BLAME IT ON Bergen LEADS
I had just gotten past colon cancer tumor #2, was running for Council in Haworth, and I saw the announcement for the inaugural class of Bergen Leads, and felt compelled to apply. I joke that I was 33rd on the list but three people dropped out, so I was accepted by default.
As if life isn’t challenging enough, I like to be challenged further. In this case, the challenge was not physical. It was mental. It’s the willingness to open your eyes, to learn about what’s around, and dare I say it “make a difference.” In the span of twelve months, I won my election bid for Council, learned a ton about New Jersey (now I bore my family with details), had a kidney tumor removed, and started my own non-profit for genetic colon cancer, AliveAndKickn. Oh, and I still had my day job running my medical supply business.
The experience in Bergen Leads is lifelong, whether it’s what you learn while there, or the relationships you create. I’ll never forget the recommendations NOT to start a non-profit, but at the same time, if you feel strong enough about the need, follow it. After graduation from Bergen Leads, I became a Board Member with the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, and for a time, I was Leads Alumni Co-Chair. I was briefly on the Board of the Community Blood Center of Paramus before they consolidated boards. Some of my favorite people in the world, and some of my closest of friends are, or have been involved with Leads, the Volunteer Center, or both. Mary Connolly from my Leads class even agreed to be on the AliveAndKickn board with me.
The relationships have been a blessing. I did not win re-election, but with the extra time from not going to Council obligations, my foundation has kicked in. We now do events and make the press all over New Jersey, including the signature event at Bergen’s Overpeck Park. The Bergen Record, Suburbanite, and 201 seem to appreciate my story and have been supportive. Some prominent Jerseyites follow me on Twitter and other social media. My business closed due to changes in the insurance and Medicare system, but I picked up a good position with another firm right away. And with the extra time I have not worrying about inventory and cash-flow, I fill it with speaking engagements, many of which are local to New Jersey, if not Bergen County.
I still get asked if I want to get back into politics. Right now, I’m doing well, making a difference, building relationships, coaching and playing soccer, and raising the three monsters to be gentlemen. All I need is more time in the day. Blame it on Bergen Leads.
-David Dubin, Class of 2009