Lessons in Resilience

Lessons in Resilience
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“Pointers, as we’re known, are a very resilient tribe,” In Demand CEO Bob Benya said the other day (Nov. 28) at a gathering of MBA students.

The business students were in New York at a judged competition involving case studies of how certain vendors’ products and services might help a mythical cable company fight off competitors and survive.

The event, organized by Interactive TV Works, a consulting firm, was rescheduled due to October’s Superstorm Sandy.

“Pointers” are residents of Breezy Point, the Queens, N.Y., shoreline community hit hard by Sandy’s winds and flooding, and by a fire that destroyed about 100 homes while firefighters (many of whom live there) had to watch helplessly.

“We did OK,” Benya told ITW’s Craig Leddy at the event. The Benyas evacuated, and his first piece of advice to the students in those situations was to leave when you are told. Imagine living through a disaster happening all around you, and then dealing with the aftermath, he told them.

The cleanup has been remarkable, he said.

Volunteers — including employees from In Demand — have helped tremendously, especially for families with small kids or elderly relatives.

“We really believe we are going to rebuild the community even better,” he said. The Benyas expect to be back on the Point sometime this spring.

By the summer of 2014, he predicted, the community will be back to full capacity.

Persistence in resolving obstacles was another teaching point he had for the MBA students, as was the value of learning a business from the operational ground up, as he did over nearly three decades in cable.

Be a good listener, he also advised.

I hope they were listening.