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Rise by helping others

Law #7
Rise by helping others.
“In every environment,
be a mentor.”
Guy Martin
President, Martin-Harris Construction
Lifetime Achievement Award winner
Nick Mattingly
CEO, Switcher Studio
SB 2776 | Chair: Tony Schy
Vistage member since 2019
Impact Award

Since 2014, Nick Mattingly has led Switcher Studio to launch partner status with Facebook Live, LinkedIn Live, and Microsoft Stream. They saw a 300%+ increase in subscribers in the first half of 2020 as more businesses went virtual. “If you take care of your team, they’re going to take care of the customer. That makes good things happen,” Nick says, prioritizing company culture for a distributed team from day one.

Nick’s tips for young leaders:

  1. Network like crazy. Those relationships will take you places.
  2. Make serving customers a top priority. Be quick, personal and strategic.
  3. Build your team. Attract good talent, get them excited and take care of them.
  4. Resist “quick and dirty” success shortcuts.
Guy Martin
Las Vegas
President, Martin-Harris Construction
CE 4107 | Chair: Tonya Twitchell
Vistage member since 2002
Lifetime Achievement Award

“As a leader, you do nothing alone — whose future Lifetime Achievement Award are YOU contributing to?” Guy Martin joined MHC as a laborer in 1982. Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy now runs the business, nurturing a renowned culture that at its core, is all about family.

Purchased by a holding company five years ago, all of the Martin-Harris associates trusted the leadership of the company and remained through the transition and beyond.

Guy’s tips for inspiring such loyalty:

  1. Be kind first, at all costs.
  2. Cause no suffering.
  3. Constantly display a willingness to be wrong.
  4. In every environment, be a mentor.
  5. Hustle until your haters ask if you are hiring.
  6. Work so humbly you don’t have to introduce yourself.
  7. Inspire others to achieve — every day.
Kendra Aucker
S. Central PA
President & CEO, Evangelical Community Hospital
CE 5755 | Chair: Dave Meehan
Vistage member since 2018
Leadership Award

In Kendra Aucker’s first year as CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital, she personally met with 2,000 staff members. “You can’t do the job well if you don’t focus on the people,” she says, her strategy’s success demonstrated in impressive employee engagement numbers.

Instituting such programs as “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” Kendra broke down barriers to build a happier team, in turn leading to happier patients.

Her tips for similar success:

  1. Offer job shadowing across departments and ranks.
  2. Have zero tolerance for negativity/bullying.
  3. Build a culture of trust. Eliminate those who undermine it.
  4. Effect change by focusing on your impact on the world.
  5. Understand and commit yourself to your people.
Julie Stewart
Orange County
CEO & Owner, Sportsheets International
SB 390 | Chair: Beth Adkisson
Vistage member since 2014
Leadership Award

Stalled by COVID-19 amid her best quarter to date, Julie Stewart pivoted to save her team and business, redirecting her existing company to manufacture face masks and simultaneously launching JaneCare, Inc., a care package provider that sources 80% of products from women-owned vendors.

“It wasn’t all sunshine and roses,” Julie recalls of launching the new business. “It was stressful. But I heard from the team, ‘It’s really great to be part of something positive right now.’”

Julie’s tips for bold leadership:

  1. Take a pause before you react.
  2. Worry less about what other people think.
  3. Trust your gut when it comes to red flags.
  4. Combat stress by thinking less about yourself, and doing good for others.
Lloyd Lewis
President & CEO, arc Thrift Stores
CE 4885 | Chair: Rex Wiederspahn
Vistage member since 2007
Lifetime Achievement Award

Since assuming leadership of arc Thrift Stores, Lloyd Lewis has more than tripled revenue and increased EBITDA seven-fold, with a record 15 consecutive years of growth. Key to his success, is that Lloyd believes in his people.

Lloyd’s tips to empower your team:

  1. Don’t micro-manage. Gather the team, outline the problem, give them space to create the solution.
  2. Practice what you preach. arc Thrift’s mission is to fund programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A
    third of its employees have such disabilities.
  3. Hire those who align to your belief system and look beyond the paycheck.

A University of Denver study found arc Thrift
to have a $2.5B positive impact on the state of
Colorado during Lloyd’s tenure.

Nigel Lobo
San Diego
Chief Operating Officer, Grand Pacific Resorts
CE 3880 | Chair: Dale Robinette
Vistage member since 2013
Leadership Award

“You have to have a strategy and a keen eye on profitability,” Nigel Lobo says, “however, culture is the glue that holds it together and helps it blossom.” With a team energized by a Core Purpose and BE EPIC values, Grand Pacific Resorts has been successful even through COVID-19.

“The biggest learning has been the importance of building and nurturing a sustainable culture,” Nigel explains. After setting a Core Purpose of “enriching lives by creating experiences worth sharing,” Grand Pacific created “BE EPIC,” six values that represent the DNA of the team, on and off the job.

