Lynda Ellis, president and CEO of Capitol Concierge
, recently received a 2013 Enterprising Women of the Year award from Enterprising Women
magazine. Ellis received the award because of her company's growth in revenue, her leadership in the local and broader communities and her mentoring of other women in business.
"It was a great honor and a great surprise," says Ellis. "I thought it was national, but it was actually international. The award was for women who continue to mentor, coach and philanthropically make a difference. I met some really dynamic women at the award ceremony in Ft. Lauderdale."
Capitol Concierge is the nation's largest provider of concierge services for commercial properties. Headquartered in the District, the company serves more than 100,000 clients. Though Ellis wants to respect her members' privacy, she does reveal that Google is one of her latest clients. "They are an interesting client," she explains. "They are very focused on work-life balance and on retaining talent."
The focus on work-life balance is a trend Ellis sees across the board, and it marks a change in the type of services Capitol Concierge used to provide when she first came aboard in 1998 as the executive vice president. "We used to provide flowers, gift baskets, event planning services and tickets for events," Ellis says. "Now, we help with pet sitting, dog walking, watering plants, cleaning houses and taking kids from school to doctors' appointments."
She also attributes the shift to a change in demographics, as the "sandwich generation" is called upon to "work harder, work longer hours and do more with less. People have even less time than before," Ellis explains. "It's wonderful to know that we can make a difference in people's lives," whether that means picking Mom up from the airport and making sure there is food in her fridge or fulfilling more outlandish requests.
Such as? "The goat!" laughs Ellis. "We do anything anyone asks of us, as long as it's legal and ethical. There's a reason for that. One of our clients was having a big party for a friend in New York who was turning 50. He asked us to find a goat, transport it to New York for the party, deliver it and then find a comfortable place for it to live out its natural life after the party."
Ellis acquiesced, delivering the animal, complete with a sign reading "Happy Birthday, You Old Goat!" and bow around its neck. The goat then retired to a location upstate and lived a long life.
Looking forward, Ellis says that Capitol Concierge is anticipating international expansion in the first quarter of 2014. "We want to grow," she says. "That's our vision."