When I first met Anan Abu-Taleb, I knew nothing about him and very little of Oak Park. I had just moved here and hoped to find a job within walking distance of my new place. We sat down together on a hot July afternoon for my final interview at Maya Del Sol, which I thought to be more of a formality. In my experience, "replaceable" is the word most owners associate with servers, so taking the time to meet them is often quick and meaningless.
This was not the case here. Anan wanted to get to know me and wanted me to know him. As I began to realize I was going to see more of this guy than I originally thought, I also began to realize what kind of place Anan strived to make Maya Del Sol. He had a vision for Maya and painted it well for those who listened. We talked about the importance of seeing things through other's eyes and understanding their feelings. We talked about genuine customer service and how he wanted guests to feel when they come into Maya and when they leave. We talked about getting to know the people we serve and how you never know who you're talking to, so treat everyone with the same respect.
Having now worked for Anan and his family for almost three years, I know that none of this was lip-service. He represents all of these ideas not only as a smart businessman but as a thoughtful and caring human being.
I believe these are the characteristics that help make a great leader and for this, I am excited Anan is running for village president. A person who is not only hardworking and educated but thoughtful, caring and genuine is what every community needs as a leader. Oak Park has the opportunity to elect such a person — Anan Abu-Taleb.
Answer Book 2017
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