S02E14 Hiring and Accepting People from Challenging Backgrounds, with Gina Schaefer

“I think business owners have to really rethink who and how they hire, our judgments, our biases, and what as a society we can do, even as a small business like mine, to make it a more vibrant and equitable place… I wanted to make sure that we were treating everybody, no matter what their background was, where they were from, what language they spoke, what addiction they were overcoming, what jail sentence they had served, I wanted all of those people to have a level playing field.”

S02E14 of the Rethink Culture podcast shines the spotlight on Gina Schaeffer, founder, CEO, and co-owner of a chain of 13 Ace Hardware stores across multiple cities in the United States. Ace Hardware is the world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative. Gina oversees the operations and management of over 300 dedicated employees.

Gina discusses her commitment to community initiatives and her experiences in creating a thriving work environment based on open-mindedness and acceptance. A beacon of inspiration in the entrepreneurial landscape, she challenges leaders to rethink their assumptions and reimagine culture by embracing the notion of providing opportunities for everyone to thrive, regardless of their background, such as a history of addiction or imprisonment. Beyond her business endeavours, Gina’s passion for exploration and creativity is evident in her travels across South America and her hobby of crafting personalized greeting cards.Β 

The podcast is created by Rethink Culture. Our goal is to help 1 million businesses create healthier, happier cultures, by turning culture into a KPI. Visit rethinkculture.co to see how you can create a healthier culture at your company.

Production, video, and audio editing by Evangelia Alexaki of Musicove Productions.

Listen to this episode to discover:
– How Gina defies conventional assumptions by hiring people who have experienced addiction, homelessness, or incarceration.

– Why extending opportunities to those with employment barriers promotes connection, support, and a strong community.

– The significance of adapting core values and practices to reflect evolving circumstances.

– Gina’s insights into openness, trust, fairness, and the embodiment of organizational core values.

– What is the principle of “inspect what you expect” in encouraging accountability.

– How to enhance customer satisfaction by reflecting customer diversity in employee composition.

– The value of curiosity, maintaining a beginner’s mindset, and being open to learning from everyone.

– Why we should care about business transition readiness and the education of future business leaders.

Further resources:
– Gina’s website: https://ginaschaefer.com/Β 

– Gina’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginaschaefer-speaker/Β 

– Culture by Design, by David J. Friedman: https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Design-individual-organizational-performance/dp/0692100784Β 

– Recovery Hardware: A Nuts and Bolts Story About Building a Business, Restoring a Community, and Renovating Lives, by Gina Schaefer: https://www.amazon.com/Recovery-Hardware-Restoring-Community-Renovating/dp/B0B6M6P168


Scroll to Top