Our company turned one last week…on Thursday, to be exact. And I’m missing all or most of the activities because I am sitting in a jurors’ assembly room at the US Federal Courthouse for the Southern District, watching my fellow jurors swap stories and work on crossword puzzles. I take this opportunity to work on my own expense report from my recent China trip and even catch up on my sleep!
Last Tuesday, one of my interns asked me what is jury duty? It is this particularly American belief that people who are accused of a criminal or civil crime should have the option to be “judged” by their peers. Apparently this option is very rare in other countries and, indeed an “unusual” concept, even for young American citizens. Most countries have government appointed judges (We do vote for some of them) but the idea of ordinary citizens determining guilt for crimes committed is relatively different.
As of last Wednesday, when I was summoned to be interviewed for federal grand jury, I had the scare of my entrepreneurial life. Federal grand jury could involve sitting on a jury to determine if there is enough evidence and cause for a trial for up to two days a week for up to 18 months. This is practically imprisonment for an entrepreneur in charge of international sales – I thought my business would be lost as my grandfather’s was lost when he was conscripted to join the US Army in the 1940s. So I tossed and turned all weekend long – couldn’t sleep – and sent lots of emails to my partners, assistants, interns and colleagues.
Why did I think this is so important to post this week on our website? Because the story of being in America involves both the opportunity to be an entrepreneur and to serve on jury trial. Because anything can and will happen to new companies and we have been through a lot this year. But surprisingly, as I contemplated my future, I reflected that a year ago, we would have been out of business or postponed from becoming a business. But instead, today, in the jury assembly room, I have this great feeling that the company is going to survive – no, it is going to thrive, because the company has grown from being just me and a partner to many partners, many associates (in different parts of the world) and many interns.. all with their own vision of our company, a truly collective vision moving forward, focusing on providing truths and helping others.
So I am celebrating this day on jury duty by recognizing my friends on the team- my work family – Jennifer, Sammy, Lloyd, Ida, Sondra, Jane, Hundred, Zhen, Amy, Kostas, Jun-wan, Andrew, Sherry, Yumi, Chris, Keith, Tina, Mike, Cynthia, Lipeng, Ying, Wenjing, Jamie, Peter, Samantha, Roxy, Shan, Susan, Christopher, Brittany, Jennifer, Jeff, Rosemarie, Ed, Jon, Viygan, Ray, Frank, Larry,Peter, Ting Barbara, Ronnie,Yenly. I know that I am not mentioning all the people who have helped us along the way but it would take pages and pages more, so I thank them and all of you team members from the bottom of my heart. Because to a small company, a one year birthday is a great thing! And I look forward to celebrating our 5th, 10th, and 20th anniversaries in the future! Thank you all for joining me in our vision and for being with us this week.
Founder & CEO, Intro America
PS. After Betty wrote this blog, she was selected for a criminal trial, sworn in, went through the interviewing process (called a “voir dire”), and then was “struck” (dropped out of the jury pool for the case) by preliminary challenge by one or more of the lawyers and was “freed” from jury duty. She will not have to serve in any court in the US for the next four years.