APA Center for Organizational Excellence: Best Practice Honoree

The Awards

Leading by Example

MinnesotaOrion Associates, a small management services organization, was founded on the principle of service to others. It is through volunteer experiences with its not-for-profit Headwater Relief Organization that employees learn hands-on leadership skills to take back to the office.

As a values-driven organization, Orion has encouraged volunteerism since its inception and attracts employees who have an unmatched enthusiasm for giving back. The Leaders in Service program is a natural extension of this philosophy, benefitting employees, the community, clients and Orion’s bottom line.

During the past two years, 94 percent of Orion employees have volunteered their time, talents and energies to relief efforts. In the process, they have learned real-life lessons in leadership. By stepping up and coming to the aid of others in crisis, these employees have become more adaptable as well as better creative thinkers. And they have improved leadership abilities that extend far beyond any they could have learned in a seminar.

In supporting employee volunteer efforts, Orion has extended its service philosophy to its own workforce, and in turn generated unique opportunities for personal growth, leadership development and personal fulfillment.

"Winning this award has validated the hard work all our staff put into their work every day. In an industry that has high staff burnout and turnover and is usually in the press for failing, Green Chimneys strives to change that paradigm. We celebrate our successes and learn from our failures."

Joseph A. Whalen
Executive Director
Green Chimneys