For over 20 years, Jeremy’s family business has remained dedicated to its mission of “Creating a Better Life” for its community of approximately 18,000 residents. Now the second-generation steward of his father’s original vision, Jeremy talks to us about honoring your own leadership style, the power of a Mission, and what millennials value in a workplace. We covered the following questions/topics on our show. Enjoy!
- Sahuarita used to be not much more than ranch property and a handful of residential homes that you drove past between Tucson and Green Valley. I think the population was less than 2,000. In 1994, it incorporated in anticipation of the Rancho Sahuarita project, and today it’s a thriving town of 30,000 people. Your company, which was founded by your father, built that. You literally grew up with this project. What sense did you have that this would become such a public family legacy?
- I’ve met many second or even third generation business owners who felt that taking over the family business was an inevitability. Some of them have felt that was very natural, and some have felt that they missed an opportunity to forge their own path. You shared with me that when you were younger, you wanted to become a veterinarian. What conversations did your dad have with you about the family business? Did it feel like an inevitability that you’d work together, or did you feel that you had choices?
- Several years ago, your dad was diagnosed with brain cancer and was given four months to live. I’m happy to report that he beat the odds and today he is doing well. But at the time of the diagnosis, you not only had to be there for your dad through a very difficult illness, but you also had to quickly step up your involvement in the company. When we chatted earlier, you talked about how this tested your values. Share with us how you felt tested and what you learned from that.
- The Rancho Sahuarita Company has many key leaders who have been with you for 20 or more years. They knew you when were a child — I think you mentioned to me that your CFO actually tutored you in accounting. What kind of adjustments did all of you have to make when you became the COO? What core company values helped you all to make those adjustments?
- You’ve described your dad as a very visionary person, whereas you have a real passion for organizations and the people working in them. What have you felt responsible for upholding with respect to your dad’s style or decision-making, and in what ways do you exercise your own vision and style?
- Not unlike every other generation known to man, Millennials have been much maligned by their elders. Even as a GenXer, I am guilty of raising an incredulous and sympathetic eyebrow at the stories clients share with me about their younger employees. As an esteemed member of the GenY set, I am turning to you for a better understanding of what is now the largest living workforce. What is GenY looking for that we need to adapt to and in what ways does GenY maybe need to step it up a little?
- Your company was a finalist last year for the Copper Cactus Award for Best Place to Work, and you’ve been nominated again this year. As a Millennial, how do you think you lead people differently? In what ways do you bring a perspective and skills that make your company relevant and ready for the future?