Hi.  I am Willow.  Welcome to my column.  We have not met before, but you already know a lot about me.  I work with you in the fastener industry.  I am not one woman, but all women.  

I am named for the willow tree.  My branches appear to bow, but don’t mistake my graceful curves for weakness.  Strong and resilient, I bend in a storm, but I do not break.  I branch out in every direction, juggling responsibilities at work and at home.  I am a seasoned multitasker, bearing leaves in abundance.   I offer comfortable shade to those who need a place to unburden themselves. 

Over time different women will take on my persona, exploring a broad range of topics.  Eventually you, the reader, will be able to suggest topics and interact with me.  More on that in a future column. 

Today I have a few quick thoughts on camaraderie.  Springtime trade shows and tabletop shows provide the opportunity to reconnect with friends from around the country.  There’s nothing so satisfying as a hug from an old friend, or a few laughs over a cocktail (or three).  Reconnecting charges my batteries and helps me push through the next few months. 

I love meeting new people too.  Often at trade shows I get to put a face to an e-mail address. That’s always fun.  I take pride in making new people feel welcome.  Just like grandma’s supper table, there’s always room for one more. 

If I’ve learned anything from my time at trade shows this Spring, it’s that even competitors can be friends.  There is more benefit in being friendly than not.  In the stressful times in which we live, it is easy to get caught up in looking out for number one.  We forget that we are all human.  We are all in this together. 

So smile.  Shake hands.  (Firmly, while making eye contact.  You’re a tree, not a flower.)  Hug if it suits you and the other person.  Recharge those batteries then hit the ground running when you get back to the office. 

Until next time,

Willow

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