Lunch with Lucy
Maximize Profits by Investing in Your People
by Sherry Stewart Deutschmann
Pub Date 10 Mar 2020
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Transformational Leadership Through Empathy
When entrepreneur Sherry Deutschmann first decided to start a business, she knew she wanted to build something totally different. In her first book, Lunch with Lucy, Sherry tells the story of the creation of that company, LetterLogic, and how she turned it into a $40-million company by putting employees first—even ahead of customers and shareholders.
Putting her people first took many forms, with an extremely generous profit sharing plan and fair living wages among them. But the centerpiece and heart of LetterLogic’s culture was the employee-centric practice Sherry designed called “Lunch with Lucy”—a practice that removed the hierarchical dynamics found in most organizations.
On any given Wednesday, any employee could invite “Lucy” (Sherry’s midday moniker) out to lunch, at a place of their choice, with the bill picked up by Sherry. At these events, Sherry wasn’t the CEO. She was “Lucy,” a co-worker. By making herself 100% available, “Lucy” created a judgment-free environment where she could learn about a team member’s dreams, ambitions, and challenges—and gain their insight into what she was doing right or wrong as a leader. She credits this approach with the success of her company.
Lunch with Lucy’s interior, refreshingly laid out like courses on a menu, invites us to see how a leader’s choices directly impact employee morale, engagement, and commitment—and in this author’s case, ultimately led to a healthy and hearty bottom line. Sherry’s voice is new, and her honesty, humor, and humility shine through this story of a woman building a successful business through empathetic leadership and uncommon, commonsense business practices, one lunch at a time.
Sit down at the table and learn about a business model that is truly transformational.
–Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Board Director eHealth and SHEEX, Former Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, EY, and Diversity and Inclusiveness Sponsor, EY
“Lunch with Lucy is a beautiful reflection of the author—an authentic leader whose empathy for those she led and for her customers helped propel her business to remarkable success. Sherry’s practical insights are food for every aspiring leader and CEO looking to make a difference. Lunch with Lucy is a full buffet of wisdom.”
– Dr. Michael Burcham, Shore Capital Partners
“I was hooked from page one. Such a compelling story told in a way that seems so not only doable, but the right thing to do. If we had more leaders like Sherry, corporations would be better people. She helps you envision a world full of compassion, understanding, and kindness. This is an underdog story that leaves you feeling inspired, uplifted, and full of admiration for the grit and determination this woman has. More of this, please!”
—Fran Dunaway, CEO/Cofounder, TomboyX.com, Seattle, WA
“I hate most books about company culture—in fact, I can’t even read them. We all know culture is important. But too often these books treat it as if it’s the ultimate goal—not the means to an end—focusing on silly perks that trivialize the conversation. But as a senior editor with Inc., Forbes, and The New York Times, I’ve been following Sherry Deutschmann for years. I know she’s different, both as a business owner and as an author. She actually connects the dots between treating employees well and maximizing profits. Wondering how to get employees to care about the business as if they were owners? This book is the blueprint. It’s also a fun read.”
—Loren Feldman, Chief Content Officer, 21 Hats
“Wow! An inspiring, touching, funny story that helps you build a better business, strengthen your own character, and even save capitalism from itself. Sherry is a genius at solving problems, and she tells you all her secrets! This is a must-read, can’t-miss, save-your-life, save-your-company book.”
—U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District
“Our obsession with maximizing profits at the expense of everything else on the planet has caused immeasurable harm. We need a new model of doing business, and with perfect timing, along comes Sherry Deutschmann with a model we can follow to maximize profits and take care of people. Read this book, follow it, and spread it widely. There is another way—and Sherry has proven it.”
—Vicki Saunders, CEO, SheEO, Toronto, Canada
“Working at LetterLogic was one of the greatest experiences in my life. Sherry showed how one person can really make life better for so many. Just imagine if more businesses operated like hers. Think of how far a living wage would go towards eradicating poverty . . . ”
–Patrick Johnson, President, ProGraphic South, Nashville, TN
“I have known Sherry for 25+ years—back before she started her own business and was working as a sales rep and crushing it! Sherry’s fierce approach to life translated throughout her entrepreneurial journey as she grew her business, her people, and herself. In Lunch with Lucy Sherry weaves a powerful message through her storytelling. If you truly listen, it will show you a path less traveled and one that will reveal greater fulfillment for both you and your teams.”
