huggers vs. haters

Earlier this week, we had the privilege of welcoming Jack Mitchell, Chairman of the Mitchell Stores, to our Spark Speakers Series. The raison d’être for this series is to hear from people who can inspire, motivate, make us reflect. Jack did all of that.

The story of his family’s retail business is an inspiration in itself—his parents started it when they were in their 50s! Of course, with a business that’s been around for 60 years, it is bound to have some pretty great stories. And Jack shared a few of them to illustrate his core philosophy of “hugging the customer”—and that goes for employees as well. The hug is a metaphor for treating people well; doing the right thing, making them feel welcomed and listened to.

The list of what constitutes a hug is LONG: a birthday wish, a thank you note, remembering someone’s child’s name and then asking about her, sending along a restaurant recommendation, inviting someone to coffee, or just picking up their favorite latte and leaving it on their desk as a surprise. There are so many ways we can offer a “hug.” We just need to make a concerted effort to do so.

Thanks Jack for inspiring us to be huggers. Sure there will be haters in plenty of places, but we’re not into that. Bring on the hugs!

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