Congratulations to Geoff Lawson, GM of The National Conference Center, for being a finalist for the Executive Leader Category! NCC is also a finalist in the Large Business category.
What does community leadership mean to you/your business?
The National prides itself on being a leader in the community through our service, hospitality, and events. In my 46 year career in the hospitality industry, there is one thing that is very clear: each person you encounter, work with or serve as a guest is an individual with complex needs. During the last four and a half decades, my personal focus has been to learn about each person on an individual basis, understand what motivates them, and where needed, provide some type of motivation to support their future.
Share with us who/what your inspiration is in making giving back to the community a priority?
My inspiration comes from the community itself. We open our doors for large and small events all year long, and meeting people in Loudoun has allowed me to see how close-knit and supportive the county is. We are always looking for ways to give back and through our many initiatives including Loudoun United, Project SEARCH, our annual Block Parties, BUYVA, HYVA, we connect with the community in fun and meaningful ways. The National is the largest hospitality facility in the county and because of this we have no option but to “lead” in everything that we do….this approach is built into our culture.
What is your most proud moment in regards to community involvement?
At the beginning of 2019, many Government employees were thrown into stressful uncertainty with a lengthy shutdown. Since The National’s business model supports the government meetings market, our leadership team with the support and engagement of over 240 associates– launched the Government Furlough Meal Program. Each day during the furlough (then extended 21 days), Government families were welcomed to The National to enjoy free meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To help those that needed help, was a shining moment for The Associates of The National, and for Loudoun County.
How does giving back to the community affect your life?
The hospitality industry is all about looking after people, whether it is a guest or a staff member, so the more you engage with people the more you learn. The same can be said for the community that you serve. Unless you are out in the community advocating on behalf of your business or organization, it is difficult to expect the community to support you in return. It is imperative for me to be involved in as many community activities as possible to ensure that the community knows what we have to offer and has the opportunity to have The National support their need.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting more involved in their community?
“Don’t wait…….just do it”. Schedule in time to get involved and honor your commitments; they will pay you back in dividends.
What is a leadership tip or mantra to live by?
Thanks to Geoff for answering our questions! Congratulations to all of the Community Leadership Award finalists.