Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast

Teresa Spinelli – One Big Human Family

March 15, 2019 Marie Gervais Season 1 Episode 7
Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast
Teresa Spinelli – One Big Human Family
Show Notes

Bio for Teresa Spinelli

Teresa Spinelli is the President of the Italian Centre Shop, a chain with 4 stores (located in Edmonton and Calgary), over 500 employees and sales exceeding 70 million. 

Episode highlight

As an Italian-Canadian, Teresa Spinelli was raised with strong Italian values of family and community, which she brings into her role as the President of a chain of Italian Food Stores. 





 “You never know the difference you make in people’s lives.”

 “Telling people what to do doesn’t ever really work very well.”

“Everyone wants to know that they can make a difference and they matter.”

 “We’re all the same – everybody wants to matter and make a difference, everybody loves food and loves family.”


Childhood incidents:

As a child, Teresa really wanted to accompany her father on a particular hunting trip he was taking. When he said no, she resolved to become such a fun person that no one would ever turn down an offer of a trip with her. 

Groups you were born into and belonged to: 

Teresa was greatly influenced by and grew up in an inner-city Italian community. However, the strong bond she had with her family members and the abundance of both love and food in her home stood in stark contrast to what her classmates experienced. 

Temperament and personality influences

Teresa is a self-confessed people person. She was born with a sense of wonder – looking to learn new and different things with an open mind.

She had to learn to be persistent as a necessity to run her business. 

A time I became aware that my way of doing things was cultural and specific to my cultural experience

Teresa learned that her family’s way of doing things was different from what her friends from other cultures understood as normal and acceptable. 

Another time, when Teresa’s Australian (feminist) friend came to visit, she was aghast at the fact that her mother was fetching her brother olives. However, her mother explained that she did it out of love and not subservience. That conversation changed the way both women looked at the situation and gave them a fresh perspective. 

Advice to an employer to work with me

Good employers give employees the task, check in once in a while, but truly allow them the opportunity to achieve the goal – they let them shine!

More great insights from our guest! 

Teresa remarks, “Culture is interesting because everybody is different. As it is a global world now, you have to learn more about cultures.” Learning the aspects of different cultures, asking for permission before acting, and not taking offense or misunderstanding another’s actions are all ways in which we can appreciate and accept each other more. 

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