INSPIRED IMPACT™ features purpose-driven leaders and social entrepreneurs who are making a meaningful impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
Rob Dube is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of imageOne and donothing headquartered in Detroit, MI. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube and learn more at imageoneway.com and donothingbook.com.
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Rob Dube and I’m the co-CEO and co-founder of imageOne. imageOne is a managed print services provider that sells service and supplies multi-function printers, copiers, and print devices. We also provide software solutions to help keep those devices secure and solutions to help companies improve their business workflow.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
In elementary school, I met my best friend Joel Pearlman, and in the ninth grade, we started selling Blow Pop lollipops out of our locker. We would buy them for $0.02, and we would resell them for a quarter. Upon reflection, we realized that must have been the time when the entrepreneurial bug bit us. We kept doing all kinds of businesses throughout high school and college and we started imageOne right out of college in 1991.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
The work that we have to do has everything to do with people, and specifically starting with our team members at imageOne where we care deeply and genuinely for the totality of their lives. My job revolves around how I can be a lifter-upper for our team members and not a dragger downer. We have different, little things that we put in place such as processes and rituals and rhythms that help to cultivate a genuine “we care” culture.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
The impact that we have, starting with our team members, is helping them realize that they could have a life that maybe they couldn’t have imagined before joining the company. That comes about through our work with them on visioning, goal setting, and bucket listing. By using those tools, and having a deep understanding of what’s important in the totality of our team members’ lives, we work very hard to help them accomplish whatever those things are that they want. Sometimes, it may not have anything to do with our company and may lead to us helping them move on to a different type of career or job or who knows what. That’s why we are here – to really lift people up and not try to hold so tightly to them. We believe that this sort of culture genuinely translates to our customers and how we work with them and also into the impact we have in the communities where we have a presence.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
Our team members are my primary inspiration. I learned some time ago that being in a leadership position is a real honor and the way I show up and how other leaders on our team show up can make a big difference in our team members’ lives, in our customers’ lives, in the lives of those with whom we interact in the community. What we consistently try, to the best of our human ability because we are far from perfect, is to remind ourselves of how we want to show up and really be intentional about that each day. We want to try to be a little bit of light or bring a joyful energy to somebody’s day throughout our simple interactions. These aren’t big things that we need to do. Usually the little things are the ones that go a really long way for people.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
It’s that we have team members who are realizing lives that they could never have imagined. When I think into the future, I want to see people who have either stayed with the company for a long time or who are alumni say things like, “Wow, I’m so fortunate that I joined imageOne at that point in time in my life. It actually changed the course of my life, because now I’m doing this, or now this sort of thing happened.” Whatever those things are, my hope is that they can reflect back and feel like that this was an impactful time of their life.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
I have a thought about “challenges” and it’s that I don’t really frame them really that way. In business, and when you’re dealing with humans and the dynamics that go along that, there are always inherited challenges. But I also believe, for myself personally and we certainly try to cultivate this perspective at imageOne, is that challenges have a lot to do with the lens through which we choose to look. Sometimes challenges are simply lessons. What are we learning and why are these lessons presenting themselves? Because 9.5 out of 10 times, the lessons make us better. Again we are human, so it doesn’t mean we don’t have emotions like frustration, but we try to model for our team members and customers the idea that you can choose to see a challenge through a different lens.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
That business can be done in a more mindful sort of way and you can still have a company with great financial results. I don’t believe that they are mutually exclusive. I’d love for other leaders to be curious about how they might be able to look at business through a different lens and know that it is possible to care deeply and genuinely for your team members and really lift them up and still have a really thriving business. I believe it all goes together and that it’s just the right thing to do. When it comes to business and capitalism, I believe the right thing to do is provide people with a livelihood – not just financially, but in the totality of their lives. You can do that through business and it’s quite rewarding.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
One of my favorite quotes is from Viktor Frankel who said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
This isn’t necessarily supporting me, but it would make me happy to know that other leaders might be willing to open their minds to a different sort of approach to leadership, or running a business, or to entrepreneurship and the idea around leading with purpose and genuine care at a really deep level.
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