January 27, 2017 Emily Lierle

A Meaningful Gift For An Exemplary Leader

From time to time, Y Scouts wants to highlight companies and cultures that are doing great things and operating with purpose. We also believe that great leaders develop people — so here is an incredible, heartwarming story that exemplifies just that.

A Meaningful Gift For An Outstanding Leader

It’s difficult to find gifts for David Sellers, President & CEO of LGE Design Build. But this past holiday season, his team knocked it out of the park.

Carrie Garcia, Chief Administrative Officer at LGE, has been working with David for 14 years. They started there in their twenties and, she says, “literally grew up here together.”

“Every year for the last 14 years, I struggle — and so does everyone else — trying to find David a gift for anything. That includes his wife,” Carrie said.

LGE Design Build recently started the process of defining values, setting a vision and establishing a mission statement. As Christmas approached, Carrie mulled over what to get for David with that in mind.

“One night, I had just finished reading Built On Values by Ann Rhoades, and this idea came to my mind: I should make a massive photo picture and put on there why everyone in the office thinks David is an amazing leader.”

Fast-forward a few days after that, and an employee came to me and said, “OK, we’ve got to figure out what to do for David.” I told her my idea, and she was ecstatic.

FullSizeRender 4She walked around to every single employee in the company and asked, “Why do you think David is a good leader?” Then, each employee wrote down their answer.

Carrie typed up everyone’s quote — and from there, the team collaboration continued.

“Our rendering guy along with our photographer — we all joined forces and designed a graphic that included every single quote as to why all his employees think he’s a good leader,” she added.

Carrie had it professionally printed on a steel mount, and then LGE’s photographer (who welds on the side) crafted a custom frame for the artwork.

Presenting The Gift

Carrie met with the photographer at the LGE Design Build office two hours early one morning. It was still dark outside — but Carrie wanted to hang it on David’s wall before he came into work.

“I wrapped it after it was hung,” she said. “When David came in, I walked into his office with him and shut the door; I know him very well, and he’s a very private person who doesn’t like a lot of attention. I wanted him to have a private moment when he opened it.”

Before he opened the gift, Carrie explained to him how their current process of establishing LGE’s values resonated with her and the rest of the team. She described how important it is for leadership to tell their employees that they’re appreciated — but how we sometimes forget to let our leadership know how much we appreciate them.

“He opened it and was overwhelmed with emotion,” Carrie said. “We were both wiping away tears, and he read some of the stuff people said, and I read some. He said it was the most thoughtful gift he’s ever received.”

The board — filled with 48 different messages — hangs on the wall directly across from David’s desk. That way, if he’s facing a tough day, as Carrie puts it: “All he needs to do is look up and focus for two seconds, and he’s got four dozen reminders of how amazing he is to everybody here.”

lge design build

The Impact The Gift Has Had

Recently, David was working until midnight and was feeling overwhelmed — and he paused. He began to read the board. Immediately, his attitude changed, and the board helped “reset” him.

“He means so much more to me than just a boss,” Carrie said. “I wanted him to really understand just how amazing he is outside of what I think. I don’t think he realized I’m not the only one in the building who feels that way.”

As the LGE Design Build team moves forward with establishing their values, Carrie noted that the gift helped continue to guide their leader in that constructive direction.

“This board was really meant as a reinforcement to David that the hard work and dedication it will take to implement our values, all the time that our committee is putting into it to make our company a better place — is for something,” she said. “We care about him, and we support him. That board was something to give him the reassurance he needed to keep going down a positive path.”

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Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster.