An Uplifting Chairlift

You never know when you’re going to have the opportunity to touch a life.

It can happen when you least expect it. It happened to me last week—after a single conversation with a stranger.

During a day of skiing with my wife, I shared a chairlift to the top of the slope with a young family of three from California. During the brief ride, we introduced ourselves and talked about my happiness and the fulfillment I found through my work and in my life.

A day later, the woman tracked me down through this blog.

“Thanks to Google and good visual memory, I found you,” she wrote. 

“Once I read your blog and background information about Barry-Wehmiller and people-centric leadership, it absolutely excited me. We discuss this topic a lot in our family, since we are fortunate to experience this ourselves. However, it’s more of a rarity than a norm that people enjoy their work, environment they work in, team members surrounding them, and  being a part of a bigger purpose. Where are the companies that value managers who stand up for their employees and care about them, who you can trust with any issues, who are truly interested in your success not just theirs. How many companies are out there where people are valued as much as the dollar amounts those companies post?”

It turns out that she works for a company in the lucrative and desirable Silicon Valley area, where she sees lots of people disenfranchised with their work.

“There are many successful [business leaders] here inHow many companies are out there where people are valued? Click To Tweet the Bay Area but they are not necessarily focused on people values within their organizations. When you talk to their employees you hear the dread they experience going to work every day. Even those in upper management don’t exhibit any loyalty or trust towards their employer or employees; everybody is just a resource, everybody is expendable and replaceable. People are in a constant fear of losing their jobs, not being able to support their family, not being good enough. 

“It is really astonishing to see the rat race where people are selling their souls at the expense of their happiness, family and health. But how many are brave enough to end the status quo and go in search of that better place to provide for their family? 

“I cannot agree more with your passion to help people find happiness and fulfillment in their jobs. You inspire me. I want to do and achieve more, whether it’s in the career field, personal development, upbringing children, or something else. It’s about your internal growth and feeling happy and thriving in life, living with attitude that the sky is the limit.

“My journey continues…and it’s a happy one.”

And mine as well. Her words touched my heart and inspire me to continue my journey of spreading our message about the power of Truly Human Leadership. Thank you, Iryna. May we meet again on the slopes!

Truly Human Leadership is found throughout Barry-Wehmiller Companies, where Bob Chapman is Chairman and CEO. A $2+ billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting firm, Barry-Wehmiller’s 11,000 team members are united around a common belief: we can use the power of business to build a better world. Chapman explores that idea in his Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family, available from Penguin Random House.


  • Jami Dix says:

    Isn’t that just the best?!? I also get great joy from really connecting with people. Great story!!

  • David Bragg says:

    It is so great to know that I work for a Company that truly “measures its success by the way they touch the lives of people”. Not only at work, but most importantly how are lives are changed within our selves, our spouses, children, community. Once this Culture is embraced within our heart and minds, in the work environment, we see our co-workers and Clients affected in a positive realm that beg them and others we meet, such as on a ski lift, to ask, how do you do that? How can we achieve such a ‘Culture” within our own lives. Our own work place?
    What an absolute joy to work for a Firm with real roots set in a culture that ‘changes the lives of people’, for the good of mankind.

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