Posts Tagged ‘Amy Clegg’

A Unique Experience at an Express Pros Webinar

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

A Unique Experience of Belonging and Learning at an Express Pros Webinar

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2016
The Face of America Project
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. Max de Pree

Destination: Johnson College

Johnson College is one of the premier institutions of learning in northeastern Pennsylvania. It has been serving the need of students since 1912. On this fall morning, Kitch and I drove to thishealth-sience-tech-johnson-college beautiful campus to attend a special “Lunch & Learn” event featuring Atty. Julie Donahue, a member of the Philadelphia law firm Olgetree and Deakins and motivational speaker and author Eric Chester.

This unique learning experience was organized by Amy Clegg and her staff at the Express Pros office in Scranton.

A Roadmap for Change

Attorney Julie Donahue is a soft-spoken, analytical person. She received her undergraduate degree jad_0109from Loyola College in Maryland and her lawdegree with honors from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

According to her colleagues at the Philadelphia law firm Olgetree and Deakins, “she represents employers in a broad spectrum of employment-related matters including matters involving Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, as well as many other federal and state employment discrimination laws.”

She also handles matters relating to wrongful discharge, breach of contract and grievance arbitrations.

On this November morning, she informed her audience about the new Department of Labor overtime regulations that will go into effect in December. According to Atty. Donahue, the Department ofad-handout-1 Labor has been broadening the legal rights and protections afforded to workers through its power to administer several statutes.

To help people better understand the complexities of these changes, she provided everyone in the room with a printed copy of her 34 page PowerPoint presentation.

Her presentation was well organized, and she took the time to answer questions and clarify how employers could get prepared for these changes without alienating anyone.

She shared an invaluable a 10 page, 17 point handout that defined all of the new regulations including:

A new Minimum Salary Threshold of $47,476;ad-handout-2
Inclusion of Bonuses and Incentive Pay when
Calculating Salary;
Indexing Every Three Years Starting January 1, 2020;
Total Compensation Requirement for HCE Exemption
Increases to $134,004;
No Changes to Duties Test;
Increasing Salaries to Meet the New Threshold;
Overtime as a Reward;
Updating and Revising Job Descriptions and Job Titles;
Changes in Pay Structures for Employees Converted to Nonexempt;
Job Titles that Now Will Include Both Exempt and
Nonexempt Employees;
Reporting Payroll Errors;
Limitations on Hours Worked;
Adjusting the Worksheet;
Who Should Communicate This Information to
Individual and Group Communications;
Communications Regarding Timekeeping.

She distributed another 10 page handout entitled “The New Overtime Exemption Regulations Facts and Flowcharts.” It outlined the following:ad-handout-3

Executive Employee Test;
Administrative Employee Test;
Learned Professional Employee Test;
Creative Professional Employee Test;
Computer Professional Employee Test
Highly Compensated Employee Test;
Outside Sales Employee Test.

The handout also included two pages of Definitions and Examples.

Her topic was complicated, but she found a way to make sure everyone in attendance had a better understanding of the many nuances of the new overtime regulations, but she did not stop there. In her thoughtful way, she made sure that everyone had printed materials that would help clarify the issues long after the conference ended.

When John Ruskin wrote these words, he was describing Atty. Julie Donahue:

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

How to Attract and Retain the Best and The Brightest

“Everyone should ask themselves everyday… “What am I doing today, to make my craft better?” – Eric Chester.

ec-on-fire_0214Eric Chester started his professional career as a teacher and coach. Today he is a celebrated motivational speaker and writer. To help leaders end entitlement and restore pride in the emerging workforce, he founded The Work Ethic Development Center. The centerpiece of this popular work ethic training curriculum is a training and certification program entitled Bring Your A-Game to Work. It is used in schools, universities and workforce centers.

These are a few of the books Eric Chester has written:

Reviving Work Ethic – A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Workforce

Employing Generation Why: Understanding, Managing, and Motivating Your New Workforce

Getting Them to Give a Damn: How to Get Your Front Line to Care about Your Bottom Line

On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People without Burning Them Out.

