The event brought together little CEOs from Big Brothers Big Sisters Tampa Bay who learned about what it takes to lead a large corporation.
Last week, CITY Furniture CEO Andrew Koenig gave more than a dozen kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters Tampa Bay the opportunity to take a behind the scenes tour of its Plant City Showroom, where local business leaders, including the Indo US Chamber of Commerce and NSU Alumni Association, joined in for a day of learning and networking.
From logistics and inventory management to marketing strategies and customer service protocols, the “young CEOs for the day” delved into various aspects of the business under the guidance of CITY Furniture’s seasoned professionals.
The event was a vehicle to connect the power of mentorship with the importance of nurturing the next generation of leaders.
“At CITY we don’t want to be just a furniture store, we really want to be a part of the community, to connect and add value and be involved,” said Koenig. “We want to be good corporate citizens and good community stewards and you can’t do that behind a desk, That’s why we’re trying to grow these partnerships.”
Beth Bennett, a former Big Brothers Big Sisters Tampa Bay board member who is now a mentor, brought 11-year-old Thaxton, to expose him to opportunities available in the community. “ We do a lot of things together and he gets exposed to a lot of things,” she said. “This is a great program.”
Recently they attended Mike Alstott’s football camp and a USF basketball game. “It makes a difference, for most of these kids the odds are against them,” she said. “My mission is to expose him to as much as I can and help him graduate from high school.”
Chris Letsos, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Tampa Bay, said it’s important for youth to see a path to help them move forward in life. “A lot of our kids have never been inside this building and to get a behind the scenes tour with their mentor is something we’re excited about,” he said. “We’re incredibly thankful for the CITY team.”
Letsos said his group is always looking for more volunteers. “Kids today need guidance and support more than ever,” he said. “We’re asking people to give a little bit of their time to make a big impact.”
Koenig understands the impact a business tour can have on individuals. In college, he toured Toyota and learned what made the company so successful. “For me and my own journey, seeing tours is inspiring and gives you another perspective,” he said. “These students get to see that work can be fun and having good careers. Hopefully I can inspire all of them but it’s worth it if this messages reaches one of them.”