President's Message: Just Do It (With a Smile)

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 7/14/23 3:16 PM

Kenyon Gleason, NASGW President

“The most effective way to do it is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart

I bet when you read the title, some of you thought I was going to talk about a certain shoe and apparel company. Nope. I’m going to talk about Amelia Earhart, and great customer service. I’ll get back to Ms. Earhart in just a bit.

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to take my wife flying. We’ve both been pretty busy so most of my flying adventures these past few months have been by myself or with some of my flying buddies. But the weather Sunday was spectacular and Stacey and I had a chance to do some Kansas sightseeing.

It began in Lucas, KS at the K-18 Café. Where we had some of the best restaurant customer service I can ever remember. Lucas is not big. The café is not big. The airport is also, you guessed it, not big.

What was supposed to be a small group of five to seven Kansas airplanes turned into 15 airplanes in the span of 30 minutes. I met a lot of new folks that day so that was cool. But what was even more cool, was to see the staff at K-18 kick things into high gear when we all descended upon the café.

I should probably point out that Lucas also happens to be rather close to Lake Wilson in Kansas, a weekend hive of activity, so the Sunday morning regulars and weekend campers were also out in full force. This place was hopping!

If you’ve ever worked behind a counter or done food service of any sort, nothing can prepare you for a mad rush like that. And many times an untrained or uncaring staff will fall flat, leaving customers walking away disappointed at best or plain old angry at worst. Not a good thing.

But as Amelia Earhart noted, the most effective way to do something is to just do it. And do it they did. The team at K-18 was working like a well-oiled machine. Did things take a bit longer than some wanted? Yes. Did they get confused a time or two on who ordered what? Certainly. But they handled this onslaught with a smile and a genuineness that was obvious. Anyone in the café couldn’t help but be impressed by how they handled the workload. It was awesome to see, because I’ve unfortunately seen the opposite too, and it’s not pretty.

From the person at the cash register, to the people filling orders, to the cooks back in the kitchen… teamwork was on full display. And smiles and happiness were too. That incredible attitude helped all the customers keep a smile on their face too. That team deserved every extra tip they got.

After enjoying a fantastic breakfast, Stacey and I decided to hop over to Atchison, KS, to visit the new Amelia Earhart museum. What a treat that was. We recently listened to a book called “Fly Girls,” about Earhart and four other women who broke the glass ceiling for women in aviation. Highly recommend this book that reads like a novel but is 100 percent true.

Getting to see the museum dedicated to Earhart, in the town where she spent her early childhood, it’s hard not to be impressed by the incredibly visionary and powerful woman Earhart was. It’s sad we still don’t really know what happened to her on her last flight, but we can certainly learn a lot from the time that she was with us and through the incredible life she lived.

Amelia Earhart had all sorts of roadblocks thrown in front of her. She was challenged at every turn. She came of age at a time in America (1920s and 1930s) when the women’s rights movement was just getting underway and she helped move the needle to bring equality for women. But nothing about what she did was easy, most especially getting into a cockpit and flying airplanes. It was a place viewed as the domain of men and they weren’t very happy about Earhart and others encroaching.

But Amelia Earhart didn’t care. She just kept pushing forward. Her immutable spirt and undying determination inspired her to to become the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic and then the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was and remains an inspiration and a true American pioneer, in many ways. She did all of this, by the way, before her fortieth birthday. Earhart and her navigator were presumed lost at sea in the Pacific as they attempted to fly around the world.

We can all learn something from the crew at K-18 Café and certainly from Amelia Earhart. When it comes to getting something done in our businesses and in our personal lives… the best way to do it, is to just do it. If you want to really up the ante, do it with a smile.

A quick note for those of you interested in competing for this year’s Caliber Awards. The deadline for submissions is coming fast. Please help by getting your submissions in before the August 1st deadline. You can’t win if you don’t enter. Our panel of 18 industry judges will once again select the top products in seven different categories. You can find all the details at


Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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