Bestselling author John C. Maxwell once said, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
Positive attitudes were abundant recently when Amber and CC Sabathia hosted the PitCCh In Foundation charity golf tournament presented by Kaulig Companies at the Alpine Country Club in Demarest, NJ. With the support of CC’s mother, Margie Sabathia-Lanier, and a team of professional staff and volunteers, the foundation showcases three signature programs that provide young people with the tools to be successful in school and on the field: All-Star Baseball Clinic, Youth Backpack Program, and Field Renovations. It’s all about providing young people with the belief in their abilities and to make their dreams become a reality.
The down-to-earth power couple (Amber’s an agent with Creative Artists Agency; C.C.’s a World Series champion and Cy Young Award winner) founded their foundation in 2008 to enrich the lives in inner city youth by raising their self-esteem through educational and athletic activities while they’re also raising their four kids. Now, in the next stage of their careers, we talked about venture into something new when you don’t know what you don’t know — yet.
“We know we don’t know everything, so keep putting yourself in these positions where you learn and you get with smart people,” said Amber. “I don’t know everything, but I need to be with an agency that does.”
As for the retired Yankees pitcher, he co-hosts a podcast, R2C2, with Ryan Ruocco, play-by-play announcer for the NBA and WNBA on ESPN, the Yankees and Nets on YES Network, and boxing for DAZN.
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“Right away, I got a chance to learn from Ryan just seeing how prepared he is. It allows me to kick back, him being so prepared allows me to flow and do my thing and let him steer the conversation and he just tells me what I need to. Ryan’s the professional [sportscaster] and I’m the athlete. We have a lot of stuff in common that like our sports teams — we have chemistry that makes it fun.”
In addition to flexing new skills, whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. Mindset, after all, is everything especially when we it comes to pressure on the mound.
Amber said, “He goes out there thinking, ‘I’m going to throw a no-hitter every time.’”
CC added, “Even in the middle of the game when I’m giving up the lot of runs, I’m always one pitch away from getting back on track. That was always my attitude on the field.”
A similar positive visionary outlook could be said of the event’s sponsor, Kaulig Companies, based in Hudson, Ohio — less than 30 miles away from the launch of Sabathia’s major league baseball career with the Cleveland Indians.
Matt Kaulig, executive chairman and owner of Kaulig Companies, ensures his office lobby plays techno music as an upbeat alternative to elevator music. “You have to have a certain energy! I want to walk around and be happy and work that people that are happy.”
In fact, Kaulig has worn the same two wristbands for the past 10 years. One reads, “Be positive, no negativity allowed.” The other one reads, “TNT.”
“It stands for ‘today not tomorrow.’ Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. If we’re selling, sell the customer today, not tomorrow — not ‘I’ll call you back next week.’ Let’s do it today.”
That’s been his mindset for quite some time. Since 2005, he started working with Leaf Filter gutter protection. “I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread that’s ever been invented! I honestly felt that way and you don’t come across products or things that you’re really excited about. It’s gutter screens, but if we’re talking business you’re looking for something that you can market and sell and install easily.”
For the first two years, he sold every job. “I was the administrative assistant, the project manager, I had to learn how to do accounting…you just learn. It’s almost like trial by fire. You just start. There’s no good time to start anything — just do it and then you figure it out.”
This, in turn, lent to his philosophy instilled in his businesses which have grown and expanded such as Leaf Home, Leaf Home safety solutions, Leaf Home enhancements, and Leaf Home water solutions. Kaulig is also the owner of Kaulig Racing, a professional stock car racing team that competes in the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series. The family office operates across a spectrum of businesses including sports, media, technology, and financial services.
“Either you continue to grow or you begin to die,” said Kaulig. “You have to keep growing and getting better or you start to die. You can’t stay the same.”
Philanthropy, with a focus on children and families, is also a cornerstone of Kaulig Companies. The more his companies continue to succeed, the more he gives back. Through the Kaulig Companies Charitable Giving Programs known as Kaulig Giving, the organization aims to support the well-being of children and families and develop partnerships with like-minded nonprofits in Northeast Ohio and beyond. This year, Kaulig Giving has given to over 100 501(c)(3) nonprofits.
“A big business philosophy that I have is the more you make, the more you give,” said Kaulig. “The more money that we make, the more we give back to charity. It’s extremely important to give back. We continue to grow and create jobs and want to do good for the economy and also for our employees.”