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What drives me as a business owner to be a non-traditional manager

(EDITORIAL) As an entrepreneur, employees can become family, which drove this business owner to approach managerial duties differently than the norm.

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Since this is my first foray into writing about my business experience to those outside of my clientele, I wanted to share why I tend to incorporate a lot of personal stories of both faith and family into the culture of our business dynamic, which centers around marriage and the life change it provokes.

Prior to owning a wedding venue, I worked the typical college restaurant hustles, plenty of retail jobs with limited managerial authority, I pulled a couple of stints of teaching preschoolers and even had my own small-potato photography business deep in the heart of 80’s Austin. That twenty years of customer service, coupled with 16 years of parenting three kids equipped me to at least begin the venture.

If marriage and parenting children can prepare you for anything, it’s the ability to compromise, communicate and teach you infinite patience in coping with literal small-minded people. Employees were a different kind of child.

The description is not meant to be condescending but more to explain the intricacies and balance needed, of words, actions, mirrored expectations, pride of accomplishments, sorrow at hurts and losses suffered, and nurturing personal and professional growth and many of those duties also appear in the role of parent.

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It became a passion deep within my veins.

Many have questioned and cautioned my managerial style for being too familial and I do leave room for argument, but just like all else in my life, I’ve relied on the tenets of my faith to keep me grounded to expect more out of the business experience than just business itself. If Jesus made people to learn to love each other as evidence that we loved Him, then there had to be more purpose to life than just earning a buck and spending it on fast food.

Sure, it’s an unconventional perception but I do hold dear, that each person I come across is both an opportunity to learn from, and impart to, a few wisps of wisdom. As such, it’s my belief that our company culture is one of genuine concern and care but we are also not without boundaries. Our staff does not all share the same faith, but we honor and respect one another immensely. We have had the pleasure of overseeing over 1,500 weddings in our almost 19 years of full-time service to others and it has come with both trial by fire and acceptance by grace.

The one overriding belief I hold onto is that each day is a gift and a lesson of not only what can be survived but what will further hone the skills needed for the next chapter in the journey of life and love. The business has a unique ability to dominate our lives as more busyness and distraction to the more important achievements that will one day be remembered.

Did I make a difference in someone’s life, beyond being the owner of an event space?  Will I regret having been too personal in the lives of those I knew and met or regret not stepping out in faith more in search of the person who needed the hug, the gentle encouragement, the blessing of prayer.

Forever, I will choose the latter.

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Elaine Lincoln is the VP and face behind a full-time wedding venue called Kindred Oaks, begun in 2003. In 2007, a floral studio called Zuzu’s Petals was added and services both onsite and offsite custom floral orders. In 2018, Lincoln Chapel, a unique concrete chapel was created to answer the need for small elopements. All are under the umbrella of Parties to Grow, Inc. Elaine is tired but frequently fueled by dark coffee.

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