I received an early copy of Jeff Benedict’s new book, The Mormon Way of Doing Business, and I knew instantly that this was a perfect story for New Canaan • Darien Magazine. Of the eight incredibly successful men profiled by Benedict, five are from New Canaan — living approximately three miles apart. And on any given Sunday morning, all five can be found (with their families) in the same place — at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on South Avenue.
As Benedict recounts –— and as Bill Slocum confirmed in researching his story “, "Doing Business the Mormon Way”—"– the lessons learned from their Mormon faith figure
prominently in each man’’s record of accomplishment. Not that the book is primarily about religion. “I don’’t want this to be a religious book,” Benedict told Slocum.
“And it isn’’t. It’’s a business book.”
But it’ is impressive to find men who normally are asked about company strategy or profits talking very comfortably about the importance of religion in their daily lives. As Dave Checketts, former president of Madison Square Garden and current owner of the St. Louis Blues hockey team, said, “I’m not sure I can say it’’s been a part of my success, but it’’s a big part of my happiness. People who spend all their time on their careers end up losing everything important.”
This philosophy and way of speaking actually wasn’’t totally unfamiliar to me. In recent years I’ve taken a number of trips with a tour company based near Salt Lake City and, as
you might expect, both the owners and many participants were Mormons. At first I was surprised by the openness with which they talked about matters of faith. Soon, however, I ceased to notice it — it was just part of our everyday conversation.
One thing that impressed me is how many retirees go on missions, just as they did when they were young. Several couples who were with me in Africa had chosen that trip
specifically to learn more about places they might want to live as missionaries. At an age when relaxation are on the minds of many people, these folks were planning to spend two years away from family and friends in locations not found on the average tourist’’s itinerary. I was impressed.
Also impressive in this issue is Liz Conover, the Darien woman who is currently executive director of merchandising and marketing for the New York Takashimaya. If that store’’s name doesn’’t immediately ring a bell, you’’re not alone. But the Japanese-owned department store on Manhattan’’s Fifth Avenue, while long a destination for celebrities who want to shop in unrecognized peace, is gaining a higher profile with customers who appreciate luxury. And Liz is helping to create the buzz. Writer Carol Leonetti Dannhauser caught up with this dynamo and tells her story in “East Meets West.”
So turn the page and enjoy. See you next month when we celebrate our fifth anniversary.