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“I accept that I can’t be the best at everything, but I can have the best around me.”

– Andrea Russo, President of Crisafulli Brothers

Andrea Russo As founder and CEO of Big Fish Nation, I get to work with many brilliant women entrepreneurs, each of them leaders in their own unique ways.  Andrea Russo, President and Owner of Crisafulli Brothers Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Inc. (Albany, NY), is one of those amazing women. 

In a typically male-dominated business, Andrea was the first female on the company’s management team and continues to successfully lead this third-generation family business. 

A quick look at the Awards page of the company website confirms this success!  Notice also that the Awards page includes a thank you note to the community, and a photo of the Crisafulli Brothers “Extreme Team” that volunteered services during an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.    Andrea’s business clearly is about more than just profit, it’s also about making a difference!

So how does she do it?  I asked her about her key leadership tactics and she shared the following:

  • I surround myself with GREAT people, not good people, great people…..  I accept that I can’t be the best at everything, but I can have the best around me – in front of, in back of, and beside me….  in each department necessary to run my organization.
  • I hire right, no matter how long it takes….  “fit” is everything.
  • I “walk the tracks” daily….  get a feel for staff and how they are doing, what there challenges are…  and to keep the climate positive
  • I do what I believe to be right for my employees, the company and the community!
  • Following the chain of command is important, but my door is always open.
  • I listen and communicate honestly and ask the same in return….  my management team knows I do not want “yes men” around me….  challenge me, disagree, make your point.
  • I believe in my people and they know this.
  • I am fair and reasonable and model this behavior.

Then in true Andrea fashion, she adds “keep in mind, I have a list of things I could do a whole lot better too!”   

Even though we each have our own leadership methods, we can always learn from other leaders like Andrea!  Which of her points made the most impression on you?  How can you add that into your own leadership toolkit? 

Use this inspiration from Andrea and take some time this week to write down the unique ways you lead, and to ask other leaders around you for their “secrets.”  

Thank you Andrea!
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Click here for Crisafulli Brothers website.
Click here for  WNYT’s Women in Business article featuring Andrea.

Crisafulli Brothers

Crisafulli Brothers