The Rotary Room at the Fairfield Library was recently packed for Tom V. Quinn, a local businessman with deep-running family ties to the library, who held the launch of his newly published book “Delivering Greatness: How I Found Successâ€¦and You Can, Too!”
Quinn has decades of experience in the food industry and is currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Nuovo Pasta Productions, a Stratford-based producer of fresh pasta. Over the course of that time, he has amassed a collection of stories and insights, which he wanted to share.
During his career, he placed an emphasis on mentorships in his own life, and much of the book is concerned with how to effectively provide guidance and support to one’s juniors in a business setting.
“I have envisioned this evening probably about 3,000 times,”Quinn told the crowd. “In 1,502 of them it was a room full of people like this and an amazing evening I’ll remember forever. In 1,498 of them three people showed up and I forgot my pants.”
Caring for others is a central element of the book, and not only in business contexts.
“In the late 1990s the company for which I was vice president of sales merged three divisions into one,”Quinn wrote in his book. “The incoming regime decided to have a make-it-or-break-it meeting on my son’s seventh birthday. I politely explained that it was my son’s birthday and that I would be happy to come down to Philadelphia the day before, meet all day, have dinner, meet all night if they wish. But at four in the morning I was going to be leaving for my son’s birthday so that I would be there before he woke to open up his presents.
“On my way home that morning one of the direct reports called me in disbelief that I had taken such an action. I explained that for nine years I preached â€˜work hard, play hard’ and delivered without fail, but that family always came first. If I didn’t have those same ethics when my neck was on the line I didn’t deserve to be their leader and didn’t deserve their respect. My son had a great birthday, and I was fired shortly after. Six weeks after I was fired, I was hired by the company where I have been for more than 18 years.”
Quinn’s belief that success is measured in ways other than raw metrics or perfect adherence to a job description was also on display with regard to his attitudes toward the relative profitability of his book.
“I’m happy to answer any questions people may have about either the writing process or why you should not go into writing, why you should find a good day job,”Quinn joked.
Quinn noted that the idea for the book was originally something he was writing for his family as a way to preserve stories and observations from his career for the future, though when his editors convinced him that the book had potential, he shifted gears and focused on stories that imparted useful wisdom for those he could not personally help along their career journeys.
“I mentor younger people mainly because I’m really old,”Quinn said of why he placed such an emphasis on mentorship. “If you hang around long enough the odds of you being older than the people, you’re mentoring really work in your favor. So, all I’ve ever asked of all the people I’ve ever talked to is to just share what works.”
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