By Andrew Graft | Updated on May 17, 2010 8:23:02 AM
Earlier this month, I got to be involved with a special honor relating to Access Development and our founder/CEO Larry Maxfield: finalist interviews for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year.
Paradoxically enough, the recipient of this honor (Larry) is the one person most uncomfortable with this entire process. Over his 26 years as the leader of our company, he has preferred to remain "behind the scenes" -- just like he views the role of Access as a private-label provider of discount programs, loyalty programs, rewards programs, etc.
Larry has always been someone to avoid the spotlight, and it's now taken several years of nominations and urging by Access employees to finally toss his hat in the ring. And yet, when it came time to talk about his qualifications with the E&Y judging panel, Larry turned downright effusive.
About himself? Far from it. Instead, Larry spent virtually the entire interview deflecting credit for his years of success, insisting instead that it's those of us within "the Access family" that deserve 100% of the credit.
Well, Larry...I don't think any of us were there in 1984 when you started this company on a shoestring budget of $30,000. We weren't there when you had to convince merchants AND organizations to have faith in your affinity marketing model. And we weren't there every time you mentored along individuals within the leadership team, bringing out the best in them.
So Larry, on behalf of all of us here at Access, we wish you good luck at the announcement ceremony next month. Just know, you've already won as far as we're concerned.