Ali and Dennis Pitocco
With a writer in every port, too young for crossword puzzles, and not interested in pickleball, Ali and Dennis Pitocco retired, looking
for ways to use their “time, talent, and treasure” to help others. BizCatalyst 360°, The Friendship Bench, GoodWorks.com, and other
initiatives are the result of their efforts. Their contribution to this chapter on visioneering was a no brainer.
(On retirement) we had to make decisions. How do you want to spend your time? Having been economically blessed with the sale of our UK Business, we settled into Tampa Bay with choices to be made. Akin to the dog who’s been chasing the car for years, we “caught the car” –now what do we do with it?
We were too young to do crossword puzzles, not interested in playing pickleball (at least not till they change the name).
So, we took our time, and took some long walks to decide what was most important to us, as we recognized just how blessed we were to have such choices at a relatively young age. In the end, we decided to carve our commitment into three things – giving back (not just writing a check, but investing our time, our talent, and our treasure), intentional travel (across the world before across the USA) and keeping our minds sharp.
Well, our intentional travels have been relatively nonstop for the past fifteen years (slowed only by the pandemic restrictions). By intentional, we mean traveling on purpose to where we really want to go, versus our years of business travel where our sightseeing was virtually limited to airports, taxis, and meeting rooms. And with a focus on discovering the rest of the world BEFORE discovering America.
As we’ve learned over the years, it’s amazing how we view the evening news through a different lens, having personally visited many of the countries mentioned in the context of news. Along the way, “keeping our minds sharp” took the form of launching BizCatalyst 360°, and our “giving back” commitment has
flourished as well – evolving as not only a “roll-up-your sleeves” commitment to Meals on Wheels of Tampa Bay (delivering meals, volunteering in their offices, serving on their Board as Chair) over the past decade, but the ultimate launch of GoodWorks 360° – our global nonprofit consulting foundation – in business to sustain nonprofits worldwide via pro bono advisory services –all delivered through our now-established network of circa four dozen professionals worldwide.
(Speaking of visioneering) it wasn't like there was a business plan for BizCatalyst 360° (or for that matter, GoodWorks 360°), there never has been, it just evolved day after day –driven by so many amazing connections we’ve made along the way. From a publishing perspective, we crafted it all starting with what was best for our writers and our audience –casting aside all the classic industry standards, expectations, and roadblocks hampering freedom of expression. And unlike virtually all other media operations, everything we do is “for good” versus “for profit” allowing us (along with our writers) to simply spread our collective wings in whatever direction that matters.
In recent years, our media operations have grown to the point that everything is now tucked under 360° Nation, enveloping BizCatalyst 360°, GoodWorks 360°, and 360 Nation Studios –taking our “for good” commitment into the world of live and streaming global events.
Taking a look back, we’ve had a number of “aha” moments and discoveries, all of which inspired us to simply dig deeper and reach farther to make a difference. Of the many blessings along the way are the incredible friendships around the world –borne of the size and scope of our writing community and related social media communities. And little did we realize the value of these friendships in relation to our global travels. The “norm” for us now is to add another level of planning to all our trips both domestically and internationally by exploring who we know wherever we’re going –then reaching out to connect in person.
With almost 1,000 writers on six continents, we’ve had the pleasure of migrating many of these relationships into authentic relationships. Having just crossed over our first decade of media operations, we decided that the best way to celebrate was to finally “get off the 24/7 always-on, hamster wheel” by unplugging via a three-month “digital sabbatical” commencing later this year.
Our plan is to step back, smell the roses, recharge and exhale as we rediscover each other and all else that really matters. Of all the things we do, we’ll miss our weekly Friendship Bench the most, as it has become more than just a weekly Zoom call, but rather a place where real relationships happen.
The kind of relationships that are hard to find these days, but priceless when discovered. We gave some thought to keeping the Friendship Bench going during our sabbatical, but with the benefit of more thought and invaluable advice, it became clear that much the same way you can’t learn how to swim without jumping entirely into the water –we couldn’t ex entirely.
And as we were contemplating this final decision, we happened upon a random card sitting on the counter in a local coffee shop a while back. Printed in all caps on the card? “SELF CARE ISN’T SELFISH” … As they say, the rest is history.
DENNIS & ALI are the founders of 360° Nation, encompassing a wide range of multimedia enterprises, including BizCatalyst 360° —an award winning global media digest; 360° Nation Studios —dedicated to reaching across the world in an effort to capture, produce, and deliver positive, uplifting messages via blockbuster global events, including HopeFest 360° and BucketFest 360° and; GoodWorks 360° —a pro-bono consulting foundation focused entirely on providing mission-critical advisory services to nonprofits worldwide.
Everything Dennis does is carried out "for-good "vs. "for-profit", reflecting his belief that it’s time for a renaissance of pure, unbridled wonder. Time to renew in both our hearts and in our souls more joy, more kindness, more compassion, more understanding, and that magical sense of truly belonging to something greater than the status quo. And time to bring the spirit of “humanity at its very best” back to the forefront. Dennis is also a contributing author to the Best-Selling Book Chaos to Clarity:
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