By Shawn Conrad, CAE

I had a friend who sold machinery. He traveled long distances across North America and Europe, and I once asked him how he passed all that time behind the wheel. He told me he survived on rock-n-roll–I’m about to date myself—he traveled with a suitcase full of CDs, with a particular emphasis on ‘80s hair bands. He was a walking, jiving, music librarian with an impressive memory of song lyrics; I used to give him life scenarios and he could always find a relevant song.

I also love to listen to music and consider my musical tastes eclectic, crossing decades and genres. It never ceases to amaze me that regardless of the mood I am in or the life trials and tribulations I’m experiencing, I almost always hear a song that hits home.

This proved true while listening to a mix of music in June, while world-wide protests were erupting. I, like a lot of people, was seeking ways to be part of a solution and bring about change. I heard “Change the Whole Thing,” from country music artist Maggie Rose:

The world wasn’t broken in a day,
And it doesn’t have to stay this way forever.
You don’t have to change the whole thing,
You just have to leave it a little better.

It was a nice reminder that our communities have big challenges ahead, and we’ll need lasting solutions. But we can all take small steps that chisel away at those big problems to make things a little better.

My machinery salesman friend thought he struck gold when Spotify and Pandora came around. I guess we all did, but his road traveled sure was a lot lighter.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.