people: Sandra Oldfield, Leading With Heart

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A quick online search of the term “leadership” will bring several million results ranging from dictionary definitions to consultants offering their services and all measure of things between. Rarely do we have opportunity to witness leadership in its strongest and truest form, when those at the helm set the stage for and nourish the whole-hearted success of the people in their charge. I’m privileged to have the friendship of one such leader: Sandra Oldfield.

On the morning of September 11, 2017, Canadian wine conglomerate Andrew Peller Ltd. announced its acquisition of (two) and letter of intent to purchase (one) a total of three iconic British Columbia wineries: Gray Monk Estate Winery, Black Hills Estate Winery, and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

On the morning of September 14, 2017, former CEO of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Sandra Oldfield released a personal blog post about the acquisition of the winery she, her husband, and their business partners built from scratch.

I have bias here, in that Sandra is a friend. Am I able to hold an honest evaluation of her as a leader and be the person who might have been her accomplice on a midnight mission to sneak a sample of rosé from a stainless steel barrel? (sorry, Andrew) I think I can, but my opinion doesn’t matter.

What holds weight here is the group of people at Tinhorn Creek who have been in her charge and worked with her every day; people who bought wine from her when BC wine wasn’t at the top of everyone’s shopping list (retail, restaurants, and consumers alike); those who contracted to work with her; the crew who built a restaurant with her; others who sat on a Board with her; anyone who volunteered with her; Tweeps who chatted with her on #bcwinechat; event attendees who heard her speak, and all who crossed paths with this heart-on-sleeve person.

This, dear reader, is leading with heart. Over to you, Sandra. And yes – you can now go home.

I took this picture of Tinhorn Creek employees on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 9:00AM. It was the hardest and the greatest picture I have ever taken.  The shutter clicked just before I shared the news with them that Andrew Peller Limited had purchased the winery. I share it today with you because it has come to embody everything that is at the centre of Tinhorn Creek and Miradoro as well. Yes we grow great grapes on great land, make exceptional premium wines, host concerts and events, offer an exceptional dining experience and sell our wine in fine retail outlets and restaurants. But found in this picture is why the grapes are great, why the wines have a sense of place, why the bills get paid on time, how the visitors are welcomed, how the cases sell out year after year, and how the food is prepared with love. THIS is Tinhorn Creek. It was Tinhorn Creek when I took the picture and it is still Tinhorn Creek today.

<read Sandra’s entire blog post>




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