The Innovators

10 Up and Coming Leaders to Watch

The Innovators


WE CELEBRATE AND ENCOURAGE INNOVATION.

Innovators push the boundaries of the known world. They're change agents who are relentless in making things happen and bringing ideas to execution.

Tom Gimbel, LaSalle Network
Illustration (C) Brett Affrunti

Focused on Fun

Tom Gimbel, LaSalle Network

For LaSalle Network's 14th anniversary in 2012, founder and CEO Tom Gimbel surprised his nearly 100-person staff with an all-expenses-paid weekend trip to Las Vegas. Gimbel has been hosting such an event--dubbed "LaSallemas"--every year since the Chicago-based staffing firm was founded, but they were not always this extravagant. Gimbel says he couldn't afford to do much the first year, so he and his six employees rode around Chicago sipping champagne in a stretch limo, then ate pizza. The budget for the parties has increased commensurate with company revenue, which reached $40 million last year. But the goal is always the same: fun.

"Does it necessarily get people to do their job better for that day or for that week? Probably not," Gimbel says. "But it does get people to not want to leave. I think that's really the key, and as a leader your job is to make sure the work gets done well for your clients but also to make sure you retain your staff."Gimbel fosters that culture year-round by celebrating employees' accomplishments and work anniversaries with perks like in-office manicures and live music. For one employee's 10th anniversary, Gimbel--knowing the staffer was a country-music fanatic--brought in a guitar player to serenade her.

LaSalle boasts a retention rate of nearly 90 percent. "When people are happy and really enjoying work, they function better as a team," Gimbel says. "After people have been here for a year or two years, you start to see the synergies of the teams, and they really begin to gel and work well together, and that's when we really see our revenues grow." --Katherine Duncan

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This article was originally published in the March 2014 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 10 Up and Coming Leaders.

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