Kenyon Gleason

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President's Message: Who Are You?

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 1/14/22 1:38 PM

During my professional career, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in many strategic reviews, branding campaigns, and analyzing the overall mission and vision of a variety of employers.

Sometimes these strategic reviews consist of a small “update” to an existing plan. And in some cases, the process is much more comprehensive, in-depth, and ends up creating a complete overhaul.

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President's Message: Be Defiantly Joyful

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 12/16/21 9:14 AM

When you wake up each day, are you happy about it? Do you give thanks that you’ve been given another day to make a difference, to make an impact, to live your best life and to make the lives around you better?

Or do you grumble through the morning, wish away the afternoon and sulk in your sorrows when the sun dips down?

For the past 24 months, we’ve all been dealing with some rather unimaginable challenges in our personal and professional lives. We’ve all been asked to do things in ways inextricably linked to our future and the ways we approach work and life. To get through it without feeling a little stress and anxiety would be unusual.

We can lead by example with the way we handle the world around us and the way we respond to all the challenges and struggles being set in front of us. We can become bitter, angry, and combative – or we can choose to be defiantly joyful.

I heard that phrase just this past weekend – be defiantly joyful – and it struck me like a hammer to the head. I’d never heard it before. I mean, it’s not like those two words make a lot of sense together. You don’t think of someone being defiant as a joyful thing. In fact, quite the opposite. But think about those two things together… I believe there’s some real magic in that phrase and it applies to how we interact with our family, friends, and our customers.

When someone is screaming at you over the retail counter, you can choose to let it bother you, or you can respond with kindness and understanding. When your sales deal falls through, you can let the anxiety overtake you, or you can choose to just move forward on another sale. When your business faces logistical, supply, staffing or other conundrums, you can let the strain invade your life, or you can tackle the issues one by one and through efficiencies and creative thinking, find new and better ways to overcome.

In short, you can allow the negative to sink in and take hold. Or, you can be defiantly joyful, knowing that you have the power to choose, and you have the strength and ability to move beyond. And that in the end, this too shall pass.

You’ve all heard the saying, “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Well, I believe being defiantly joyful can make you infinitely stronger as well. So, in this season of hope, love, and peace, please use it as a time to spread joy. And when something is working hard to get you down, stare it in the face with your defiant joy.

I want to also take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped the NASGW find success this year. From our amazing board of directors, our staff, but most importantly, the members who support us through thick and thin, we couldn’t do this without you. We had a great year, and I can’t explain just how amazing it was to be back together with you all – in person – during our Expo in October. Thank you for bringing back the normal. Thank you for joining us in being defiantly joyful in the midst of everything happening in the world today.

On that note, I don’t want to overlook the challenge that this time of year might bring to some who are close to us. While many are celebrating and enjoying the spirit of the season, others are fighting a battle inside themselves. Mercifully, many find help and can work their way back. Sometimes though, the pain is too deep, the struggles so crushing people turn to drugs, alcohol or in severe cases, even suicide. In many cases, suicide using a firearm.

Outside of my work as the leader of NASGW, I serve as a board member for another national group, Walk the Talk America (WTTA). WTTA was created in 2018 as a charitable organization designed to spread the word about mental health issues and to reduce firearms suicides or other negative incidents where firearms are involved. I was at the beginning and still am, proud to be involved in such an important mission.

Today, WTTA continues to grow and expand its reach into the firearms industry and the world of mental health providers, and where possible, bring these two communities together to do good. Through educational seminars, public speaking opportunities, free mental health screenings, training for mental health professionals and even by providing gun box informational flyers available to any gun manufacturer in the U.S., WTTA is making a difference. If you’re not familiar with the organization, you can get more details at www.wtta.org.

I’m not asking you necessarily to financially support the organization, though I know that would certainly be welcome, I’m simply asking you to help spread the word about mental health awareness or even to offer a shoulder to someone who needs it or be there for a friend or family member in need. Sometimes, all it takes to save a life is to just listen. Working together, inside our community and partnering with others, especially at this time of year, we can all play a small part in making a difference and maybe prevent a firearm suicide or get someone the help they desperately need.

Whether you’re spreading joy and cheer or lending a hand to someone who might be facing a difficult time, defy the culture, defy the odds, and do what you know to be right.

I want to wish you, your family, and your friends a blessed and merry Christmas and a most wonderful and happy New Year!

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President's Message: A Lot to be Thankful For

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 11/17/21 9:10 AM
Each year around this time I have an opportunity to go home. Not an opportunity to get back from a work trip to the house that I live in now, though that is true too especially once the Expo ends. But the home I’m speaking about is the one I grew up in.
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President's Message: We've Arrived at the Finish Line

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 10/18/21 2:13 PM

I was once an avid runner. Not so much anymore. After multiple knee surgeries on both knees and arthritis to go with it, I had to hang up the running shoes many years ago.

