Cleaning company ‘helping people becoming better leaders’
By: Megan Burke, staff reporter
“Seven years ago my phone rang at 1:30 a.m,” 29-year-old Kristen Hadeed started as she spoke to a large crowd of MSU students on Tuesday, April 18. “I answered the phone, and it’s a client. He said, ‘I’m wondering if you can send one of your employees, Meghan, to hospice?’”
The crowd could feel the emotion in Hadeed’s story as she went on to tell how the man’s mother wanted Meghan, who cleaned their house every week, to come hold her hand as she was dying.
“We’re a cleaning company. On what planet do you want your cleaning person to hold your hand as you die? What I realized in that moment is that you can find meaning in anything that you do,” Hadeed said.
“There were things I really didn’t want to do, but my parents still encouraged me to try. They pushed my sister and I to do things that were uncomfortable,” Hadeed said.
Growing up, Hadeed says she was an aspiring entrepreneur throughout her childhood, from putting up flyers for a babysitting business at age six, to selling her parents’ items from her makeshift “store” in fifth grade. She said the key to her success has been curiosity, her promise to value people over profits and her willingness to try whatever it took to succeed.
What started as an ad on Craigslist to clean houses turned into a business that would grow to become Florida’s largest independently owned cleaning service.
“I always thought that I would move to New York and work on Wall Street. I wanted to make a lot of money,” Hadeed said.
Hadeed later realized, empowering others to succeed inspired her more than any paycheck she ever received.
According to the 2016 Gallup report, “Employee Engagement in U.S. Stagnant in 2015,” employee engagement has consistently averaged less than 33 percent over the past 15 years, which means over 67 percent of people are consistently disengaged from their jobs. Gallup, Inc. is a global survey research group based out of the U.S. They do performance-management consulting and mainly study behaviors and attitudes in the workplace.
“87 percent of the world is disengaged at work. They go home at the end of the day not feeling connected to the work that they do and not feeling fulfilled. That’s terrible. We spend most of our time at work. How sad,” Hadeed said.
Hadeed strives to create a workplace in which her employees are using their talents and interests while also learning vital life skills that will help them achieve their goals in their future careers.
“Everything we do is actually not about cleaning; it’s about helping people become better leaders. Our training is about building relationships, listening and communicating.”
Maria Jose Toro, who has worked at Student Maid for four years as a cleaner and as part of the leadership team, says this job has been empowering for her and her fellow employees.
“The environment has been incredibly welcoming for my self discovery of my strengths. It’s helped me practice what my natural gifts are and helped me get a better understanding of what I need and what I’m good at,” Jose Toro said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50 percent of all new businesses fail in their first year of operation. For having never seen herself as a leader, Hadeed has come a long way. She cites her countless failures as the reason she is so successful today.
“I’m honestly just very amazed at what she has accomplished. It’s very inspiring,” Keaton Leslie, sophomore finance major said. “Bouncing back from those failures. The tendency is to fail and feel down and stay down. Then it just turns into a domino effect. I think really coming back stronger and being mentally strong is one of the biggest things in success.”
Hadeed believes the most important advice she can give to college students who will soon enter the workforce is to find your “why,”—in other words, the purpose in your career. She also stresses curiosity and taking strides toward being fearless and self-reliant, as this will help you later on in your career.
“Reading and learning beyond what you’re learning in class is important. I was an avid reader, and I took a speed reading class just so I could read more,” Hadeed said.
She talked about her good friend and author, Simon Sinek, whose work is based around inspiration and where it comes from. He came up with the idea of the “Golden Circle.” The circle graph consists of “what,” “how” and “why.” Hadeed says it is important to focus not on the “what” and “how,” but rather on the “why” of your business or life –– she says this will in turn make everything worthwhile.
Hadeed talked with students at Meyer Library as part of the David Glass Lecture Series hosted by the College of Business.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to hear from someone outside the class about things they’re learning inside the classroom, Special Event Coordinator and Marketing Assistant for the College of Business Mary Grace Phillips, said.
While not many people will go on to become so close with their clients and customers that they request to hold their hands on their deathbeds, Hadeed believes we can all achieve a better quality of life if we find our “why” and give meaning to the world through our own individual purpose.
This article appeared in the April 24, 2017 edition of The Standard and can be accessed online here.