Articles and Information from GA Foods

Becoming a Great Leader

Posted by Ritch Brandon on Jul 19, 2017 12:50:14 PM

leadership.jpgThe first thing to realize about leadership is that it comes in many varieties. There are leaders who help others tap into their latent talents, leaders that chart a new course that those around them may not have discovered on their own, and leaders who collaborate with members of the same team to solve problems that seem unsolvable at the outset. 

Now, even though there might be subtly different shades of leadership, all great leaders do have a few things in common. All great leaders communicate effectively and encourage everyone around them to collaborate in a way that brings people's talents to bear on every new project. At the same time, leaders also encourage enthusiasm and a sense of excitement for the current project. They motivate the team to achieve a clearly communicated common goal.

Communication, Friendliness, and Openness to New Input 

A great leader knows when to step in, offer a pep talk, or hang back and allow the team to come to its own solution. It's all a matter of what's going to be beneficial for morale over the short and long term. Bringing a sense of openness, friendliness, and fairness to everything that you do lets those around you know that you're on the same team and working with them instead of giving them orders and commands. 

You might not immediately tie together friendliness, good leadership and professional collaboration but each of these feeds into the other. Since the values that leaders embody tend to filter down through a company or organization, you can actually make other people more willing to share and collaborate on ideas by creating a friendly environment in which your fellow employees feel like their ideas will be valued in turn. 

While bringing empathy and friendliness to all of your communications is never going to hurt, there are a few barriers to effective communication that might not be as easy to spot. Using jargon and making things more complicated than they need be is one roadblock to effective communication and great leadership.

Other communication barriers are failing to take another person's background or training into account and not realizing another person's perception can differ from one's own. So, how can you overhaul your communication to be a more effective and respected leader? Start by framing issues in a way that's relevant and appropriate to the people with whom you work. Try not to speak down to people and, at the same time, value their input. 

To really get the most out of everyone at your organization ask questions that require some kind of elaboration - questions that require a speedy yes-or-no response have their place, but when you're looking to get to the root cause of an issue or discover how best to motivate and inspire people, you want a little more information than a standard yes-or-no response can provide. Dig a little deeper and you might be surprised at the insight you can gain from the others on your team.

Good Leaders are Committed to Professional Development 

The best leaders across industries are positive role models for other professionals - being a positive role model and "practicing what you preach" shows everyone around you that you're taking your job seriously. An added benefit is that being a positive role model often creates a virtuous cycle in the workplace, which means that your behavior and values inspire others to achieve their best every single day. 

Leaders that standout are humble, passionate about what they do, and understand their own and their coworkers' unique set of talents and areas in need of improvement. A good leader finds a happy medium between tapping into the creative and professional potential of every staff member without overtaxing or overworking anyone. It's about moving people towards a shared goal and offering a doable challenge every day. 

Good leaders are also interested in pursuing professional development for themselves and others around them so that they're always improving and raising the bar on the level of challenges that they can surmount. Cross-training work exercises, on-site workshops and taking advantage of ongoing mentoring opportunities are three excellent ways to continue your professional development throughout your career and inspire others to do the same. 

Just as cross training in sports can make athletes more able to tackle different kinds of challenges, cross training in the workplace creates fitter employees who bring more value to the organization. Learning how to carry out complementary work activities ultimately facilitates collaboration between departments and increases the knowledge base of employees who undergo such programs. 

Finding a business mentor who's further along the same professional path that you're on can also provide you expert counsel and help you avoid common pitfalls while exposing you to fresh networking opportunities. Setting up a mentoring program for every employee - shown to increase workplace satisfaction and employee retention - uses existing resources to inspire tomorrow's leaders. 

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Topics: President's Messages, Leadership, Professional Development, Mentoring

A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

Posted by Glenn Davenport, President on Sep 14, 2016 1:00:00 PM

mission_vision_values.jpgAt GA Foods, we formally review our mission, vision, values and creed during our quarterly employee meetings.  As you know, people need to hear something several times for it to be really retained. Plus, new employees may be hearing it for the first time, and it is important that everyone understands our company's purpose, plans, and goals, as we go forward.

