On the popular CBS television show "Undercover Boss," CEOs disguise themselves and work, anonymously, on the lower rungs, or even in entry-level jobs, in their own companies. This affords them a first-hand experience of not only what their employees do, but what they have to endure. Tomorrow night (Sun. Jan. 22) Dina Dwyer-Owens, chief executive of the Dwyer Group, ends up doing some landscaping, replaces a hot water heater and repairs a stove, among other tasks. Like many of the CEOs, Ms. Dwyer-Owens, who is also a devout Catholic, learns a great deal about how much stress her employees deal with on a regular basis while holding down their jobs. Kerry Weber, associate editor of America, spoke with Ms. Dwyer-Owens about her experience on the job(s) and how her Catholic faith influences her work. The interview has just been posted in our online Culture section.
Weber: The episode also showed you going into church to pray, and it sounds like your Catholic faith is a big part of your life. How does that affect the way you run your business?
Dwyer-Owens Oh, everything. Even this morning before I came to work I was at Mass. It was great, because it was a kid’s mass. It’s one of my favorites because I can always understand the homily. My faith has been a growing process for me as it is for everyone. My mother raised me to go to church on Sundays, and it was enough to go to church on Sundays. As I grew in my leadership role at the Dwyer Group I always relied on my faith. A reporter for Glamour magazine once was doing an article on successful “she-e-o’s.” She asked me what my three secrets to success were, and the first thing that came to my mind was my faith. I am only good at a couple of things, to be frank, so I really rely on my faith to guide me and lead me in the right direction and to help me treat people with kindness and respect no matter what role in our company they play. Faith has always played a role in my life, but today moreso than ever, because you’ve got to keep balance, and the one way I keep balance is to go to Mass regularly. It just keeps things in perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the activities of life and when I go to mass it just settles me. It’s getting that reinforcement of here’s what’s important: serve others. So whatever I do today it’s about serving others.