Education: BA, Amherst College
First Job: Giant Eagle Deli
What I'm Reading: The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood; How Remarkable Women Lead, by Joanna Barsch and Susie Cranston
My Philosophy: Happiness comes from three things: setting goals, caring about others, and taking responsibility for yourself.
Family: Husband, Tom; children, Will, Charlie, Alexa
Interests: Children and family, gardening, cooking, reading, yoga
Favorite Charities: Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation; St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco
Laura Shapira Karet • Giant Eagle
Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Executive Vice President2011 award winner
At Giant Eagle, Inc., our dedicated team members are the heart and soul of our company. We are committed to serving each other and our customers, shareholders and the communities in which we live. I am a firm believer in modeling the company’s expectations through serving leadership, which I have also adopted as my personal philosophy and management approach. Put simply, great leadership is the result of serving others.
Many leadership experts have defined serving leaders as being visionaries and excellent communicators with the ability to engage, develop and mentor; to reinvent and improve continuously; to value results and relationships; and lastly, to focus on others.
Companies will only achieve greatness when their entire team is successful, which means senior leaders must be focused on serving others. At Giant Eagle, our Respect for People Priority places emphasis and importance on the unique abilities and contributions of each of our Team Members. We also believe that all relationships must be based on mutual trust and respect. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to create the environment that makes this possible. Our leadership philosophy and values reflects these efforts. For example, we do what we say we will do and mean what we say; make decisions that are best for the entire team; provide ongoing job security; support Team Members’ physical, emotional, social, and financial well-being; and support Team Members’ professional development.
Throughout my career, I have also discovered that there are several important leadership principles that guide interactions with others. Examples of serving leadership include establishing and clearly communicating a mission and vision and connecting every Team Member/employee to it; developing, implementing and articulating plans to achieve collective goals; and involving Team Members in decisions that affect them. Leadership also involves seeking employees’ feedback and actively listening to their ideas, opinions, suggestions and concerns; holding them accountable for their performance by rewarding and celebrating accomplishments and allowing them to learn from their mistakes; building diverse teams and encouraging them to share their varied ideas and thoughts; and coaching for success and development.
Lastly, serving leadership often leads to a positive culture and work environment. When Team Members are happy and feel connected to one another and to their leaders, they are often more productive and positive.