Growth Strata•Gems Magazine Growth Strata•Gems Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 3

Verne Harnish is founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company, Verne has spent the past 30 years educating entrepreneurial teams. He’s the author of Scaling Up that uses approaches honed from over three decades of advising tens of thousands of CEOs and executives. their remote employees on the West Coast. In 2018, InfoTrust plans to make the Thanksgiving Basket Brigade an international initiative. The letters Yastrebenetsky receives from families who have received InfoTrust’s deliveries hang on a “giving tree” at his office. As you might imagine, they often bring tears to his eyes and those of the team. A typical letter might say, “Our daughter is on a four-hour leave from the hospital next week. She’ll be able to enjoy this meal,” he says. InfoTrust has also donated $15,000 to Paige’s Princess Foundation. This nonprofit organization makes grants to pediatric patients with lifelong disabilities and works closely with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. THE REAL BENEFICIARIES OF CHARITABLE EFFORTS Although the families greatly appreciate the support InfoTrust gives them, Yastrebenetsky realizes that he and his employees are the true beneficiaries of the company’s charitable campaigns. His employees, too, appreciate the opportunities to give. “It’s incredibly positive and motivating,” says Kaylee Kipe, marketing manager. The Basket Brigade has become a much-awaited annual tradition. “It’s one of the things people really look forward to around here, and it’s a great team- building exercise,” she says. “People consider these events to be core not just to the company but to who they are.” GETTING INSPIRED Yastrebenetsky’s inspiration for giving back came, in part, from being a long- time student of Tony Robbins. “He has always taught the importance of giving,” says Yastrebenetsky. One lesson that stayed with him: “If you won’t give a dime out of a dollar, there’s no way you’re going to give $100 million out of a billion.” I met Yastrebenetsky in 2015 when he brought his leadership team to an in- person Scaling Up training in Raleigh. In these training sessions, leaders learn how to apply the principles for growing a company that I discuss in my book Scaling Up. One topic of our discussion was personal growth. As I mentioned, if you really want to grow, you have to find ways to motivate yourself to grow beyond yourself. SCALING A GIVING PROGRAM It was an idea I later learned had resonated with Yastrebenetsky, who kept in touch. Aiming to give even more to the community, the InfoTrust team reached out to the hematology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2016 and asked how many families the hospital team would like them to support that year. “How many can you do?” the hospital asked. There were 121 families at the time, plus an additional group of households in need in the community that brought the total to 140. “We’ll take care of all of them,” Yastrebenetsky said. The company also planned to deliver another 20 baskets to families who lived near its West Coast employees. To stretch available funds, Yastrebenetsky and his team shopped at Costco. The shopping trip became an opportunity for Yastrebenetsky to explain to his four-year-old son the importance of helping those in need. The experience was so meaningful to Yastrebenetsky that during the holidays, he wrote a letter to his customers. “I explained how much we appreciate their giving us an opportunity to contribute,” he says. BUILDING A GREAT CULTURE InfoTrust’s focus on giving has contributed to an outstanding culture that is winning considerable third-party recognition. The company made it onto Inc.’s Best Places to Work for 2017 and made the Best Employers in Ohio list issued by Best Employers in Ohio. InfoTrust is one of only a handful of companies in its state certified as a Great Place to Work by the Great Place to Work Institute. Giving back has become so important to InfoTrust that Yastrebenetsky recently rewrote a one-page document on the company’s purpose. “Our purpose is not to help the enterprise sell more stuff,” says Yastrebenetsky. “This is what we do. We’re really, really good at what we do. Our purpose is to become better people in pursuit of what we do.” Becoming better people as we do our work can be challenging for all of us mere mortals, but it is well worth trying to achieve. u SPRING 2018 | 3