While I may not have always known the term, I've been on a journey of servant leadership my entire life.
I grew up watching my parents operate a funeral home, serving others at some of their toughest moments. My parents’ commitment to serve others never wavered, nor did the community’s support of their business.
However, I chose to serve a different way, in law enforcement. At the Carrollton and Coppell Police Departments, I worked alongside some of the finest individuals who relentlessly modeled the servant’s heart, often with great sacrifices. It was also in law enforcement where I learned that I'm not immune from the dangerous trap of promotion, power, and authority; when these are placed before what's really important, the cost can be painfully high.
Thankfully I’ve had mentors who engaged my mind and encouraged my heart. Mentors who mirrored my passion for organizational leadership and pointed me towards making that the focus of my master’s degree. Mentors who challenged me and created opportunities. Mentors who loved me enough to lift me up during my toughest moments.
It was because of one such mentor I was able to discover the opportunities of applying servant leadership in the multi-unit world - leading training seminars, coaching programs, and facilitating large-scale conferences. My eyes were opened to the private sector.
That was until Ed Lowe invited me to lead alongside him at the iconic Dallas-based Celebration Restaurant, Catering, and Market. Celebration taught me that servant leadership can be the vehicle that transforms an organization into a family. However, Celebration holds an especially tender place in my heart: It was during my last conversation with Ed Lowe (before his untimely 2018 death) when he said, “Matt, you cannot deny your calling; you have to be training and coaching others in servant leadership. It is your gift to the world.”
Years of law enforcement, business travel, and the restaurant business have pulled me from what really matters: Being the husband, father, and person I wish to be. Now’s the time to align my gifts with what’s most important.
I’d love to hear from you if I can help you or your organization do the same.