January 2007 - Editor's Perspective

Looking Ahead By Giving Back

A new year often brings a sense of a new beginning or a clean slate and, in most cases, optimism about the future-whether it be in our personal lives or within our respective industries. And, Electronic Retailer is no exception.
Not only is the magazine staff enthusiastic about the new year, but we also are feeling refreshed and looking ahead at the next 12 months of 2007.

And to kick off our ERA Mid-Winter Leadership Conference show issue-not to mention the first issue of 2007-we decided to devote the January cover story to a cause that is close to the hearts of many ERA members: the Wheelchair Foundation.

In October 2006, Gina Mullins-Cohen, executive vice president of media and Electronic Retailer publisher, accompanied former ERA Chairman and Mercury Media CEO Dan Danielson, Wheelchair Foundation Director Chris Lewis and Hannah Steffy of Mercury Media, on a four-day mission to Southern Chile to deliver wheelchairs to those in desperate need of assistance.

This wheelchair drop not only dramatically affected the lives of the donation recipients, but also those who launched the ERA Wheelchair Project, such as Danielson. Mullins-Cohen believed it was also important to let the people who live in these remote Chilean towns tell their own story, as well as those who organized the wheelchair drop from the beginning.

After reading the article, DR companies and ERA members who generously donated time, money and resources to the project will understand exactly how their contributions have made a huge impact by restoring hope and by bringing new opportunities to those less fortunate.

If anything, the article will remind many of us just how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. It will make us thankful and appreciative of the things we have while pointing out that as an industry, we can certainly make a difference in the world.

According to Danielson, the ERA Wheelchair Project will be quite busy in 2007. More wheelchair drops are scheduled for Israel, El Salvador and another one in Chile. In addition, ERA also will sponsor the distribution of a 280-wheelchair container in Hong Kong, says Danielson.

If you have an opportunity, I encourage you to turn to the cover story, entitled “A Journey of Hope,” on page 36, and read the full story. For those of you who have donated money or resources to the ERA Wheelchair Project, you will most certainly feel good knowing that your contributions have brought so much joy and hope to so many people.

And for those of you who may be hearing about the Wheelchair Foundation for the first time, hopefully, it might inspire you to get involved with this worthwhile cause. A $75 donation will not only buy one wheelchair for a child or adult, it will mean a new beginning and a bright future to someone who simply needs a helping hand.

Vitisia Paynich


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