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Updated: April 3, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: The joy of awards

When I was writing this column, I had just left WBJ’s Business Leader of the Year & Hall of Fame Awards, which was held on March 28 and honored the eight outstanding Central Mass. professionals profiled in our March 6 edition.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

The ceremony made for an amazing night, with each of the winners making heartfelt speeches about the people who helped them along the way. Amusingly to me, nearly all of the winners talked about how humbled and shocked they were to receive the awards, while simultaneously praising the worthiness of the other honorees. Even more astounding was seeing the interconnections between the 200+ professionals in the room, even though nearly all came strictly for one honoree from disparate industries like health care, banking, technology, construction, and human services. The event was a showcase for the diversity and the close-knit relationships in our business community.

With this April 3 edition, we arrive at another set of awards, the third of five WBJ will publish this year. The Manufacturing Excellence Awards remains our only sector-specific award and honors accomplishments in one of the foundational industries in Central Mass.

When I attend journalism conferences with my fellow business-to-business editors, the feelings about awards fall into two broad categories: They are either unbearable chores servicing a revenue-producing aspect of our companies, or they are a moment to reflect on the most positive aspects of our communities, worthy of the full prowess of our newsrooms. I’m firmly in the latter category, even though I understand the former. The WBJ newsroom has built up its reputation by speaking truth to power, examining the limited financing available for entrepreneurs of color, the legacy of redlining, overregulation of the cannabis industry, and problems with a large public investment in a stadium. To use this integrity to pick the most innovative business leader or the 40 most promising young professionals can seem contradictory.

But we can do both, and do them well. The same integrity that discovers flaws can honor excellence, too. Few things professionally give me more joy than watching award winners, who may have toiled for decades without recognition, stand before a large crowd rising to its feet, excited to praise their accomplishments. It’s quite a thing to see.

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