Stephen Paletta, The Biggest Giver

paletta.jpgTonight, the judges for Oprah’s new hit show “The Big Give” selected Stephen Paletta as the biggest giver. My family and I just returned home from watching the Big Give with Steve’s family and friends at a local restaurant. Everyone attending the gathering was thrilled that Steve won because he is a big giver, in more ways than you might expect.

Like the other contestants, Steve is competent, he works smart and hard to get the job done. Over the course of the season, he raised a lot of money to help people in need. More rare, however, is Steve’s desire to connect with people as human beings. In many ways, this is every bit as important as meeting their material needs.Connection, whether it is expressed by giving someone a hug, listening to them or asking for their opinion, can be profoundly healing to those who long for respect, recognition or to feel like they belong. There were several examples where Steve connected with others. In one episode, Steve took the time to get to know the widow and daughters of a Home Depot manager who was murdered in a robbery. In another episode, Steve spent time talking with and listening to a man washing dishes at a non-profit organization. In one of the last episodes, when Steve returned home to his family after being away from them for several weeks, he spent time reconnecting with them rather than rushing off to do something in order to win the competition.

Steve Paletta is an example of the Intentional Connector that I write and speak about. I’m glad to see that Oprah’s judges recognized these qualities in him too.

Photo: From left to right, me, Stephen Paletta and Jason Pankau, all celebrating after Oprah announced Steve was selected as the biggest giver.

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