August 13, 2010

Grant speaks softly but leads with dignity

2010 Women of Distinction - Business

For over 27 years, Sharie Grant has been on the management team for Steelcase dealer OfficeScapes. Now president of the Northern Division, she’s led the company through such successes as an extensive, multi-year application and site visit process to win the Steelcase Exemplary Performance award for total customer satisfaction, excellence in business practices and commitment to continuous improvement.

That dedication to people, excellence and improvements describes Grant’s style of leadership.

“Sharie has challenged the status quo and encouraged excellence in every organization she has touched,´ said Ann Hutchison, executive vice president of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, an organization to which Grant has given much of her time and talents. “We often see business leaders ‘bulldoze’ their way to solutions, but that is not Sharie. Her courage to ask hard questions, willingness to demonstrate excellence and initiation to others to be a part of a solution have been key to her ability to make a difference.”

Outside her own company, Grant has been a dedicated leader in the business community, most notably at the chamber and the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, where she implemented key infrastructure documents and procedures.

“A lot of my volunteer efforts have been for the business community and business issues and business advocacy,” Grant said. “There are a lot of things that wouldn’t come to fruition without the business community, like all of their support to philanthropy and the arts. Sometimes they’re painted as a negative element and I firmly believe they are not. The business community is very good, very positive. I’ve worked with many wonderful people and become a better person because of it. I truly believe they are great people with great intentions and I am honored to be among them.”

Perhaps it’s this humility that explains why others describe Grant as a quiet but extremely effective leader. Steve Stiesmeyer, Colorado operations manager for Hewlett-Packard Co., has worked with her for over nine years, first as a customer and more recently on the board of the Chamber. “She speaks softly and eloquently … and when she speaks, everyone listens because of her commanding presence.”

Hutchison describes Grant as a “caring” leader and Chamber President and CEO David May says she’s the kind of leader who makes the people around her better because she leads with “dignity, honesty, candor and courage” rather than ego. Whether she’s managing her 20-plus employees or standing up against a piece of legislation that is bad for business, leadership is something Grant does not take lightly.

“I believe in servicehood and leadership,” she said. “Leadership is serving. The more responsibility you have, the more you’re really serving others. I take that seriously. Whenever I step into a leadership role, I’m very thoughtful about making sure I can do the role justice, because it’s important to provide the right tone and direction.”

Hutchison says the chamber has a strong strategic plan and even stronger vision today because of Grant’s direction and leadership reaffirming the importance of a strong business voice in local political and community issues.

Click here for a list of the
2010 Women of Distinction and links to their profiles.

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