Grand Pacific’s BE EPIC values:

  1. Balance
  2. Empowerment
  3. Enthusiasm
  4. Passion
  5. Integrity
  6. Consistency
Chris Todd
President, Pride & Service Elevator
CE 3824 | Chair: Roger Miller
Vistage member since 2018
Impact Award

If all were involved in the hard work, and in the reward at the end of the day… what kind of power would it have? Chris Todd imagined the possibility and made it a reality when he transitioned his company to an ESOP in 2019.

On his people-first approach that’s propelled Pride & Service Elevator from a team of three to 105, Chris shares, “The most significant lesson I’ve learned is really to be humble, and realize it is not all about you… In many cases, if you talk to your employees or customers, they have the answers you’re looking for.”

Chris’ other leadership tips:

  1. Check your ego at the door.
  2. Realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  3. Make time for self-preservation.
  4. Be authentic. Don’t put on a show.
David Voronin
Founder & CEO, MigWay, Inc.
CE 4675 | Chair: Bob James
Vistage member since 2017
Impact Award

David Voronin started his company at 23 years old, with one truck and one driver. After finding a niche, he has grown MigWay to 130 trucks, 165 employees, a spot on the Inc. 5000 — and a record-breaking 2020.

“By being honest and upfront in sharing your vision, you find a lot of people who want to join you on the journey,” David says, his family-like culture attracting loyal, best-in-class employees with minimal turnover.

David’s team-first CEO tips:

  1. Care personally about your people.
  2. Speak from the heart.
  3. Use your life experience to inform judgment calls.
  4. At its core, your company should be about more than profit.
  5. When it comes to communication, be up front, genuine and spontaneous.
Andrew Campbell
CEO & Founder, Quintessa Aesthetic Centers
CE 4963 | Chair: Liza LeClaire
Vistage member since 2017
Impact Award

Internationally renowned surgeon, Dr. Andrew Campbell, expanded Quintessa Aesthetic Center by taking a hard look at leadership and making culture priority one. “We’ve become something much bigger than just me,” Andrew says. His goal is to help other surgeons be part of a well-run business that will improve both their professional and personal lives.

Andrew’s tips:

  1. Hire, fire, reprimand and reward based on three culture points: Passion, relationship, teamwork.
  2. Remove the divide between leadership and everyone else to build camaraderie.
  3. A team is a group of people holding each other accountable. [From a Vistage speaker, Eric Coryell.]
  4. Be aware of your weaknesses. Bring people in who are a complement.
  5. Humility is key.
Russell “Rusty” Robinson
Founder & Chairman, Titan Manufacturing & Distributing, Inc.
CE 4139 | Chair: Bently Goodwin
Vistage member since 2014
Leadership Award

“A single decision has the power to be life changing,” says Rusty Robinson. Starting Titan in his garage, Rusty has led the business from $0 to $100M+ in just 10 years.

Built on offering products with more features than the competition, at prices based on value, not just what the market will bear, Titan continues to soar — with Rusty’s leadership evolving on pace. “The human being I was at the start, was not who I knew I was going to need to be as the business grew,” he shares.

Rusty’s success tips:

  1. Love your customer more than you love your product.
  2. Give consumers the opportunity to buy the product they want, at a fair price.
  3. Learn what customers are looking for, and develop a plan to do it better.
Kiel Penrod
Business Partner, Cooper Controls
SB 2373 | Chair: Amelya Stevenson
Vistage member since 2018
Impact Award

“Our vision is, ‘Love People by Serving Others,’” says Kiel Penrod. “Our passion for people far outweighs our desire for financial gain.” Soon to expand internationally, Kiel’s team operates with a core value of compassion in every interaction.

Kiel explains, understanding the human “why” of an outcome, “allows you to stop, maneuver and change direction — without getting stuck.” When practiced among your team, it naturally extends to treatment of customers.

Kiel’s other people-first tips:

  1. Only fear yourself. There’s nobody else who has control over your decisions.
  2. Remember to put others ahead of yourself.
  3. There is not just one way to solve a problem.
  4. Plan all you can, but be ready to maneuver.
George Osterhout
President, Orion Industries
SB 02202 | Chair: Scott Seagren
Vistage member since 2010
Lifetime Achievement Award

“With our employees being our best asset, I choose to manage by footsteps,” says George Osterhout. George walks his entire plant daily to not only ensure operations are running smoothly, but that his people are happy and they are working together. His Chair explains, “When you walk the factory floor with George, he knows everyone by name and they all have great respect for him.”

