Meet Laurie Sewell, President and CEO of Servicon, a leading EVS provider in Los Angeles and Southern California
This is her interview:
COVID changed the world and propelled EVS workers into the forefront of healthcare and business. They have been publicly recognized as essential, front-line workers, heroes fighting COVID so that doctors and nurses can do their jobs effectively under enormous pressure. Sewell is on a mission to emphasize the importance of EVS workers in maintaining the health of the nation after a particularly difficult year. Laurie is also steering Servicon away from conventional concepts of EVS services to new concepts of clean that are driving wellness, sustainability, new analytics, and employee engagement with innovative technologies and training concepts.
Where did the idea for Servicon come from?
Founder Richard Mahdesian set Servicon up to support his peers in the Air Force, seeing an opportunity to support their integral businesses with great service. This demonstrated how one’s willingness to fill a humble need can lead to great things.
How did you get involved?
I began with Servicon as an intern during college and then after graduation joined full time. I have worked with Servicon most of my career and worked in most areas of the company.
To what do you attribute your success?
My success can be attributed to my fantastic support system, beginning with my parents who instilled a tremendous work ethic and the confidence that I could be/do anything — Followed by mentors who taught me not only business skills but the value of networking. And of course Richard, the founder of Servicon who was the model of servant leadership. My friends and family for their encouragement and my husband, Bill, who is my “unpaid consultant” and partner in every sense.
What is unique about your business?
Servicon is a cleaning and EVS company. We like to say we are a people company who cleans. Putting people first and doing well by doing right for nearly 50 years is very unique.
What made you choose this type of business/career? It was a family business, yet as I worked in this industry and for Servicon, I came to love the work and the people. I am so proud to be in this industry and to be part of keeping our communities safe and healthy during all times, but especially during the pandemic.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Enter relationships with authentic caring and with the intention to give without immediate expectation to receive.
What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?
First, I view failures as learning opportunities. However, early on, I was a bit naïve and extended more and too much credit to a client I considered a friend who eventually defaulted. I have learned that you can do business with people you consider friends, but stay within the businesses guidelines. The more important lesson was how the owner handled my mistake. He was gracious and told me of his early mistakes and said I have learned and to let it go and move on.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Volunteer. Volunteer within the company, especially for cross-functional projects. Volunteer in your industry to sit on committees and run events. The networking and skills that you learn will propel you faster than just staying in your lane. Finally, take a leap and ask for a meeting with someone you admire or who is higher up in your organization or another org.
What’s been the best advice you received as a business owner?
Be vulnerable and continue to ask for help.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to share with our readers?
Don’t always go it alone and let vanity or greed keep you from winning some of the pie. Partnering with potential competitors or unlikely players in other industries for key opportunities can make you stronger and more likely to win.
Lear nore about Ms. Sewell and Servicon here: www.servicon.com