Heather Howitt, the CEO of Oregon Chai (#18 on the 2000 Inc. 500 list), makes her toughest business calls during her morning jog through the park.
Heather Howitt knows how to make tough phone calls. Every day, when the CEO of Oregon Chai (#18) goes for a run in Portland's Forest Park, she brings her cell phone and makes her most stressful calls as she slows to a walk through the country's largest urban park. Howitt uses this technique when she has to fire a vendor, discipline an employee, or make any of "those calls that have been eating at me for a week," she says. The relaxed atmosphere helps her defuse the tension, she adds. "When I'm out jogging, it's like a combination of meditation and recess. That's where I can collect my thoughts, and because I'm relaxed, I can think and speak more clearly."