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Reach High is a series brought to you by High Foundation that introduces you to business and nonprofit leaders who are thoughtfully innovating with a spirit of servant leadership.
Whether driving a bright orange Volkswagen bus or sponsoring the YWCA Race Against Racism, Peter Barber actively participates in building community. Faithful readers of Fig may know Barber as one of “the Dudes” who owns Two Dudes Painting Company with his business partner, Brian McCaskey. Two Dudes is a Certified B Corporation and an example of innovation and service, as they live up to their mission of being a force for good. Community engagement is part of their brand, getting involved in arts initiatives and always lending a hand in their neighborhood—acting as a COVID-19 clinic, a polling place, and even a spay and neuter location.
“No community can exist if you don’t have members contributing back to it,” Peter said. “If everybody’s trying to take from the community, it’s not going to thrive, so I have a sense of obligation to be doing something. I can’t be just a taker. I’ve got to be a giver too.”
Barber sees his leadership role as a perfect opportunity to positively impact the lives of the Two Dudes employees, their customers, and the surrounding community. He has served as the Chair of the Board for the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Lancaster City Alliance for many years. Today Barber serves as a Board Member for SoWe (Lancaster’s Southwest Neighborhood organization) and ASSETS (a nonprofit agency that supports inclusive entrepreneurship). He believes leadership skills continually develop over a lifetime and that one should commit to learning and modeling. For Barber, this looks like listening and learning from his team at Two Dudes while modeling the behavior and work ethic he expects.
“I’m not above doing anything,” he said. “If I came to your house today, there’s a good chance that I’d be sweeping the floor, cleaning things up, laying out drop cloths, helping get projects started. Good leadership is not being afraid to do all the simple things.”
The brand of leadership Barber encourages requires humility and patience. Barber uses running to explain his leadership philosophy. “People think of running as solitary, but it’s a team sport,” he said. “I run with [my club] because they’re way better than me, and they push me in ways that I couldn’t push myself. [Similarly] I have a bunch of business peers, and I learn and grow from them.”
A marathon runner, Barber believes that leadership is about knowing people and what interests, motivates, and inspires them. He recognizes his team’s talents and strengths and empowers them to lead. Barber is proud to be a part of the group of leaders at Two Dudes who are doing creative and impactful work in their community as they model a better way to do business.
The Reach High series is brought to you by High Foundation. Find out more about their mission to be a Bridge to Opportunity for the Lancaster community at highfoundation.org.