Letter From The Owner - A Woman Owned Business

March is Women’s History Month, a time when we in the United States celebrate the many contributions women in history have made to our culture and society. As founder of a woman-owned business, I am particularly proud to remind our customers, our workers, and all our followers how GiftOfRecovery.com celebrates and supports women.

Over the years, my mother and I have hired many women in recovery. Indeed, it’s men and women in recovery that we seek. And although we have hired some great guys, too, our workforce usually has a majority of women in the many employee roles we have to fill. Women make great leaders, too. Since my mom’s retired now, I am the captain of the ship, making it my job to help inspire my staff to find their voices, instill confidence, and have a meaningful recovery in the workplace. For many women, this is a first sober job, one that will enable them to find their way into the jobs of their dreams. But for others, it’s a stepping stone to launch them back into their careers as engineers, nurses, or corporate executives.

As a woman-owned business, The Latest Thing (our brick and mortar shop in Costa Mesa, CA and parent company of GiftOfRecovery.com) may do a few things that aren’t ordinary for corporate Americans. I know it’s unusual to encourage employees to share their personal challenges, but that’s what happens at TLT. Since we hire people in sobriety, many of them newly sober, my goal is to inspire them and support them on a daily basis as they stay sober. In our store, we recognize personal needs, invite personal shares, and, in staff meetings, like in AA, we take time to acknowledge milestones in recovery. We may even encourage employees to take time to call their sponsors or go to a meeting. As a boss, flexibility is my greatest asset. I do my best to be sure every worker gets their needs met and feels heard and valued.

It’s a delicate balance to accent personal issues and at the same time encourage workers, especially those unaccustomed to speaking about feelings and having other responsibilities, to bring their best selves to the job. I want my employees to be able to put their best foot forward. It’s really fun to watch what happens when a newly sober woman first realizes she’s being empowered as she’s encouraged to show customers the same kindness, support and listening that she herself has been shown. In this way, employees directly experience our primary purpose, which is to serve our customers. It’s like a new awakening.

I believe in second chances. When we listen and support each other personally, we are also focusing on how to work in the spirit of service. No slacking here – to be a part of a woman-owned, successful recovery business, my employees are encouraged to be authentic and to be clear that to truly be of service, they must do the very best they can. For many young women I hire, working the cash register is a ‘sobriety job’ and the trust I place in them can amaze them. I love to hand a new gal the keys to the store and say, “We’re all counting on you to do a good job and close up for us.” Responsibility and trust is a two-way street – I trust them and they feel responsible to us, so it makes for good workers.

In March, we’ll be celebrating Women’s month by modeling how to listen, support each other, and work together in the spirit of love and service. At The Latest Thing, we’re like a family, staying sober together, pulling for each other and applauding the accomplishments of a job well done.

Kimberly Funk
Kimberly Funk, Owner