The excitement for the first Midwest Staffing Owner/Executive Retreat had been building for months. Finally, the day came when key owners and executives gathered at The Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for two days of learning and comradery.
The event was organized by the Illinois Search & Staffing Association and the Wisconsin Association of Staffing Services (WASS). Sponsors for the event were: Assurance, Automated Business Designs, CareerBuilder, Essential StaffCare, Haley Marketing, and TFI Resources. The chairperson team was led by John Seelander, Vice President of The Plus Group, Inc. headquartered in Woodridge, IL. Chairpersons for the event were members of WASS and ISSA. Attendees hailed from several states.
Kris Swanson, Managing Partner of Flex Execs Management Solutions echoed attendee responses with her recap of the event. “What a wonderful experience you provided at the recent Owners Retreat in Lake Geneva. The information-packed sessions provided valuable data on topics of vital interest to staffing company owners and managers for their day-to-day operations, and their long-term plans. In addition, the opportunities to network with peers and industry experts were invaluable. I’ve made some new friends, and rekindled business relationships. I absolutely plan to attend next year’s event! Keep up the great work.”
The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Terri Kosecki, President of ISSA. This was followed by a greeting from Monica Morrissey, Executive Director of WASS. Next, John Seelander welcomed attendees and thanked all sponsors for their support. John went on to provide some preliminary instructions for the day and then introduced Judy Collins, General Manager of TFI Resources.
Judy Collins of TFI Resources introduced Robin Mee, President & Founder of Mee Derby and Kim Whiteley, Executive Recruiter and Directo
r of Mee Derby. Robin and Kim presented an informative session on Compensation Trends in Staffing. Recommendations were offered on how companies can align their compensation plans with the market and understand what candidates want out of a compensation plan. The topic also included various plan scenarios and commission distribution. The intriguing presentation allowed all attendee leaders to get involved with questions and their stories. Participation was at a high level.
Next, David Searns, CEO of Haley Marketing, greeted the group and introduced Al De Bellas, founder and President of De Bellas & Co., who would present Why We Need Success Planning Now! The presentation covered a number of different topics describing circumstances that revealed how critical planning can make the difference between business success and failure. De Bellas recounted actual experience with clients in case studies of sudden death, disability and illness, as well as divorce or termination of business relationships. Al’s session provided a strong forum for discussion and an abundance of questions from leaders present.
After Al’s presentation, Terri Roeslmeier, President of Automated Business Designs, introduced David Searns, CEO of Haley Marketing, who would present the World’s Fastest Marketing Lesson during the fabulous plated lunch.
David’s spell bounding presentation illustrated the most critical ways to market your firm. The presentation covered strateg
ic lead generation, a practical game plan for social media, “best practices” for search engine marketing and how to use the 4 R’s of recruiting to get your bang for the buck. Leaders were able to ask some of their toughest marketing questions. Presentation illustrations aided in understanding the various marketing concepts delivered.
After lunch, Matt Dodaro, Major Account Executive of CareerBuilder introduced Paul Siker, CEO of Advanced Recruiting Trends who would present Leveraging the StrengthFinder Assessment as a Leader and Cultivate the Strengths of Your Team Part 1. Leaders were asked to complete an assessment on-line before the event to help them get the most out of the session.
Siker talked about daily challenges that need to be addressed, good decisions, engagement with clients and candidates, staff collaboration and business efficiency. Investing in developing and refining individual strengths and abilities was highlighted as a key component for business success and management. Leaders learned about “playing to our strengths” to consciously and thoughtfully pursue their work. In this session, Paul helped participants better understand and thoughtfully leverage their own natural strengths and competencies. He also discussed how leaders can better appreciate and enhance associate performance by identifying, harnessing and nurturing existing strengths and capabilities. Leaders were interested and engaged in this dynamic symposium of discussion.
The afternoon sessions were wrapped up as Patty Casey, President of Arlington Resources, provided instructions on how to get to the boat for an afternoon cruise on beautiful Lake Geneva. The weather could not have been better for t
he 2-hour excursion on the Steam Yacht Louise a wonderful vessel built in 1902 and restored so that all can experience the elegance of Lake Geneva’s Golden Era. Her charm comes not only from polished brass and gleaming mahogany, but also from the engineer operating a vintage steam engine as you glide across the water. Interesting landmarks were pointed out as the group cruised along the shoreline. Leaders enjoyed unlimited snacks and beverages aboard.
The day was wrapped up with a sumptuous dinner at Gordy’s Cobalt Lounge, organized by Monica Morrissey of WASS. The evening featured appetizers, a huge buffet dinner and succulent desserts, including a “to die for” chocolate cake. Beverages were bountiful as sponsors passed out drink tickets to all that were present. Friendly conversation and note comparison based upon the day’s events made for the perfect nightcap.
Day Two started out with a bang as John Seelander thanked sponsors once again and introduced Paul Siker for Part 2 of Leveraging the Strengthfinder Assessment as a Leader and Cultivate the Strengths of Your Team.
Next, Tony Colucci, Account Executive at Assurance Agency introduced Jay Shelton, Senior Vice President, Risk Management for Assurance Agency and Niki Vargas, Chief Technology Officer of Switchfast Technologies both to talk about CyberRisks.
With security risks at the top of everyone’s mind today, the CyberRisk session provided detailed information on how businesses can protect themselves against todays’ cyber volatile climate. This insightful presentation reviewed breaches at major retailers, security, liability concerns and more. Specific risks were discussed along with potential exposure and the costs that are associated with those risks. The session outlined how safeguards can be put into place. Cyber risks are a reality that must be addressed by every business. Leaders were informed that every business is subject to risk and that small businesses were a target and not immune to the dangers of cyber risks. Leaders walked away with a working knowledge of how to mitigate cyber risks in their businesses.
Bill Fann, Senior Sales Executive of Essential StaffCare introduced the lunch speaker, Glenna Cose Brin, President of AllianceStaff, LLC. and NAPS Board Member who talked about State of the Industry.
Glenna’s discussion illustrated what we might expect during the balance of this year and the year ahead. The insightful presentation brought together Glenna’s experience from her successful career of hiring, training and mana
ging with her exposure to a wide variety of current trends by her association with the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS). She talked about recruiting challenges and the highly competitive quest for top talent. The presentation illustrated how competitiveness is clearly linked to the creation of better systems of talent identification, deployment, development and advocacy. The talk promoted innovative practices that firms use with success that can be shared.
To close, John Seelander thanked everyone for coming. Finally, Terri Kosecki, President of ISSA thanked John Seelander for all of his hard work chairing the event and also thanked everyone else who volunteered their help, the dynamic speakers and the leaders who attended. Tony Colucci wrapped up with a word about Golf at Abbey Springs. The group applauded in agreement that it was a phenomenal two days that were well spent at the first Midwest Owner/Executive Retreat. Leaders would go back to their work places with new insights, refreshed thoughts and an eagerness to be even more successful!
Janet Sloan, President, Seville Staffing sums up the event: “This was a not-to-be-missed event. It gave owners and key executives a forum to learn, discuss, and laugh about the many challenges facing us in today’s staffing. Thank you ISSA and WASS for putting this retreat together.”