Parker Revenue Growth Strategies

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

Feb 10, 2023By William Parker

WP

“The phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ is a metaphor which means ‘using the understanding gained by major thinkers who have gone before in order to make intellectual progress’”.

“It is a metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants and expresses the meaning of ‘discovering truth by building on previous discoveries’. This concept has been dated in the 12th century and, according to John of Salisbury, is attributed to Bernard of Chartres. But its most familiar and popular expression occurs in a 1675 letter by Isaac Newton: ‘If I have seen further [than others], it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’” (Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants. 2022. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants)

As the wave of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion sweeps across the corporate, not-for-profit, governmental, and small business landscape, I am struck by the fact that during my apprenticeship into fortune five hundred retail and consumer products companies 40 years ago there were few Black, Asian and Hispanic Americans in the industry.

The landscape was dominated by the top fashion houses run by Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Pierre Cardin, Yves St. Laurent, Liz Claiborne with a host of other famous top fashion designers in the world who hired mostly white individuals.

I would like to recognize those trend setters who blazed a trail through the retail, manufacturing, and consumer products industry and who opened doors for me as an ‘inexperienced’ hot shot junior executive {emphasis on junior}. Without their tutelage, guidance, disciplined approach to mentorship and direction, I would have endured a challenging time in the apparel industry.

So, l am going to raise my glass in a toast to the following Black Americans who provided ‘cover and shade’ for me so I could learn the ‘ropes’ of being a true merchant and business operator.

4 by 8 column graphic showing the name, company, position & contribution of mentors

Remember, these outstanding people and businesspersons were the ‘first’ of everything in the retail and consumer products industry. JJ Thomas used to say to me, “You think you have it hard in the retail industry, what do you think we went through during the 1970s and 1980s? Remember, we are making the road less traveled easier for you as your predecessor{s}. Take advantage of the opportunity and rise through the ranks to become the leader of a company, because we will not accept anything less.”

Without the perseverance, mentorship and education of my mentors, friends, and experienced business leaders, I would not have accomplished the achievements earned through a lifetime in the retail and consumer products industry.