Several weeks ago we got an invitation to the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon with featured speaker Maria Stephanos. If you are not from New England or specifically from the Boston area, her name may not be familiar to you. She is a news anchor on channel 5 in Boston and has been on the air in this market for about 20 years. Before you think of me as a celebrity hound or creepy stalker, Maria and I have known one another personally for years. Actually, long before she ever appeared on TV, both Maria and her incredibly talented husband Dale, worked here at FUN Enterprises, Inc. So thinking it would be really nice to see her, Samantha Drake and I registered for the luncheon and attended.
Truth be told, I had little expectation of what she would speak about or if I would get anything out of it, but since the luncheon I haven’t stopped thinking about her presentation. If you’ve never met Maria, she is the real deal. Her presentation was fun, witty, self-effacing, honest and direct, in other words, totally Maria.
She began by coming out from behind the podium so there was no barrier between her and her audience. She didn’t have a prepared speech and wanted to do more of a Q and A session. Before the first question was asked, she addressed the many questions that she is always asked:
Yes, I do my own make up.
Yes, I buy my own clothes.
Yes, I decide what to wear on air.
Yes, on occasion, I make mistakes with my choice of outfits.
She told the audience that she would answer any question and she did. Nothing was off limits; her age, her hair color, her kids, best and worst stories she ever did, her Boston accent and even her laugh. As she always is, she was the picture of grace, class, and honesty. Maria Stephanos is the real deal; warts, blemishes, and all. Over all the years I have known her the only thing that has changed is her accent.
After I left the lunch, I felt that there was a real parallel between Maria and FUN Enterprises, Inc. We always want our clients, staff and vendors to feel and truly believe that we are the genuine article, not perfect, but real. It is our hope that, like Maria, we value and cherish the friends we have made and the relationships we have formed. In a business like ours we are going to make mistakes, especially since our product is our people and people make mistakes.
When I returned to my desk after the luncheon, there was a Survey Monkey report waiting for me. A client reviewed one of our staff poorly and, as is our procedure, I had to respond. I let them know that I was sincerely sorry the event hadn’t gone better, that the team member had been contacted and the issues discussed. I also offered them something to hopefully compensate for the problem they had. Although we get it right a high majority of the time, we are human and as much as I dislike problems, we are honest in our approach to them. We own our mistakes, say we are sorry when we need to and hopefully make it up to a client when necessary. If you take the time and look at our online reviews you will see they are not all 5 star. Clients are never encouraged to give us a high rating and any poor reviews are never deleted or amended. We allow them to stand because we are not perfect. We are genuine, the real deal.
When I went to that luncheon, there was no doubt in my mind I would enjoy it. I was excited to see Maria again as it’s been more than a few years. What I didn’t expect was to walk away as moved as I was.
If you live in the Boston area, make sure to check out the 6 and 11 o’clock news on channel 5 and watch Maria. If you have an event coming up, give FUN Enterprises, Inc. a shot, you won’t be disappointed with either decision. We are the real deal!