Speaker for July ELN Speaker Series – Darryl Haley 

Speaker for October ELN Speaker Series  – Mitch Patel

Speaker for July ELN Speaker Series  – Felix Rappaport

What are some tips you have on how to grow in the industry?

Mitch started off in traffic transportation and spent his days in a cubicle designing roads. He didn’t love his job, he felt stagnant and he didn’t care about the work he was doing.  “At the end of the day, it’s difficult to work hard at something you don’t love to do. I look for inquisitive, friendly people because passion is contagious.”

Lead with empathy

True leaders take care of employees by getting to know them and by emotionally making a connection. It’s important to make a deposit and an investment into a person by getting to know them and being engaged in who they are. Low turn-over happens when you show that your employees are valued.

Mitch mentions Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) as a leader who he takes a page from in his leadership style. Hsieh believes in compassion as being an integral part of the brand’s corporate values. He also believes in a community-like culture that focuses on work-life integration, rather than just balance.

Similarly, Mitch believes that work should be an extension of people’s lives. When people love the work that they do, it’s evident in their performance. At the same time, engaged associates have less turnover and are less likely to burnout.

Lead with passion and have shared values

People want to feel appreciated and recognized for the work that they do and the skills that they bring to the table. Leaders who lead out of fear aren’t sustainable in the long run. It’s about creating mutual respect with your employees. Employees benefit from a culture based on pride and passion, as well as shared values and a strong belief system. Positive emotions lead to better performance and customer service.

“Company leaders must help their employees achieve their goals – they need to enable employees to do their best. The trick is to find your passion and love what you do. That sets the tone for how employees think and feel about their work” - Mitch Patel

Another idol that Mitch looks up to is Warren Buffet, otherwise known as one of the most successful investors of all time.  Mitch admits that one of his favorite quotes to recite to others is Buffet’s famous mantra, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”. Mitch likes to put his own spin on the iconic phrase by replacing ‘greedy’ with ‘opportunistic’. He attributes his mindset on success as always looking for the next opportunity but also warns to be cautious when going into a new venture.

What is the most stressful part of the job?

“Not every day is perfect, and there are days when construction can be incredibly frustrating. Getting things done on time, quickly and efficiently is always a struggle. Competitors are constantly coming after your employees and you always need to be aware of what they’re doing strategically. At the end of the day, there are always solutions to problems and challenges. As a leader, you need to be positive and uplift your team. Things happen and happen for a reason and you have to keep moving forward.”

A few last word on how and why the best leaders succeed

“Think big, be bold, nothing big ever happens without thinking big.” – Mitch Patel

“Culture will ultimately define a company’s destiny” – Mitch Patel 

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