Sit back and listen to Gina Schaefer. She is bright, witty, entertaining, and laser-sharp in her focus. Gina is determined to translate her love of people and her passion for business into determined advocacy to motivate those lucky to be mentored by her. Gina’s biography is unique and inspirational for those of us able to learn from her example. A small business owner for just eleven years, Gina is a clear success story as she and her husband have grown their chain of Ace Hardware stores to 9.
Gina “leaned forward” long before it was fashionable, parlaying her business acumen, market savvy and enthusiasm for women in business to not only be flourishing on her own, but to serve as a role model for women everywhere desiring a meaningful career in small business. In her role as a member of the Board of Directors of Ace Hardware Corporation, Gina is uniquely positioned to spread her message amongst the young, up and coming cadre of future business leaders at Ace. Don’t misunderstand me though: Gina is more than an advocate for women in business. She “gets” the importance of Main Street to the vitality and health of our economy and quality of life. On the local and national level, Gina is a tireless advocate for diversity and vibrancy in our local economies, and will share her knowledge about why shopping local makes such a huge difference.
Art Freedman has been working with our Ace Hardware retailers all over the world for the last 15 years. Art has a unique style of delivery that engages his audience immediately. Art has been an active participant in the development of our current Customer Service training and is our Helpful Expert in all of our Customer Service video training.
The response from our ENTIRE organization to Gina’s address has been overwhelming! We knew that the idea of our folks hearing about the world of hardware for Gina’s perspective would be valuable but we did not anticipate how they would react. Gina made it personal. Her personal story and her honest detail of the daily opportunities and struggles of an entrepreneur launched a sea of ideas from all of the E.A. Langenfeld and TouchPoint 360 Associates of how we can help Gina and all Ace Retailers better…Yeah!!, that’s our job and why our company exists!! Almost everyone that I spoke with directly after you and Gina left asked when she was coming back. Mission Accomplished!
As a company that firmly upholds our values, it was important for us to find a speaker for our annual Leadership Summit who would inspire our leaders by encouraging values-based behavior. Tom Knox’s presentation as our keynote speaker not only successfully accomplished what we were looking for, but also complemented our Summit in an entertaining and encouraging way. Through his presentation on value-based leadership, our leaders learned the importance of enhancing their unique leadership skills with the company’s values in order to find success. I know that Tom’s insight resonated well with our audience, and we continue use pieces of his presentation every day to support the success of our leaders and our company.
We are a general merchandise retailer as well as a manufacturer and wholesaler. Art Freedman has done several Customer Service Trainings with our entire team. Art’s real world experience, knowledge of Ace Hardware’s Customer Service techniques and presentation style has enabled our company to develop a culture of service which far outpaces our competition.
Gina quickly commanded the attention and respect of our elite independent tire dealers because she spoke with them as if she were one of them – a peer, a sister, and an entrepreneur fighting for survival. She methodically delivered a message of Tire Pros unity, of vision and of inspiration that validated our customers’ involvement in the partnership and system designed only to help them succeed.