Goodwill bigwigs get their hands dirty to build a connection with store employees
Nicole Suydam greeted customers, organized clothes from dressing rooms and worked the cash register.
She comfortably bantered with employees and clients. “Hi, Did you get a toy?” she asked a 5-year-old girl while crouching down to floor level.
Suydam, president and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County, was taking part in National Goodwill Industries Week on Monday, May 6, at the Santa Ana retail store. The nonprofit’s intention is to get executives out of their offices and into the retail operation to connect with employees and customers so they gain more “empathy,” Suydam said.
“We helped 27,000 in Orange County last year,” she said of Goodwill. The organization’s mission statement is “… helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”
Graciela Gonzalez has worked as a supervisor for two years. She followed Suydam around making sure the CEO understood the nuances of the store.
“I’m excited,” Gonzalez said. “Not a lot of people come here to help out. She gets the hang of how things work.”