July 2017 Letter from the CEO

 In Letters from Brian
Dear Valued Clients and Friends,

Our feature article this month discusses character as it relates to creditworthiness. That article got me thinking about character in the broader sense. The “Six Pillars of Character” is a framework for teaching good character and is composed of six ethical values: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Everyone has both good and bad character traits, but we instinctively seek out people of good character. How do we recognize this in others?

Abraham Lincoln noted an important difference between character and reputation. “Character,” he said, “is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Because the shape of a shadow is determined by the angle of light and the perspective of the observer, it’s not a perfect image of the tree. In the same way, reputation is not always an accurate reflection of character. Though reputation is merely a perception, it can still have a significant impact on our lives, both personally and professionally.

In this world defined by social media, online anonymity, and “fake news,” each of us must be careful to guard our reputation without sacrificing character. The importance of character is captured in the mantra: “Hire for character, train for skills.” Because whether it’s in the workplace or at home, I believe that character counts — everywhere, all the time.
Best regards,
Brian K. Holden
Chairman and CEO
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