’t find it that “weird,” but it did remind me of something.

How behind every name tag is a name that represents a story. Here was one that really impacted me last night.

Frank owns 17 restaurants in NYC. He is a proud vegan. I asked for the names of his restaurants and quickly realized they are not vegan. Any of them. I asked him if it bothered him to serve animal products as a vegan. He said he feels disgusting.

“On January 1, all of my restaurants will be vegan. I am not going to serve 1.5 million non vegan meals a year again.”

How do you feel, I asked him?

Nervous! But it’s the only way. I can’t even eat at my own restaurants right now. That doesn’t feel good.

We walked out together. The woman at the front desk asked for his name tag.

“I want to keep it,” he replied.

I looked at it again. Frank it said.

But I saw more. Character. Integrity. Conviction. Courage. Vision. Congruence.

You can’t fit that on a nametag.

I actually can’t remember if Bradley or the Mayor had a name tag on. And I guess that’s the point.

That when people impact your life, no matter for what period of time, you never look down to see their name.

That “tag” is imprinted in your mind. Your soul. Your heart.

I want to be like Frank.

I want to keep my name tag with me.

While also leaving it with you.

Nice to meet you. I hope we stay in touch.


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