On this day, he called upon all of these sources to craft a presentation which he titled From Rookie to Superstar. The foundation for his presentation can be found in these three sentences:

Work has degenerated to little more than a four letter word; a necessary evil. It’s no longer viewed as something to be proud of, but rather something to disdain, to shortcut, or to elude all together…It’s time to revive work ethic. – Eric Chester.

Setting the Tone

To set the tone for his remarks and to help people better understand his central thesis, he told a story about Bob Knops a Korean War veteran who worked at Twin City Wire Company for 59 years. Mr.img_0118 Knops never missed a day of work.

Mr. Knops’ accomplishment grew out of his work ethic. He was positive and enthusiastic. He showed up for work on time. He was dressed and prepared properly. He did more than was required of him. He was honest, and he played by the rules. He was pleasant and he gave friendly service.

Several times during his remarks Eric Chester highlighted the seven elements that comprise a positive and productive work ethic:

Being Positive;work-ethic-slide_all_fc

Being Reliable;

Being Professional;

Taking the Initiative;

Showing Respect;

Having Integrity;

Expressing Gratitude.

Instilling those seven attributes into the hearts and minds of the emerging workforce is the key to keeping our companies, and our country, stable and prosperous.

For America’s young employees, work ethic is the key to success, whether they are flipping burgers, roofing houses, checking a patient’s blood pressure, or piloting spacecraft or NASA. -Eric Chester

The Importance of Values in the Workplace

For Eric Chester, the essentials of work ethic are core values not skills, “Therefore we can say that knowing the right thing to do, and then doing it.”

Using a special graphic, he explained how important values are in the workplace.

When employees know what to dovalued_0141
and they don’t do anything, they
are idle and not of much value to

When employees don’t know what
to do but they take a chance and do
something that happens to be of
value, they are lucky

When an employee knows what to
do and they don’t do it or worse
they do the opposite, they are

When an employee knows what to
do and they do it, they have value
to their employer.

Great leaders know how to move their employees up and over to the value quadrant. They show their employees how to end entitlement and how to restore pride in the workforce. Eric Chester

Practical Matters

Eric Chester introduced a very important issue with this question:

What do you expect out of your job?

He used an effective slide to answer the question. It had seven elements:



Career Growth;

Learn More;


Open Communication;


Then he effectively related these objectives to the seven elements of the work ethic. According to Chester, when both sides’ needs are met, it is called engagement.

He transitioned to another important matter with these questions:

How do your employees evaluate you and how does your company compare against your competitors? These questions reveal one of Eric Chester’s most strongly held beliefs:

The best way to recruit is to offer an unbeatable culture.

best-cultures_0151With that fundamental truth in mind, he shared information he obtained by interviewing the executives of companies who repeatedly earn the designation of the best companies to work for in America. Some of his examples were:

The Container Store, a company that believes that one great employee is worth three mediocre employees;

The Mars Company where everyone including executives clock in every day, and you are rewarded if you clock in early rather than disciplined for being late;

Wegman’s is considered to be one of the best places to work in America. Everyone in the company has an employee growth path to get to the next level;

The Apple Store is one of Eric Chester’s favorite examples. It hires “geniuses” not sales clerks, and its culture is deeply rooted in acknowledgement.

Chester posed another important question: “How do you find the best people?”

At first glance, his suggestion was somewhat unorthodox: “Stop fishing and start hunting;” “Know what you want for each and every position, and what it takes to succeed;” Identify your bestaphorism_0190 employees and hunt their friends;” “Establish relationships with schools that are in your vicinity, and hunt these schools for their best prospects;” “Hunt the military. There are 20 million veterans in the US;” ” Hunt the competition.”

He pulls no punches. He is quick to admit that it takes time and money to get good employees, but you only get out what you put in.

The words of Dale Carnegie best describe Eric Chester and his presentation:

Live an active life among people who are doing worthwhile things, keep eyes and ears and mind and heart open to absorb truth, and then tell of the things you know, as if you know them. The world will listen, for the world loves nothing so much as real life.

Eric Chester relates to people of all ages because he is genuine.

