On October 4, we were joined by leaders from the Conscious Capitalism Great Lakes Bay Region (GLBR) Chapter for a closer look at Stakeholder Orientation, the Fourth Tenet of Conscious Capitalism.
Moderated by Angie Krenz, Chapter Coordinator of the GLBR Chapter, the conversation featured GLBR Chapter Leaders, Gene Pickelman and Beth Thieme, for a discussion on how they sustain important relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders. Gene, Chair of the GLBR Chapter, is the President of Tri-Star Trust, a wealth management firm focused on making a positive impact on their clients and local communities, and Beth is the President of Amigo Mobility, a company with a mission to improve lives through mobility.
Here are the four areas where Gene and Beth dedicate their efforts to create shared wins for all.
Employees as the key to success
Gene and Beth both opened with the belief that employees are the first key to strong stakeholder relationships. As the face and stewards of their companies, ensuring their employees are supported comes first.
If there’s one thing that we as the business community can do, it’s create a great culture for people to learn, grow, and develop.Gene Pickelman
“If there’s one thing that we as the business community can do, it’s create a great culture for people to learn, grow, and develop,” Gene shared. Just one way that Tri-Star has gone about investing in their employees has been to triple their training and development budget over time, which has allowed for more meaningful opportunities for employees to advance both personally and professionally.
At Amigo, Beth shared that employee support begins very early on in each person’s career at the company, starting with individualized advancement plans that enable employees to grow within and alongside of the company: “We really work hard to put together individual development plans … so that we are focused on promoting from within, helping people grow and develop in their career.”
Active presence in their communities
Companies do not exist in a silo; they are always impacting and impacted by those in their surrounding networks and communities.
The Amigo leadership team places a strong emphasis on philanthropy and service, but they also encourage employees to foster a sense of community by building relationships with other companies in the area too. Beth encourages her teams to be active not only “from a sense of giving in a charitable way and contributing to nonprofits, but also to network with other businesses because we’re a brotherhood and a sisterhood with each other.”
Recalling a time when the importance of corporate camaraderie became abundantly clear, Beth reflected on a financially difficult time that Amigo endured 25 years ago. At the time, they made the decision to reach out to their partners to ask them to discount their invoices—and 95% of them did. Recently, one of those same companies found themselves in a similar situation and Amigo made the easy decision to return the kindness, demonstrating the power of community and care.
Focus on strategic alliances
Gene prioritizes his company’s “strategic alliances,” explaining that when his company looks to develop strong partnerships and relationships, they focus on how they can best help other organizations, in addition to how those organizations can also bring value back to Tri-Star:
“These are people that we need in order to really deliver … as we work with these folks and we have our meetings … we’re trying to have conversations about how we can improve the overall service to our clients, and how that impacts [their] business [too].”
Care for the environment
As a manufacturing company, it’s crucial that Amigo is as environmentally responsible as possible, always remaining conscious of their impact on their surroundings.
If you lift yourself up, and others along with you up, we all win.Beth Thieme
Their recycling program ensures they’re able to do their part to care for the planet. Through the program, they take back their old products, as well as those of their competitors, and ensure the materials are recycled in order to reduce unnecessary waste.
As an additional step touching back on Beth’s commitment to a sense of corporate community, when Amigo breaks down their competitors’ products for recycling, they also record and send them suggestions to help them better improve the usability of their products. While noting that this may seem crazy to some, Beth notes that, “It goes back to if you lift yourself up, and others along with you up, we all win.”
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