From left, Beverly Edwards, Bryan Reynolds, Megan Bradford, Joan Wetzel, Jimmy Wilson, Laura Lamb, and Dan Steward are the ERS Servant Leadership Team.
Shortly after Episcopal Retirement Services President and CEO Laura Lamb advanced to her position five years ago, the organization’s Executive Team changed its name to the Servant Leadership Team.
The team made the change to emphasize that the Servant Leadership team exists to serve others in the organization – and of course, ERS residents – so everyone can do their best and be their best.
A culture of helping others
Rather than simply managing and supervising employees, the SLT aims to work alongside other team members and to assist their teams’ efforts, just as a servant would.
When Lamb suggested the name change, the entire Leadership Team was already familiar with Ken Blanchard’s book, “The Servant Leader.”
One passage of Blanchard’s book states, “Whenever we have an opportunity or responsibility to influence the thinking and the behavior of others, the first choice we are called to make is whether to see the moment through the eyes of self-interest or for the benefit of those we are leading.”
“It’s really a mindset that we want all of our constituents – our board, our residents, our staff members, our donors – to know that we are here with servant’s heart to enable and move the organization together,” Lamb said recently.
For those familiar with the Bible, the phrase Servant Leadership may bring to mind the image of Jesus washing his surprised Disciples’ feet.
“One of our board members who’s a chaplain says, ‘It’s in our DNA.’ And I believe that,” Lamb said. “It’s in our DNA to be comfortable talking about our faith and modeling it. I think that’s why we really resonated with Ken Blanchard’s work, to say that you have to approach this type of work with a servant’s heart and understand that there’s really nothing that we can’t do for one another.”
Inclusion is also ‘in our DNA’
And, despite “Episcopal” being the first word of Episcopal Retirement Services, all faiths are very welcome to live in and work for the ERS communities, services, or support office.
The organization doesn’t require religious belief and fosters Inclusion by making religious services for residents and transportation to services available for various faiths.
One of ERS’ six core values is Inclusion, along with Relationships, Integrity, Engagement, Person-Centeredness, and Progressive Thinking.
Jimmy Wilson, ERS’ vice president of Affordable Living, which provides housing for older persons with low incomes, said he was struck during his first off-site retreat as part of the SLT by how its members related to each other.
“We hung out with each other for a couple of days and really got a chance to know each other and really relate to each other, both professionally and personally,” Wilson said.
He enjoyed the refreshing banter that reminded him of sibling relationships more than that of professional peers.
ERS' SLT kinship demonstrates that everyone is devoting
a lot of energy to the organization and each other.
“It really speaks to this idea that we are servants, and we really are leaning into this ministry and wanting to exemplify that in our relationships with one another,” Wilson said.
He believes that kinship demonstrates that everyone is devoting a lot of energy to the organization and each other.
“We spend as much time in these relationships as we do with our own families. So it is affirming,” Wilson said. “It is uplifting and very much life-giving.”
Lamb said, “I would hope that all our team members approach their work as servant leaders. We’re all leaders.”
The ERS mission
Information about ERS Core Values can be found at www.episcopalretirement.com/corporate/mission.
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