More than 600+ people graced the ballroom of the beautiful Omni Grove Park Inn on Monday night, to celebrate another vibrant year of business leadership and achievement in the Asheville area. The Annual Meeting’s keynote speaker Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40, lead a salient and fun discussion on how to develop a genuinely passionate and motivated work culture, and highlighted the most important traits necessary for true leadership, such as humility, emotional intelligence, good judgement and strong values. Often, it was the exact traits that Ridge mentioned that this year’s Annual Meeting award recipients have demonstrated in their own unique positions of leadership.
During his keynote, Ridge quoted the same piece of advice from thought leader Simon Sinek several times: “Leadership isn’t about being in charge, it’s about taking care of the people in your charge.” He added that in order to help employees become the best versions of themselves, leaders need to invest in their workers and create an atmosphere of trust where employees are not afraid of making mistakes. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work,” Ridge emphasized. “If you don’t create an organization where people feel like they belong, you’ll end up with 60-70% of people not enjoying their job.”
This year, as we celebrate the Economic Develop Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County’s 25th anniversary and prepare to unveil our AVL Greater strategic foresight initiative and latest iteration of our AVL 5×5 plan, we encourage our business community to focus on Ridge’s message of collaboration, teamwork and empowering others. We also hope you will join us in celebrating the following 2019 award recipients.
Small Business Leader of the Year, presented by Ross Sloan of HomeTrust Bank
- Dr. Carly Brown of Ashewell Medical Group (15 or fewer employees)
- The Small Business Leader of the Year Awards recognize individuals who clearly reflect quality and dedication in their business who are accomplished leaders, who are innovative and who are civically responsible. Dr. Brown meets the crucial medical needs of WNC patients at an affordable rate without the need for insurance; but she provides more than a valued service, she has chosen a business model that allows for strong and supportive relationships with her patients and employees.
- Dr. Perry Stamatiades of Zoe Dental (more than 15 employees)
- Not only has Dr. Stamatiades created a business that delivers high quality dental care, he has also created an environment and culture that positively impacts his patients, employees and the community.
Volunteer of the Year, presented by Lach Zemp of Roberts & Stevens
- Michelle Rippon of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete
- Volunteer of the Year recognizes Chamber members who have given of their time and talents beyond the call of duty in volunteer efforts with the community. For over 20 years, Michelle offered her time and expertise as the Chamber’s legal counsel. She recently retired from the role. We already miss her and her dog Windsor who often tagged along with Michelle to board meetings.
Family Business of the Year, presented by Nancy Cable of UNC Asheville/ UNC Asheville Family Business Forum
- Deltec Homes
- The Family Business of the Year award recognizes a family-owned business for their contributions to the community and success as a family-owned enterprise. Deltec has been operating in Buncombe County for more than 50 years and has third and fourth generation family members in its governance structure. Of note is that Deltec has created an environment in which Steve Linton – a non-family executive – has been able to succeed for the good of the business, and the good of the family. The family owners recognized the need for someone with Steve’s values and skill set, and they were not afraid to bring in a non-family member to lead the company into its future.
Excellence in Public Service Award, presented by Joe Ward of First Bank
- David Bailey, former President and CEO of United Way of Asheville Buncombe County
- This award recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to the community through involvement, service or motivation to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Buncombe County. For more than 20 years, David has served the community through the United Way. Recently retired, David leaves a legacy of strong leadership in addressing complex issues in our community, including reducing the impact of poverty and helping families be successful.
We also want to offer our congratulations to our 2019-2020 Board of Directors, and our appreciation to board members who are completing their service. For a full list of this year’s Chamber accomplishments, see our Annual Meeting slide show.