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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
Art Freedman has brought a new way of thinking to our retailers in Ireland. The education Art has brought to our conferences from his “real world” experiences and his passionate presentation works very well in our country. Art’s energy has a way of not only inspiring the participants but also mobilizing them to ACT when they return to their business. When it comes to Customer Service, no one in the world I know of can present this message in a way that everyone can understand. When the participants leave, they have the confidence and knowledge, along with the inspiration to execute what they have learned