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Who Makes Work Meaningful?

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on Jan. 26, 2014

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

Recently the CEO of my business announced he was leaving the Company to start a new chapter in his career. He left the way many of us would like to leave - it was simply his time to move on and seek new opportunities. He moved on with grace, humbled by the outpouring of appreciation from his organization, and proud of the legacy we built together.

Reuben Carranza is a remarkable man. He is the son of a stylist who became a leader in the professional salon industry. Under his tenure The Wella Corporation transformed itself from a fractured blend of acquisitions to win the prestigous Stylist Choice award for Favorite Professional Products Company in 2011 and 2013.

Reuben was the 2013 City of Hope Spirit of Life Honoree which recognized him as an industry leader who demonstrated outstanding business and altruistic achievement. His City of Hope campaign raised $1.5 million dollars for diabetes research. Reuben also was the driving force behind "Hairdressers at Heart," the first of its kind program in the hairdressing industry to support support stylists during 4 pivotal moments of their careers.

On Reuben's last day in the building I walked the halls of my organization. Reuben had been with the business for over 8 years and was much beloved and respected. Many people were in tears, happy for him and the start of something new, yet sad to see him leave our business.

When I asked people why he meant so much to them, the response was the same, "Because he knew my name, he knew what I did, and I was important to him."

Reuben is a leader in the multibillion dollar salon professional industry, yet he never forgot he was the son of a stylist. He never forgot that the hundreds of people he led with were the ones who powered the business to success, and he made us feel like winners.

Who makes work meaningful? Not the icon of the industry, not the award winner, but the man. The one who knows our names, knows what we do, and the one who knows that we are important.

To all leaders - it is the smallest things we do that matter and touch the lives of people. We make work meaningful for those entrusted to us, whom we are privileged to serve.

Best wishes Reuben. I am proud to have been in your organization and to call you my CEO. With great respect and admiration,


Inspired by Reuben's story? Here's a different one from popular author and keynote speaker, Paul Smith Finding the Courage to Pursue your Dream

Here's the sizzle reel from Hairdressers At Heart. One of the many legacies left by Reuben on the industry as the Wella Corporation CEO.

Hairdressers At Heart Sizzle Reel from Hairdressers at Heart on Vimeo.


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