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Beautiful Lake Geneva, WI was the ideal setting for the 2019 Midwest Staffing Owners and Executives Retreat. A stormy night greeted the first guests arriving at The Abbey Resort on Wednesday evening, but by morning, the rain had departed, and everyone anticipated a fun social event aboard the restored Steam Yacht Louise in the late afternoon. Until then, there were exciting sessions to attend. The retreat provided two days of learning opportunities from dynamic speakers with a wealth of experience to share.



Leo Sheridan

Day One was kicked off by Leo Sheridan, founder and CEO of Advanced Group. Leo presented “Success Story Showcase“, in which he described the business model he employed to build and grow a leading nationwide staffing firm. Advanced Group leverages over 30 years of expertise in talent acquisition, staffing and outsourcing solutions to operate the Advanced Group family of brands. The Advanced Group provides corporate services such as Marketing, Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, IT and Operations to each of our brands, which include Advanced ClinicalWunderland Group, and Advanced RPO.

Hope Bradford


Hope Bradford, Sr. Director of Information Technology at Kelly Services, presented “2019 Technology Tools Your Staffing Firm Can’t Live Without“. In this presentation, Hope introduced some new tech solutions for staffing companies, and discussed the navigation of essential technologies for today’s staffing needs. Hope has more than 20 years of experience in the staffing industry, with expertise in designing automated tech solutions that compliment business operations.


Deborah Milhaupt

Following lunch, the program continued with “From Ideas to Reality: Building a New Hire Training Program” presented by Deborah Milhaupt, Director of Learning and Development at Advanced Group. Deborah was part of the team that launched “Foundations”, a training program at Advanced Group that had had enormous impact on the success of new producers. Through Foundations, new hires learn the processes, tools, technologies and best practices needed to excel in their roles. It was fascinating to hear the story of how this training program was created and operationalized.


Meg Laundry

The final session on Day One was a panel discussion, “Key Elements to Building Value in Your Company” moderated by Meg Laundry. Formerly a Managing Partner of Smart Resources and Accountable Search, Meg is currently consulting as the interim Vice President of business development and innovation for Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, a public-private partnership working to match businesses with qualified, unemployed and underemployed job seekers.

Panelists for this session were Steve Drexel, President and CEO of Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Leo Sheridan, founder and CEO of Advanced Group, and Dan Johnson, Vice President of Accounting Services at Coveted Financial Services. This fine group of business leaders provided valuable insight into understanding, building and evaluating value in a company.

Steve Drexel

Dan Johnson

Leo Sheridan


As the afternoon sessions wrapped up, it was time for some fun on Geneva Lake! Boaters headed down to the pier, where the Steam Yacht Louise was docked and ready. The bar was open and hors d’oeuvres were plentiful for the 3-hour cruise. Best of all, the sun appeared as Louise left the pier and ensured that all had a great time as they cruised past the summer homes of the Wrigleys, Sears and Maytag families of nearly 150 years ago.

Stone Manor, the largest home ever built on Lake Geneva. Finished in 1901, it had a large ballroom and hand-carved dining table. It has recently been converted to 6 luxury condominiums.

Here is a bit of that history:

In October 1871, the Great Chicago Fire ravaged the Windy City, destroying thousands of acres of property, rendering nearly a third of residents homeless and leaving the city dirtier than ever. Wealthy families like the Maytags sought to escape the smoldering metropolis and opted to erect luxurious “cottages” along the shores of Lake Geneva. Eventually it became tradition that women and children would summer here while working men shuttled back and forth on the train, cementing Lake Geneva as the go-to getaway for affluent Chicagoans like the Wrigleys.

For a glimpse of these spectacular estates, click here: Top 10 Lake Geneva Mansions


Enjoying the view

Networking is going on here

Drinks flowed and the artichoke dip was devoured, along with the melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin.


Favorite appetizer? The little brats with beer shots, of course! When in Wisconsin…


As the wind picked up and waves got bigger, the captain steered Louise back to shore. By that time, there was quite a lightning show over the lake and a big storm was brewing. Was it the end of the party? Not by a long shot… Still in a partying mood, some of the group ventured over to play pool at Chuck’s, some had a late snack at the hotel’s Waterfront Bar, and others found a band and danced the night away.












Day Two began with Diane Poljak presenting “The Value of Employee Engagement (hint: Priceless!)” They say Diane is a rockstar, and we now know this is true! She is a Senior VP and Staffing Practice Leader at Assurance. Creating a “best place to work” culture is a key distinguishing factor that can elevate your staffing company to the next level. In her presentation, Diane promised and delivered these objectives:

      • Learn fun and cost-effective strategies for boosting employee engagement
      • Explore your role in becoming a best place to work
      • Discover what it takes to achieve maximum impact and drive organizational change
      • Determine the ROI behind an engaged corporate culture (namely employee recruitment and retention)



Rob Mosley

How do individuals become a unified, high-performing team? This was the focus of Rob Mosley‘s two-part presentation, “Breaking Barriers-Building Teams”. This program is designed for leaders, managers and individual contributors looking for better ways to leverage professional knowledge, influence people and more effectively manage processes in cross-functional teams. Rob explored both IQ and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) in the modules of:

      • Building Trust
      • Mastering Conflict
      • Achieving Commitment
      • Embracing Accountability
      • Focusing on Results


Participants found great value in the sessions offered at the 2019 Midwest Staffing Owners and Executives Retreat, which offered an outstanding opportunity to learn, share, and collaborate. We want to especially thank our industry partners who make such exceptional programming possible:

Visit our website at www.issaworks.com and watch for more exciting events!

Email ISSA info@issaworks.com   |   Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1228, Westmont, IL 60559