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The Kind That Binds

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  • | 11:00 a.m. July 7, 2017
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Many people spend more time at work than at home.

That point was raised at the first Goodwill Manasota Kindness at Work speaker series event held June 23. All that time at work means kindness, when there, is key.

Panelists at the event — Laura Hobart and Jenny Craig, owner-operators of area Culver's restaurants; Publix spokesman Brian West; and Sondra Guffey, marketing manager of Sarasota County's master-planned West Villages community — shared with attendees how their companies express kindness. There are two more kindness lunches scheduled for later this summer.

Hobart says giving back to the community is important for her restaurant. “Showing we care about those in the community brings business back,” she says.

On a day-to-day basis, her team uses a crew app to communicate. Hobart also uses the app to post quotes and encouraging words for her team. “We're really a family,” she says. “If one of us is down, we're going to pick them up.”

Craig says it helps, too, that they can cheer up team members with the restaurant's frozen custard. Says Craig: “When your team members are happy, they do a better job for you.”

Another crucial aspect of kindness at work? Displaying kindness to customers. “We tell our team their smile is the most important part of their uniform,” Hobart says.

Guffey told attendees kindness begins within. “It starts with self-talk,” she says. “If we talk to ourselves in a bad way, it colors the rest of our interactions.”

West, media and community relations manager for Publix's Central, Western and Southwest Florida markets, says the grocery giant looks specifically for people with a servant's heart when hiring new employees. “Publix is known for customer service, and that's intertwined with kindness,” he says.

That focus on customer service originated with the company's late founder. Says West: “George Jenkins believed we should treat our customers like kings and queens.”


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