saying goodbye to a great leader

By beth thornton

Nineteen years ago, I began my career in sales with an amazing Salt Lake City based company. To be honest, I had to pull out a map to actually pinpoint the exact location of Utah! But yet, I left my interview excited and determined O.C. Tanner was going to be the company where I built my career.

I remember being  amazed a company like this actually existed; one that cares about its people, one that is full of great opportunity, and one that celebrates the achievements and milestones of its employees. I learned all of these great things about the company from the man I interviewed with, Tim Treu.

When Tim talked about O.C. Tanner, energy entered the room. You could tell this company evoked great loyalty in him, and he felt passionate about finding the right people to become a part of it. Lucky for me, I was chosen to join Tim’s team, who was the director of sales at the time.

After starting my career with the company, I realized everything Tim shared with me about O.C. Tanner during my interview was true, and over time I realized, that so much of the culture Tim loved, existed because of him.

Tim was a caring, kind, and compassionate leader—qualities that are rare in competitive cultures such as sales. Make no mistake about it, our sales culture is competitive, but Tim had nurtured and empowered us along the way to treat each other well, work together, and BEAT our competitors!

Tim had a knack for seeing talent in people. He had a sense for who is the right fit for the company and who will succeed. He had a proven track record of bringing in the right talent and then helping them develop. If Tim felt you had potential, he would let you know of his strong belief in you and that really enabled people to believe in themselves. He had a way of equalizing the playing field and helping everyone feel like they had a seat at the table.

While this was in Tim’s nature, it was also evidenced through his work with a training curriculum, Arbinger. Through this training, Tim facilitated an environment where people learned to understand each other and work together. He helped them discover their own success was dependent upon the success of another person, team, or department.

On top of all of this, Tim maintained a work-life balance between the love of our company and the love of his family. When Tim was at work, he really worked. He never gave up, and he never gave in.

While he expected a lot from people, he also expected a lot of himself.  He was always the first person at O.C. Tanner in the morning and the last to leave. Many of us marveled at his ability to balance that work commitment with his deep commitment to his family and friends.  I think that ability to fully “commit to the moment”—whether it was at work or at home—was why Tim is such a gifted salesman, employee, and leader.

After 31 and half years of service, Tim retired from the O.C. Tanner Company December 31st. Throughout the month of December , our top sales leaders and managing directors honored Tim for his long impressive career. These past few weeks, have been hard for us to think about not seeing him every day, but personally I smile when I think about how much he taught me.  Tim left a great legacy that resides in all of us.

Categories: Appreciation, Celebrate Careers

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By beth thornton

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