Curtis Riskey, President, CBA

It had been another day at the office, but unlike any other day at the office. I pulled the door shut and headed to my car glancing back to get one last look at what had happened. There were still shards of glass littering the walkway and big sheets of plywood hanging just feet from the front door. The custom glass had been ordered to replace the large office window, knocked out during the break in, but for now security measures consisted of boarding up the window, leaving the lights on, extra police patrols and a few other steps.

I’d spent the day reviewing video of the building, filing police reports, and assessing what was stolen. The investigation had already yielded some interesting information. And I knew the days ahead would include criminal charges and all the steps that come with pursuing justice.

But as I looked at the office I was struck by the irony of this moment. Here we were, at the time just weeks away from UNITE, pulling together the most extraordinary convention we’d ever hosted and dealing with a break in, stolen computers and stolen data. We were literally walking through what had happened over the past decade or so to our industry. We’ve been robbed. What was once “ours” was gone. Regardless of why and how, and even what was taken, the end result is the same. Loss. Whether it’s our computers and data or the loss of customers and revenue, loss can destroy our peace of mind and our ability to succeed.

German Author Walter Anderson said it this way: “Bad things happen, but how we respond to them defines our character and the quality of our lives.”

As an industry I think there’s been a lot of well-meaning folks boarding up the windows and leaving the lights on. Because sometimes that’s all we know to do. But we’re in real trouble if that’s where our efforts stop. Loss requires us to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and take immediate steps to change.

In some ways there will always be a thief, the threat that we can lose what’s ours. But thankfully, fear isn’t what motivates us, and we know that change isn’t nearly as scary as where we’ve already been.

God commands us some 80 times in the Bible not to fear, knowing that fear minimizes our hope and limits our victories. Isaiah 43:1: “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

In fact we’re all here because we survived our own version of the thief in the night. And it’s time to replace the stopgap measures of boarded up windows, with things that really work. We’ve all lost enough.

Our office now has a new window and computers, more security and investigators who discovered what we suspected all along.

We’re now in better shape than we’ve ever been, and we’re believing the same for our industry.