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By Karen L. Edwards, RT3 Director.
Leading a team or a company can be a challenge during normal times, let alone during the coronavirus pandemic. RT3 member Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing in Orange County, Calif., shared while a panelist on a recent RT3 webinar that when the craziness of the virus started, he was scared — then he remembered to lead.
Leading your teams purposefully
“When this started, we were all a little bit like deer in the headlights,” Antis said. “I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I was looking for guidance from my industry associations and I came onto the first RT3 webinar at the end of March, and I listened to everyone. I heard Ken Kelly from Kelly Roofing and Steve Little from KPost Roofing and Waterproofing, who reminded me of what we are supposed to do as leaders."
“We have an obligation to be the ballast on the ship for our teams. We’ve been through tough times before and it is our job as leaders to be still in the moment and remind our teams that we are going to have answers,” shared Antis. The leader sets the tone and the culture for the company. “It is critical that you, as a leader of your company, find a way, even though you may wake up in fear at times, to remind yourself that we’ve been through stuff before and to put your people first,” said Antis. “My job as founder and CEO is that when there is another news announcement, I can pause, regroup and reach out to my people to ensure them we have the right solution at the moment. And that we are going to okay.”
Giving hope through giving back
The roofing industry is a giving industry. There are stories in the news every day of roofing contractors who donate roofs and help those in their communities who are less fortunate. Antis Roofing & Waterproofing is a big believer in the power of giving back.
“Giving back awakens you and your people to hope. There is something special that occurs in your company when you come together to do good,” said Antis.
His company donates roofs for all of the Habitat for Humanity projects and has adopted its local Ronald McDonald House to meet their roofing needs and more. Wondering about their community needs during this crisis and how they could help, Antis learned of two areas. The first was the fact that the shutdowns left a lot of people food insecure. They raised their hand and asked how they could help. The company volunteered their people and trucks to deliver meals to those who were food insecure, including the elderly.
“When we showed up to deliver those meals to elderly people and drove as part of this truck brigade, I wanted to hug every truck in line and when we delivered the boxes, they were so appreciative! They just kept saying ‘bless you, bless you’ over and over again,” explained Antis. “And my experience in life is, that when that happens, we’re blessed!”
The second need that he discovered was the shortage of donated blood that the American Red Cross was facing. Antis said that he tries to support causes that are meaningful to his team members. One member of the Antis team serves on the board of directors at the Red Cross and made Antis aware of the need. He turned a 6,000 square-foot-building on his company’s campus into a sanitized space that was large enough to host a blood drive in compliance with social distancing guidelines. His team members volunteered and donated blood during the drive. It was so successful that he is planning more.
“This shows our value in the community," Antis said. "The stories that are created out of that are beautiful stories. It benefits the Antis brand, but it also benefits our community and our company culture. When your people are aligned with you, they will give that extra effort to help.”