But the other day, when asked what it feels like to know that we’re going to host the 2021 NASGW Expo, I surprised myself a bit by saying it reminded me of running a grueling race. Now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, I want to amend that reply. Because I don’t think it’s been like just a plain 3, 5, or 10K race. Rather, I think it’s more like one of those crazy 100-mile “ultra race” events where people run for 24-36 hours straight on some of the harshest terrain you can imagine.

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President's Message: Are We There Yet?

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 9/15/21 1:52 PM

“Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?”

It’s a saying as old as time itself, because ever since people started traveling places, be it on horseback, in a wagon, a train, plane or cars, our children have this uncanny ability to get under our skin by asking the question repeatedly, and usually in a grating and annoying voice.

I’m certain I was guilty of this when I was a child, and I know my kids were as well. I still tease my wife by asking her the question on some of our travels. No… she doesn’t think it’s funny.

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President's Message: Empty Nests and Future Focus

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 8/13/21 3:56 PM

It’s official, I’m an empty nester. Took the youngest of our five sons to college at Wichita State University late last week. That was a surreal experience.

I suffered from a case of “eye sweating,” as my wife calls it. I mean, it was 104 degrees on the thermometer when we unloaded his stuff just outside his dorm, so it makes sense my eyes were sweating, right?

My wife and I, as parents who’ve had children living with us for the past 27 years, have had an interesting year with a lot of “last time for this” moments. And now we’ve got the “first time for this” moment of living in a home without loud boys to keep us company (or sometimes drive us crazy). I am certain this is going to take some getting used to for both me and the missus. We did bring home a couple of new dogs over the summer though, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy and keep the house active.

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President's Message: Teaching an Old Dog, Old Tricks

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 7/14/21 4:48 PM

We have a new puppy.

If you are a dog owner, I almost don’t even need to say anything more, because you know how crazy life just got at my house.

I can tell already; he’s going to be a good dog. He’s smart, and because of this, he brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities. But for now, he’s just a puppy so of course he needs a lot of love, training, and constant attention.

He’s a French pointing breed called Braque D’Auvergne. I’d never heard of it. My wife discovered the breed through a gun dog magazine we get delivered to the house. It’s supposed to be a good hunting breed, so hopefully he’ll learn how to hunt for pheasants. He did already rip the wing off a stuffed duck toy, so maybe that’s a good sign? My wife is excited about his potential. She’s been working very hard with him already and if she can tame his inner beast, this guy is going to be amazing.

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President's Message: Bring Your A-Game

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 6/14/21 1:59 PM

I played a lot of baseball when I was a kid. When we weren’t on the actual ball diamond, you could often find me and my brothers in the backyard playing whiffle ball. We had the diamond laid out so that if you were able to hit the ball over the house to right or center field, you were pretty much guaranteed a homerun and an easy trip around the bases.

That is unless you got extra “cocky” and took your time strutting and showing off your baseball prowess, bragging about your power swing. Meanwhile, one of my very determined brothers would hustle to get the ball, then sneak back around the corner of the house and make a beeline for home plate. If you were too busy showing off, they’d get to home just ahead of you and tag you out.

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President's Message: Working, Not Wishing

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 5/14/21 3:28 PM

I’m not a workout fanatic. Not even close. But around 2-years ago I made it a point to spend a little more time on a stationary bike. And believe it or not, I’ve been faithful to the pledge, and the results over time have been decent. Not great, decent.

I’ve had a number of people in the past few months tell me they thought I looked healthier. Well, it’s true. And I feel healthier, so it’s a good thing. Plus, the thing isn’t just a giant dust receptacle in the corner of the bedroom anymore. Nor is it a place where I hang clothes (Pro tip… it’s exceptional for hanging clothes.)

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President's Message: It's GO TIME

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 4/14/21 12:49 PM

Slowly, but surely, the world is coming back to normal. As much as normal can be called normal I guess. But at the NASGW, we’re very excited that the Annual Expo is in fact going to take place this year. So it is indeed… GO TIME!

As you’ll read later in this InSight, registration for the 2021 NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting is going live any day. Our team is just buttoning up the final details. We’re excited to see you all in Columbus, OH, on October 26-29. It’s going to be a great reunion for many of us and I absolutely can’t wait.

Our show floor is filling up fast, in fact, we’re very close to sold out. If you don’t have a space, or you’ve been thinking about getting one, I’d encourage you to act fast. Folks are eager to get back to business and I’m certain we will run out of booth space. In that same vein, it’s never too early to start talking to your distributor partners and getting time on their calendar during that week. The week is literally back-to-back meetings with very little room for breaks. Spend a little extra time now planning so you can hit the ground running onsite in Columbus.

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