The brilliant answer that Bill Goldsmith gave to one of my favorite question for legacy link subjects was: “The Boy Scout Handbook.”
And the question was…“What is your favorite business or leadership book?” The core principles of the Boy Scouts include teaching, mentoring, and the development of leadership skills. These same principles are what Bill finds most rewarding about his work in the industry and his involvement with AIRROC. He believes the Boy Scout Handbook teaches important skills that help young people learn how to interact with others and work collaboratively; those lessons can be revisited over the course of a lifetime to gain confidence in dealing with new challenges and the problems posed by our evolving business.
He has learned over the course of his career that hard work drives success but he learned from his father the value of treating everyone with respect. His father was a doctor in a large NYC hospital and he remembers visiting the hospital with his father back in the days when the elevators were run by elevator operators. (He was, of course, very young at the time). Many busy doctors would ride the elevators engrossed in the day-to-day pressures of their cases, but Bill’s father took the time to chat with the elevator operator. This left a vivid impression on Bill and has since served as a reminder to spend time appreciating the whole range of colleagues that make work interesting and rewarding.
His work with AIRROC started when he was asked to assist Mike Zeller in commenting on the draft Dispute Resolution Process (“DRP”) and his involvement grew when he was asked to replace Mindy Kipness as the AIG representative to AIRROC. At first, he was concerned that his prime directive as a litigation lawyer was not the best fit for the business-side executives involved in the organization, but his experience in commutations and exit strategies assured that his approach from a slightly different angle was valuable to the group. Whereas his contacts with people during his career at Mendes & Mount and his work at AIG was in the context of disputes, AIRROC gave him the opportunity to work with people outside of the dispute arena and understand the synergy that results from differing points of view. His first impression that AIRROC was a “well organized association that has been able to adapt to changing times and does not hesitate to ask itself tough questions” remains his guiding view now that he is Co-Vice chair of the organization.
Some of us were lucky enough to hear Bill play guitar with Peter Chaffetz a few years ago at an ARIAS related event. Bill also enjoys boating and his enthusiasm for learning everything he could about seamanship resulted in being able to pass the necessary test to obtain a Captain’s license. Let’s hope both of these skills can be used to enrich future AIRROC events so post-COVID-19 we will have fair winds and a following tide.