Servant Leadership: Build Your People to Build Your Profits

What’s the winning formula for a company that has five of its top officers employed there for 19 years or more?

(PRWEB) July 11, 2005 -- Ask Jo Ann Ridge, Vice President of the e-Commerce Group for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc.,, a 24-year old international career marketing firm headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, who recently celebrated her 19th year with this organization. Put people over profits.

“There are five key ingredients to building a company and its people,” Ridge notes from her Louisville, Kentucky regional office, which is a sprint from Churchill Downs, the premier Thoroughbred racetrack known as the Home of the Kentucky Derby:

* Be real, genuine, and transparent.

* Be clear in your mission and purpose.

* Be consistent in quality service, character, and integrity.

* Be a great listener and prove you care through your attentiveness.

* Be calm, mentally focused, self-disciplined, in control of emotions and ego.

Ridge, an avid horse lover, believes that building a company or even a division begins with a genuine caring about the needs of its people and its customers. “A horse gallops with its lungs, perseveres with its heart, and wins with its character.”

“The race to surpass your competition is won at the starting gate not at the finish line, “says Ridge, “You need purpose, persistence and a strong pastoral passion to really want to help people. That in turn, unleashes drive to those you serve, whether clients or staff, to extend past their comfort zone and exceed their potential,” she adds.

Ridge’s business credo is the soul tattoo that has always marked her success. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Listening-with-intent breaks down barriers and cements trust,” she says.

Her business and personal philosophy has been the front-runner to her success. She shares the team building vision of “The Servant Leader” author Ken Blanchard who states, “Leadership is first a matter of the heart. Whenever we have an opportunity or responsibility to influence the thinking and behavior of others, the first choice we are called to make is whether to see the moment through the eyes of self-interest or for the benefit of those we are leading.”

This native Kentuckian’s career mimics many of the clients she serves. After expressing a desire to “do something different” she left a promising real estate career and joined R.L. Stevens & Associates at the prompting of a friend. Her aspiration to succeed and ease in communicating with a variety of people led to a quick rise from an administrative assistant role to marketing leadership in less than eight months.

Ridge, the optimist’s optimist, swiftly dispelled the belief that a newbie couldn’t succeed at marketing without experience. Her verve upped the stakes by refusing to allow any fear of failure to stop the momentum. “I thrive on a good challenge. Yeah, I know I was considered a “long shot,” but within one month in my marketing position, I broke all performance records for the entire company, a feat that even surprised me,” she quipped.

Talk about a horse bent on winning a race with unheard of velocity, this filly did just that. A natural ability to motivate, a strong servant leadership philosophy which relinquished all self-agendas, and a muscular belief that puts people before profits all resulted in rapid promotions. Ridge advanced steadily to management roles including training and development, human resources and to her current position heading up the e-Commerce Group, the fastest growing unit in the company.

This champion’s vitality and heart has been an important catalyst for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc, becoming an industry powerhouse for career marketing services for mid-to-senior level professionals.
No stopping her now, she’s got 19 years of beating the odds behind her, and a whole lot of racetrack ahead of her. And she’s lovin’ every minute of it.

About R.L. Stevens:
For over 24 years R.L. Stevens & Associates has been the Nation’s most successful privately-held firm, specializing in executive career searches generating quality interviews through both advertised and unadvertised channels. For more information, please visit our website:

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