George’s proven leadership tips:

  1. Treat your team with respect, dignity and a listening ear.
  2. Don’t work fast and dirty. Work fast and correct.
  3. Leverage the support and insights of your Vistage group.
  4. Use the 3-foot rule. The smartest people in the building are those within three feet of the process.
  5. Invest in training so your team can do its work better. Give them ownership over the company’s success.
Mike Cohen
Executive Chairman, Myoderm
CE 341 | Chair: Carol Steinberg
Vistage member since 2011
Leadership Award

For 19 years, Mike Cohen has steered Myoderm to unprecedented success. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, a time when “planning doesn’t exist,” Mike found an ultimate test of his team’s ability to read and react. He made it a mission to open lines of communication, with the reassurance, “everything you are feeling is real and normal.” It’s a humble approach that defines his decades of leadership.

Mike’s advice for longevity as a leader:

  1. Make your family a priority.
  2. You don’t have to have all the right answers yourself.
  3. Be willing to take calculated risks, even if you don’t have all the data.
  4. You aren’t going to win all the time. When you don’t, fix what you can and move on.
Brian Fitzgerald
President, Easterseals New Jersey
CE 3965 | Chair: Roger Miller
Vistage member since 1993
Lifetime Achievement Award

Brian Fitzgerald has led Easterseals New Jersey’s growth from $16M to $105M, with nearly 5,000 individuals served annually. Believing “everyone deserves a chance to reach their full potential,” Brian is an inspiration to his team, his Vistage group and the community.

A Vietnam veteran born and raised in New York City, Brian began his career at Easterseals as an intern. In echo of his climb up the ladder, he advises young leaders to “walk in the other guy’s shoes” when making a decision.

Brian’s other success tips:

  1. Delegate authority to solve an issue to those impacted by it.
  2. Be motivated by the difference you make in others’ lives.
  3. Get your team on board with your mission, to give their work purpose.
Rob Lynch
San Francisco/Silicon Valley
CEO, Dome Construction
CE 85 | Chair: Bill Kern
Vistage member since 2011
Lifetime Achievement Award

“Lead with your values,” says 30-year Bay Area construction industry veteran, Rob Lynch. “Give your team what it needs, and get out of the way.” A Dome Construction leader for more than two decades, Rob believes the company’s success is built from a generations-old foundation of trust and transparency.

The three core values Rob stands by:

  1. Value your people — they’re your most important asset. Promote individual growth through education, respect, recognition, encouragement and support.
  2. Seek to understand. Build and maintain relationships that endure by surpassing expectations.
  3. Do it right: Commit to quality by empowering yourself with knowledge. Claim ownership with confidence and integrity.
Christina Vela
Las Vegas
CEO, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
CE 04824 | Chair: Angelina Galindo
Vistage member since 2018
Impact Award

A “brilliant force for good on the planet,” Christina Vela is unwavering in her resolve to transform the lives of abused and at-risk children. Inspired by the triumphs of those she serves, she explains, “If they can do it, then I certainly can do it.”

Christina’s advice:

  1. Believe you can make a difference, one person at a time.
  2. Nonprofit” does not mean “for loss.”
  3. How we do the work is as important as what we say we will do.
  4. Self-care for caregivers is critical.
  5. Don’t give yourself an easy out.

Under Christina’s leadership, St. Jude’s Ranch is thriving. She is currently leading the charge to build a 15-acre healing facility for victims of sex trafficking — the first of its kind in the U.S.

Jason Thomas
CEO, Intigral, Inc.
CE 5113 | Chair: Dan Nitowsky
Vistage member since 2020
Impact Award

Jason Thomas has persevered through the pandemic to acquire one of his top competitors, growing his team from 260 to 400+ and gaining significant market share.

Known to Vistage peers as “the first person to volunteer to help,” Jason’s humility is a reflection of a mentor’s early influence in his career. “I was very decisive — a nice way to say I was very cut-throat,” Jason shares of his younger self, his lesson learned hard work isn’t good work if you’re not being authentic.

Jason’s other tips:

  1. Confer with your team on decisions. Don’t let someone far-removed make the call.
  2. Hire people better at their roles than you could ever be. Give them tools to succeed.
  3. Provide the vision. Don’t dictate how to get there.
In their own words
If I could ask one question of other leaders, it would be...
“What’s the most impactful lesson you’ve learned so far in life?”
Russell “Rusty” Robinson
Founder & Chairman, Titan Manufacturing & Distributing, Inc.
Leadership Award
“What is the one thing you do on a consistent basis that helps promote the culture your company strives for?”
Denny Hammack
CEO, Patterson Pope, Inc.
Leadership Award
“What piece of technology have you embraced over the last six months that’s helped you personally or with your business?”
Kirt Gilliland
Owner, Gilliland Construction Management
Impact Award
“How did you retire so easily?”
Linda McCauley
Dean, Emory School of Nursing
Leadership Award
“What has given you the greatest joy or satisfaction in your business?”
Donna Herrick
Owner & CEO, Divots
Lifetime Achievement Award

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Rise by helping others