Strong leaders, strong business, strong communities #2
A huge thank you to Silvia Goddard of G3 Junk Removal for taking time during her busy season to share how she became Santa Silvia, bringing joy and comfort to children spending their Christmas in the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital Emergeny Room.
Welcome to the Archetype Learning Solutions Strong Leaders, Strong Business, Strong Communities series. This series of blogs highlights community businesses demonstrating leadership through their actions. Our definition of leadership is “a healthy influence-based relationship that is active, non-coercive, and reciprocal.” My conversation with Santa Silvia is a wonderful reminder that leadership is soft, quiet, vulnerable, and about caring for others. As I talked with Silvia about her passion, it became very clear that it extends into her community and is a significant part of who she is.
Many of these passion projects result from a business. In the case of Santa Silvia, the business has become part of Silvia’s transformative experience, resulting from a simple, but poignant hospital visit. Silvia’s efforts have also brought her very close to the annual Pierce County Toys for Tots toy drive in the Tacoma area as well, which has led to many additional community partnerships. All driven by a desire to help others. Silvia’s story is also a reminder that great things take time. If you have an idea that has been simmering in your head, now is the time to bring it to life!
Join in to learn more this incredible dedication to community, as I interview Silvia “Santa Silvia: Goddard of G3 Junk Removal.
· G3 Junk Removal
· Tacoma, WA
· G3junkremoval@gmail.com | 253-468-3985
It’s been said and written for years, “a photo is worth a thousand words,” which is clearly noticeable in Santa Silvia’s smile. Her love and passion for children and her work of bringing joy to kids spending Christmas Day in the Emergency room is very evident.
Silvia never expected a simple recruiting tour of Seattle Children's Hospital to be such a transformative experience. 24 years later, an idea born out of love, compassion, and vulnerability it’s easy to appreciate how Santa Silvia has had a profound impact on the lives of many children in the Tacoma area, many of whom may not even realize the passion and work of this quiet leader.
Silvia, anything but quiet in her vivacious, bubbly, and cheerful personality, works behind the scenes and within the structure of highly regulated hospitals to ensure that any child who ends up in the Emergency Room on Christmas Day is surprised and comforted with a gift, delivered by Santa Silvia herself.
A small spark ignites a bright project
As a young bartender serving lunch to many of the clinicians at Seattle Children’s hospital, Silvia was recruited by the Medical Director of the Respiratory Therapy Department. The medical director clearly saw something unique in Silvia’s caring approach and kindness, asking her to consider a career change to a respiratory therapist and interpreter. Deep reflection on the state of the children however, left her feeling sad and concerned about any potential of attachment and loss. Leaving the tour, Silvia was inspired by the Christmas Tree in the hospital lobby. Quietly, an idea sparked that has resulted in a bright project of love and pure joy for the past 24 years. This love has expanded to include her husband Scott, their business G3 Junk Removal, and two-long term volunteers at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Hospital.
“it renews my soul for the rest of the year”
“There is joy, pure joy in watching the kids experience joy among pain, fear, and a sense of feeling forgotten to the kids in the ER,” said Silvia of her work. Santa Silvia has continued her work these many years and it is now a part of their local, family-owned business G3 Junk Removal, even the G3 trucks get a holiday makeover and engages in the activities!
Passion extends to the business
Aside from wanting to extend love and joy, G3 is very concerned about the community. One of the goals of G3 is to make a difference within the community, “who is the future of our future” asked Silvia…it’s the kids! If we do not make a difference, who will and who will provide if we do not? Their target at G3 is to donate and/or recycle 60% of what they remove.
G3 sources almost everything removed from homes and businesses. As a result of any pickup they conduct, all items go to their warehouse where they are separated by material to be donated or recycled. Silvia showed me the long list of donation centers where materials can be sourced appropriately. They currently work with up to six organizations daily who take donations. Aside from separating and sourcing recyclables, their team goes the extra step to repair minor damage to furniture, much of which goes to Habit for Humanity. All in the effort of eliminating as much from the landfills as possible.
“anything that can be donated or recycled, will be”
As for Santa Silvia, this passion project is in addition to the long days spent with her husband Scott removing forgotten items, post-construction clean-up, and light demolition. Beginning in earnest at the start of every Holiday season, Silvia can be seen gathering toys at a variety of locations. The toys are brought to the hospital where they are sorted by gender and age, then delivered to kids reluctantly spending their Christmas day in the emergency department. Any remaining toys are left with the hospital distributed and shared with kids throughout the year. Frightened, alone, celebrating milestones or birthdays, Santa Silvia’s presence continues to bring joy year-round.
When I asked Silvia to reflect on a specific leadership attribute that helped shape the program, she indicated that it was really nothing more than wanting to bring joy to the kids. Passion, joy, authenticity, vulnerability…these are the often forgotten about and overlooked leadership traits that truly set apart great leaders from the not-so-great ones. And, it’s a great reminder that leadership is about finding the spark within you to share generosity with others.
For leaders considering embarking on a passionate leadership program of their own?
“Find your passion and go for it”!
"Make a difference. Sponsor a little league team because enjoy sports…anything. Just be there for someone and support others." Santa Silvia
Thank you for being part of the conversation with Santa Silvia. And thank you Silvia and Scott and G3 Junk Removal for making a difference through your actions – demonstrating that leadership is not about a title, its about what we do! Together, we can make a difference through our collective actions. Leadership is not a position, its about how we interact with others, engage through positivity, and embrace compassion and empathy.
Spread the word! I am looking forward to bringing more great business owners who are demonstrating leadership and promoting stronger communities. If you’re interested in sharing your story or know of someone else who is doing great things in the community, please let us know! We’d love to share more stories, proving that leadership is an action, not a position or a title. #everybodyleads #re-envisionleading #wecandobetter! You can send your ideas directly to me firstname.lastname@example.org