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Chris LoCurto

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July 8, 2011

Leadership Spotlight: Teresa Duke

The Leadership Spotlight continues this week with Teresa Duke. Teresa’s first job in the business world was as the assistant to the industrial engineering manager at  Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

Four years later she left Firestone to start a family.  She felt that her calling at that time was to raise her children, and she was privileged to be a stay-at-home mom for several years to four amazing, but very different, kids.  It’s incredible how much you learn about leadership from raising children!

Teresa went back to work when her youngest started kindergarten. A few years later she was hired on at Dave Ramsey‘s organization.  She was my first team member in the Live Events department, working with churches to bring groups to the events. As we built a sales team together, Teresa quickly became the sales team leader.

Ten years later she’s still in the same position, even though it has evolved quite a bit.  Her team works with churches, business and even family groups by offering them discounted rates to the events.

CLo: Hey T, what is your role in leadership?

TD: I am the team leader for group sales in the Live Events Department.

CLo: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?

TD: The best advice I ever received about leadership is that true leadership is about growing and serving those we lead.

CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

TD: I think the biggest challenge facing leaders today is finding quality people.  There seems to be this huge gulf between the many people who are unemployed and employers looking for the right people to fill the roles they need. Just this week a good friend told me her husband was thinking about selling his business because he cannot find quality people to work there.  This makes no sense to me since so many people are out of work; but I hear it over and over again from leaders in various organizations.

CLo: How do you continue to improve yourself as a leader?

TD: I continue to improve myself as a leader by reading books on leadership and business, and implementing as many of the principles as possible.  I’m a big fan of Success magazine.  I read it read it cover to cover every month.  I also listen to self-improvement CDs on my way to work each morning.

CLo: How do you invest in others?

TD: One of the ways, I invest in my assistant by making sure she knows she is appreciated.  I say “thank you” several times a day and “good job” often.  We are a team and she is a big part of every success that we enjoy.  I try to make sure she knows that.  I believe that the more people feel they are appreciated the harder they want to work and the better they become.

I’m really big on family, so I invest in my grown children by listening, counseling and praying for their problems and concerns, hanging out with them some on the weekends and taking them on family vacations so we can spend quality time together. My husband and I attend the grandchildren’s games, plays, etc.,  and give them a dollar for every book they read to encourage reading.  We like to surprise them with gifts now and then too.

I invest in those less fortunate by giving to my church regularly and to organizations that help those in need like World Vision.

CLo: What was the last book you read?

TD:  I am currently reading  The Big Little Things by Todd Peters.

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  • Deborah Ashley

    This week we celebrate Teresa’s 10th Lampoversary which means she has been serving at Lampo for ten solid years!

    Teresa has a heart to see both individuals and groups become debt free. She knows how to reach out and has a pleasant personality – whether on the phone or in person.

    Her lifestyle makes it evident that she is a committed follower of Christ. She is compassionate and caring. Teresa is selfless and puts others before herself.

    If you know Teresa, will you honor her by sharing your thoughts?

  • http://lgthaxton.wordpress.com Louise Thaxton

    Thanks, Teresa and Chris, for a great interview! I appreciate what Teresa says about finding “….quality people…” I also find it sad/strange/weird that with so many people out of work – that as leaders/employers we can’t find quality people to hire.

    If more people invested in THEMSELVES, as Teresa said she did (, reading success stories, listening to motivational material) and then investing in OTHERS (giving back to her assistant, family, church and her community), the result would be more “quality” people in the world – and more for us to hire.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I couldn’t agree more. We have to get out of the entitlement mentality.

  • Em

    Teresa definitely does an incredible job investing in people. She has been a wonderful leader and friend to me for many years!

    • Teresa Duke

      You’re always so sweet, Em!

  • http://joelfortner.wordpress.com Joel Fortner

    Solid, classic leadership advice! Thanks, Teresa and Chris! Regarding reading, MaryBeth said you’d be broke if she was your grandchild!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Yeah, kids books are easy for MB. Oooooh, burn! :-D

    • Teresa Duke

      Thank you Joel! We sure do miss MaryBeth around here! Ya’ll come around soon.