In business, where financial gains often take center stage, it’s truly inspiring to encounter leaders who embrace a different approach that goes beyond the bottom line, infusing their business endeavors with purpose and a deep sense of responsibility.
A prime example of value-driven leadership’s potential is author and entrepreneur Johnny Sirpilla, the retired President and Chief Business Development Officer of Camping World and Good Sam. With decades of experience up his sleeve, Sirpilla has shown that faith and unshakeable values can transform a company and the lives of those it touches.
For Sirpilla, faith is not merely a belief but a practice that resonates throughout his professional life. He firmly believes that business success is intricately intertwined with the principles of integrity, compassion, and humility.
Moreover, reflecting on success, Sirpilla reveals that another important tenet of his business approach is viewing success through its impact on the employees’ lives rather than merely through financial metrics.
And so, instead of pursuing profit-driven leadership, he has been advocating for creating a culture of purpose and responsibility within his organization, past and present which ultimately leads to higher profits.
“I believe that when you lead with purpose and prioritize the well-being of your team, success naturally follows,” he says. “My employees have been the heart and soul of my business, and I’ve always wanted them to feel valued and appreciated every step of the way.”
Sirpilla’s faith-imbued approach extends to how he has interacted with clients and customers over the years. Transparency and trust are at the heart of his customer relationship— a principle he also worked hard to transfer to his employees.
“When you have faith in your products and services, it naturally translates into building strong relationships with your customers,” Sirpilla says.
Sirpilla’s approach toward business, his clients, and his employees is best viewed from the results of his first company, Sirpilla R.V. Center, Inc. What started as a humble RV dealership turned into a flourishing enterprise that would turn tens of millions in revenue, and eventually be acquired by Camping World, where he continued to serve in key executive leadership roles for 14 years before retirement.
But his commitment to making a difference continues within the confines of entrepreneurship. Sirpilla is equally dedicated to giving back to the community and making a positive impact on the lives of others. He has actively supported pregnancy support centers and mental health initiatives, recognizing the importance of providing a supportive and compassionate environment for those facing difficult circumstances.
“My wife and I have gone through immense hardships, so we know first-hand how significant it is to lend a helping hand to those who need it,” Sirpilla shares.”In our darkest days, facing the loss of our children, families, friends, and community was essential as we got back on our feet. That’s why I believe we can find blessings in our hardships. We can develop skills that help us connect with others when they needed us. Empathy through experience can be a powerful tool when put to use.”
As he continues to inspire others with his story, Sirpilla remains focused on his mission to create a legacy of compassion, kindness, and generosity. Wishing to share his views, he has taken not just to penmanship but also to virtual and stage platforms, hoping to offer a guiding light to those that need it.
With his dedication to the people who make his businesses possible and his investment in societal well-being, Sirpilla illuminates a path many can follow. His story is a reminder that success results from the positive impact individuals create in the lives of people and the communities around them.
In the words of Sirpilla, “In our journey of life and leadership, we must strive to create more than just successful businesses. We should aim to make a difference in the lives of those we touch, fostering a cycle of kindness and generosity that extends far beyond ourselves.”
This article is co-authored by Anthony Davis.