The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL’s) National Consumer Technology Industry division honored Almo principals Gene and Warren Chaiken; AVB/BrandSource CEO Jim Ristow; and Crutchfield founder/CEO Bill Crutchfield at its annual awards tribute dinner, held Saturday night at Cipriani Wall Street.
Organized by industry chair Fred Towns, president of New Age Electronics, the evening was hosted by Shelly Palmer, president/CEO of industry services firm The Palmer Group, who referenced the presidential election in his opening remarks.
“We must get out of our comfort zones,” he implored the audience, which represented a veritable who’s who of the tech industry. “To make America truly great, we have to listen to and respect each other’s views.”
His plea was a stark counterpoint to an unsettling keynote by ADL investigator and researcher Chris Magyarics, who detailed his work with law enforcement to identify, track and help prosecute white supremacists and their organizations.
Unfortunately, “Fighting extremism and terrorism has never been more important” than in the aftermath of the rancorous presidential campaign, he said, with over 200 hate crimes documented since the election.
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But the chill was melted by the warmth that radiated throughout the cavernous room and by the touching words of the presenters. AVB marketing chief and past winner John White described Ristow as a “compassionate leader and friend,” while Ristow called Crutchfield “the Derek Jeter of our industry” and said of the father and son Chaiken team, “You won’t find two finer human beings.”
For his part, Crutchfield offered an essential piece of advice that helped build his catalog business and shaped his life: follow the Golden Rule. Variations have existed throughout human history, he noted, but they all boil down to treating others as you would like to be treated yourself.
Doing so, he promised, can tame the “savage beast inside us” and “will improve your business and the world.”
The annual industry event raises funds to support the 103-year-old ADL, whose mission statement remains “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”