Our Mission

When we think of our company's mission, we think of it as "why we exist".  Our mission statement at GA Foods is simple, but very impactful.  


We define nourishment a number of ways.  Obviously, it's about the food. But it's also about supplying what is necessary for life, health and growth; to cherish, to foster, to keep alive. "Nourishment" captures our compassion and our empathy for those we serve.  And then the word delivered.  Not only do we physically deliver meals to people's homes, but we also deliver on our promises.

Our Vision

Vision is "what we want to be". Our vision is very simple and easy to remember. GA Foods' vision is: 

Nourishment delivered, 30 million times a year, by the year 2020.

We abbreviate our vision as ND|30|2020.

Our Values and Creed

Our values are "what's important to us". We have six values:

Touching Lives
One Team

We embedded these six values into our creed:

I am GA Foods. I touch lives. I am committed to working as one team, united by a sense of ownership and guided by integrity and earned trust.

At every meeting, I ask an employee to volunteer to say the creed from memory. If they do, I give them $50.00. I've been doing this for a couple of years, and we've never had a meeting where somebody could not come up and say the creed.  That's one of the ways that we keep our mission, vision, and values alive.

Lessons from a 13-Year-OldSarahKate.jpg

I shared with our team that the other day, my 13‑year-old granddaughter, Sarah Kate, told her parents and three siblings that “a goal without a plan is just a wish” and “are your habits that you have today on par with the dreams that you have for tomorrow?”

As a 63‑year-old President, and proud grandfather, I learn and am inspired by many; not the least of which is a 13-year-old.

Pictured: Sarah Kate

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Topics: President's Messages


Posted by Glenn Davenport, President on Dec 21, 2015 11:11:21 AM

Happy holidays, joy to the world, peace and happiness to all! That was sincere and easy to say – if life were just that easy. With the challenges of work, family, local, national and world events it can be overwhelming and seemingly with no end in sight.

But, in my opinion we are blessed with much to be thankful for; if we stop, take a deep breath (several for many of us) and turn off the flood of incoming communication from every source for a period of time, then we can rest in the peace of how fortunate we are in many ways.

Stop and think about what is really important – good health, clean water, food, shelter – and meaningful relationships. I encourage you to be less performance driven (work, play, comparisons to others' "stuff" — just a few examples) for a few days and be thankful for what you do have.  Plus, do all you can to help those that do not have good health, water, food, shelter and meaningful relationships. You will find helping others is a real gift – not just to them but many times a better gift for you. It feels good to give.

I was reading this morning about Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift in the world. It all started because people started helping people they did not even know.


Welcome to Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift operation in the world.

Each Christmas for the past 64 years, the Air Force has been parachuting donated gifts and humanitarian supplies to tiny islands dotting this vast area of the western Pacific.

The islands are the most remote islands on Earth.  Christmas Drop is the most important day of the year for these people.

The operation traces its roots to Christmas 1952, when the crew of an Air Force B29 spotted people waving from the island of Kapingamarangi, some 3,500 miles southwest of Hawaii.  In the spirit of the season, the crew gathered up a few items from the plane, attached a parachute and dropped the bundle to islanders below.

With an area of 1 square mile and a population of 300, Fais is one of the larger islands to receive the annual drops.  The island, located 400 miles southwest of Guam, was heavily damaged by a typhoon in April, and this year's two bundles are especially appreciated.

When people ask me, "What does GA Foods do?", my short answer is we help those in need.  We feed the elderly, children, our military and those hit by natural disasters. But we also employ about 330 team members, and hire approximately 75 temporary workers each day.  We buy millions of dollars in food and supplies each year supporting over 100 suppliers around the country, and we pay millions of dollars in local, state and federal taxes every year. 

Many of us choose to work at GA Foods because of who we are and what we do.

Here is our creed that was developed by team members, not a consultant:

I am GA Foods. I touch lives.  I am committed to working as one team, united by a sense of ownership and guided by integrity and earned trust.

We believe this, we live by this, and I feel we are really blessed!  Happy holidays, joy to the world, and peace and happiness to everyone.



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Topics: President's Messages

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