Gina Schaefer wowed me from the first time we met, when I interviewed her for the cover of my business magazine, http://www.BeInkandescent.com. Not only is she smart, savvy, and incredibly successful, I was particularly taken by how she cares for her employees – especially those who need a second chance. Her work with nonprofit organizations, such as Jubilee Jobs and ThinkLocalFirstDC are evidence of her determination to make a difference in the communities where her nine Ace Hardware stores are located. Equally impressive is the fact that this strong woman is making strides in a male-dominated business – which is why we tapped her to be one of the first women profiled in our 2014 Truly Amazing Women TV series. Gina’s leadership skills, can-do attitude, and success as an entrepreneur make her a powerful role model for everyone hoping to make a difference, and build a sustainable business.
From our first conversation Gina felt like an old friend; her enthusiastic personality coupled with her passion for service is not only contagious but refreshing. There’s no doubt Gina cares about her team, business and most important, the customer. Gina’s passion for community, small business and a desire to succeed allows her to successfully share her story while engaging with groups large and small. Gina was tremendous addition to our Customer Service Week celebration!
The survey results are in, and John Venhuizen is the highest rated speaker in the history of our PGA TOUR annual meetings! The unique ability that John has to combine humor, storytelling and humility into a presentation on Service Excellence is one that captured the attention of all in attendance. He seamlessly weaved the Ace Hardware concepts of Head, Heart and Hands into his session which hit home to all of our attendees. John spoke to the group in such a way that everyone felt they were having a one-on-one conversation with one of the most dynamic leaders they had ever had the chance to meet. Congratulations and many thanks for providing such a tremendous message on service and relationships to our team at the PGA TOUR.
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.
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.
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.
I personally appreciate you sharing your blueprint for how local family businesses can continue to grow and thrive in a world of big box consolidation. As you know it is a passion we both share.
Lou is the “real thing” when it comes to passionately living customer service excellence and shares that message with clarity and humor. As a small business owner, he appreciates the practical side of customer service and every theoretical concept he presents is brought to a level of reality.
We will definitely invite him back to our future conferences as a keynote.
The choice to ask Gina Schaefer to deliver the key note address at the 2015 Langenfeld Annual Meeting was a huge motivational success. Gina’s street level knowledge of the consumer, associate motivational needs and general business acumen made every theme she delivered something we could all relate to in our business. A simple focused presentation coupled with Gina’s embracing delivery style was met with a well-deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of the address.