It’s the holiday season and the opportune time to give to the community in which you work. Getting together as a company to help others is not only a great deed in itself, but it also inspires teamwork and cultural growth in the group. We sat down with Sal Ferro of Alure Home Improvements to discuss his especially prolific community outreach efforts, and how he fights (figuratively and literally) for his company and employees to be better and work harder.

The surprising part—I expected to talk about Sal’s achievements in the community. They’re regular and ongoing. However, it turns out that philanthropy is really a cultural decision at its roots.

Sal: It starts with the culture. And it starts with the culture within the business; the understanding among the employees, management, and ownership that we’re not just about making money. If you have a culture in your company of giving, generosity, and philanthropy, it allows you to do the things you do. I can be as generous as I want, but if I haven’t built the company culture of the people around me that are the same, then it’s not going anywhere.

MB: This culture: is it about hiring the right people with the right character? Is it something that your employees are happy to do, even as you get bigger and busier? Or do you have to inspire along the way?

Sal: I think it’s a combination of everything you said. When I hire people, I talk upfront about the culture and the type of company we are, about motivations, understanding, and working together, and all going in the same direction for a common goal. Right away they’re saying ‘This is the kind of place I want to be part of.’ Then the other part is exposing it to them. Starting with the right people, going out there and leading by example, and reinforcing what we do with our culture—those are the things that inspire the company. They juice everyone up. It excites them; they want to be a part of it. If we kept it to ourselves, how’s that trickling through the ranks of the company? So walk the walk, lead by example, hire the right people, and totally be inclusive with what you’re doing.

Sal stands as a fantastic example of someone using community service not only as a platform for good deeds and helping others, but also to build the core of his business. Defining your company culture is one step, but actually putting it into practice gives it purpose. Both take time, energy, and persistence. In the last 6 months, we’ve re-written and re-thought our culture code a handful of times. It’s always worth the effort.

In the next part of this interview, we’ll share Sal’s thoughts on how to get started (and continue) with helping the community. It’s all about balance, support, passion, and hard work. Update: Read Part 2 of our interview with Sal HERE!