A “Leo” Among Us

Written by Leann Griffin, Managing Director

Stories can provide powerful guidance for the way we live and work. They can change minds and hearts. The original story of Leo is held in high distinction at Broetje Family Trust. It has become a foundational principle of our servant leadership development curriculum and has defined the way we engage in conversation about leaders.

As the story goes, Leo, a laborer, accompanied a group of pilgrims on a voyage. Although he worked hard, he was hardly noticed. Performing his daily service with spirit and song, Leo sustained the group. He was later recognized as a person of “extraordinary presence.”

The pilgrims’ journey was going well until Leo disappeared. Then, the group fell into disarray and ultimately abandoned their quest. Years later, members of the abandoned journey found Leo. They had known him only as a servant, but in fact he was the head leader, and President of the league that had sponsored the trip.

Throughout the original journey, Leo put the needs of others first, above his need for power and praise. In The Servant as Leader, Greenleaf reflected on this story and described a servant leader as someone that consciously nurtures the mature growth of spirit in self, other people, institutions, and communities.

Currently, we honor the leadership qualities portrayed by Leo and are reminded of his service each time we pull into the “Leo Center”, located in East Pasco. With each day-to-day distraction, it can be easy to navigate through situations without recognition of the people that have helped to make a difference in our community through their compassionate service. For these reasons, we have decided to continue a tradition started at Broetje Orchards to honor people for their commitment to nourish the spirits of those they serve in ways that address their specific needs.

In January, employees at Broetje Family Trust were asked to nominate co-workers that have shown exemplary commitment to service of others. Fourteen nominations were received. During this nomination process, co-workers shared impactful stories that describe love in action and service, but also shared stories of hope for the future. These stories demonstrated LOVE, the encouragement of COMMUNITY, RESPECT for others, COMPASSION towards people, while helping others to find their true PURPOSE through vocation. The need for more ‘Leos’ has grown ever more vital given the current times and uncertainties caused by war, Covid-19, social unrest, supply shortages, and climate change, to name a few.

In March, we will announce the Leo Award. We invite you to think about the people in your life that exemplify the spirit of Leo; how will you honor and celebrate the Leos in your life?

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