—Andy Bailey, CEO, Founder, and Head Coach, Petra Coach
“Every successful business owner I’ve met, either male or female, has usually built effective teams. How well they did that was based on their treatment of their employees and executives. Deutschmann’s approach of putting her people first ultimately led to a healthy bottom line, but it also invested in the company’s success. This is an important book for all business owners.”
–Marsha Firestone, PhD. President and Founder, Women Presidents’ Organization and Women Presidents’ Educational Organization
“Sherry is a shining example of a CEO who fully embodies authentic leadership. Decades ago, using her business as a vehicle for change, Sherry blazed a trail for many of us by defining a corporate culture that placed employees first. Lunch with Lucy is an inspiring story and a gift to any entrepreneur who wants to make a difference with and in their business.”
—Pamela Chaloult, CEO, Practical Feet Advisors, and Social Impact Leader
"Sherry's voice, ultimately, is unapologetic. It’s a voice that business owners must learn to cultivate to accelerate toward the realization of their greatest ideas and contributions to the marketplace and our world."
—Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley
"Wittingly, Sherry uses lunch as the framework through which we might transform our relationship to traditional workplace hierarchies. Perhaps, we—as workaholic Americans—should start eating lunch together again?!"
—Esther Morales, Consultant and Former Executive Director, National Women's Business Council (NWBC)
“Sherry Stewart Deutschmann is the boss every employee wants to work for and every entrepreneur should want to be. Lunch With Lucy is a smart, honest, funny, touching, and inspiring story about a woman who succeeded in business because of her own deeply held values—especially her commitment to her people. Whether you’re an experienced leader or just starting out in business, you will find many practical and inspiring lessons in Lunch With Lucy. I’ve been a non-profit CEO for 30 years, and I lost count of the times I thought, 'Damn! I wish I’d thought of that.'”
–Marsha Bailey, Founder and CEO, WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures)
“Sherry’s proven track record making the Inc. 5000 list 10 years in a row clearly demonstrates the powerful and profitable force of marrying heart-driven intention with thought-inspired action. Sherry made an immediate impact on EarthKind after I heard her story, and a lasting impact on me as a female entrepreneur who’s out to change how pests are controlled—and ultimately how business is done. If more business functioned this way, we may no longer see 85% of workers hating their jobs, 38 million households living in poverty, or another 96 million close behind.”
—Kari Warberg Block, Founder and CEO, EarthKind
“I have worked with literally hundreds of highly talented executives, but I have never met anyone who understands the transformative power of a simple conversation the way Sherry does. If you spend any time at all with Sherry, you come away changed—more motivated, more hopeful, and feeling like a better version of yourself. Her generosity of spirit just glows.”
—Mary Sobon, Executive Coach, m2 Consulting
“Sherry is one of the smartest and most caring entrepreneurs I’ve ever met. She started and grew an uber-successful company, not only in size but in the impact she had on everyone who worked for her. She was a pioneer in what is known today as “conscious capitalism” and was playing the “Infinite Game” as Simon Sinek coined it in his latest book. Sherry treated everyone who worked for her—and every stakeholder in her company’s ecosystem—as true partners and peers. She is a walking example of a servant leader, and her company’s success is living proof of how treating your people like they should be treated can take a company to heights you never expected.”
—Ryan Tansom, Cofounder, Arkona
“Sherry’s story is compelling and captivating. In my nearly 20 years teaching at Vanderbilt, she is the single most impactful and inspiring speaker—both for my students and myself—that I have hosted. Her grit, determination, and business savvy are only surpassed by her care and commitment to her people and community. The world would be a better place if we would all read and implement her leadership characteristics. Lunch with Lucy is a must-read!”
–Kristen Tompkins, HOD Lecturer and Director of Capstone, Vanderbilt University
"Creating a healthy culture within an organization is not only good for retention, but it's good for business. Sherry Deutschmann's employee-first leadership style created brand advocates that propelled LetterLogic forward. This book is a fascinating story of how she did that, but it is also an actionable field guide for entrepreneurs looking to follow in her footsteps. So pull up a chair and dig in."
–Jacqueline Hayes, MBA, NAWBO Board Member, Chief Marketing Strategist + Principal, Crayons & Marketers
"Sherry Deutschmann pioneered past complacent competition to drive a culture of empathy that not only engaged her employees’ hands and hearts, but she set up a winning recipe for a successful exit. A must-read for any entrepreneur looking to maximize their impact!"
—Eric S. Deems, HealthTech Entrepreneur and Real Estate Investor
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