One can best describe the atmosphere of this Express Employment Professionals Webinar event by paraphrasing the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The beauty and meaningfulness of this event is found in the reality that your needs are universal needs. You are not isolated from anyone. You belong.

On this special day we experienced America at its very best, and for this wonderful learning experience we want to thank:

Amy Clegg; Owner, Express Pros, Scranton; amy-team_0221

Nikki Schake, Director of Community Engagement, Express Pros, Scranton;

Brittany Pagnotti, Business Developer, Express Pros, Scranton;

Roseann Martinetti- Career Services, Johnson College;

Jocelyn Irizarry- Director of Recruitment, Express Pros, Scranton;

Kate Fajardo- Staffing Consultant, Express Pros, Scranton;

Lee Yeomans- Director of Operations Express Pros Scranton;

Tracey Pratt- Advancement Specialist, Johnson College;

Jessie- Johnson College photographer;

Richard Jalil- Parking Lot Attendant, Express Pros, Scranton; Associate;

Atty. Julie Donahue;

Eric Chester.

You are the Face of America on its best day, and we are in your debt.

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Learning about Leadership and Community

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Learning about Leadership and Community at an Express Pros Webinar

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2016
The Face of America Project
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter

Destination: Dickson City

On a beautiful August morning, our Face of America journey took us to the McCann School of Business in Dickson City, PA. We went there to participate in a webinar featuring JackMcCannSBDC Smalley, the director of HR Learning and Development for Express Employment Professionals.

The event was organized by Amy Clegg and her staff at the Express Pros office in Scranton.

When we arrived, Brittany Pagnotti, Rameika Jones and Nikki Schake were attending to all the little details that would make the event a success.

In our opinion, the venue was perfect. The atmosphere was welcoming. The food was delicious, and the sense of community was genuine.

At the appointed hour, Evan Miller, the Campus Director of the McCann School of Business, welcomed everyone with these gracious words; “We are happy you are here.”

A Very Special Moment

It has always been our pleasure to celebrate the accomplishments of Amy Clegg and her Alexis Shotwellteam, but this time she turned the tables on us with an announcement that took us by surprise.

By nature, Amy is a giving person. She likes to help others get ahead. On this special occasion, she introduced Alexis Shotwell to the audience. Alexis is a student at the McCann School of Business. She wants to specialize in early childhood education.

When Alexis came to the front of the room, Amy told the audience that Alexis would receive the first annual Dr. Tony and Mrs. Kitch Mussari Leadership Scholarship. The moment belonged to Alexis. The surprise belonged to Kitch and me. No words can accurately describe the expression of delight on Alexis’s face, and the feeling of gratitude in our hearts for this honor.

Priceless Thoughts from Patricia L. Camayd

Being a good listener is central to employee engagement, retention and productivity.

Patricia L. Camayd is the Business Manager for Oliver Price & Rhodes Attorneys at Law. When she was a child she overcame shyness, and she became a good listener. Today shePatricia fully appreciates the importance of being a good listener. It is central to employee engagement, retention and productivity.

What is not said is often more important that what is said.

At the same time, she understands the importance of effective communications with employees. It is more than texts or e-mails. Effective communications is deeply rooted in the art of listening which requires these important elements: the elimination of distractions; the ability to read between the lines; eye contact; the ability to ask the right questions; showing respect; avoiding commentary or interjection; and matching the employee with the proper training and educational programs.

It is important to recognize and express gratitude to employees.

To move forward with employee engagement and aligned goals, it is important to think win win. Celebrate your joint and continued success. Say thank you as many ways as you can imagine is always a good idea.

Employees cherish personal letters that recognize their accomplishments.

Patricia Communication

These are a few of the things Patricia does to build effective employee relationships.

Establish mentorship programs.

Hold regular individual meetings for professional development.

Establish recognition programs, wellness programs, health and relaxation techniques.

Conduct team building exercises.

Encourage employees to write attributes about others which contribute to the organization to be read publically.

She ended her presentation with an excerpt from the poem Desiderata:

With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. Max Ehrmann

Jack Smalley’s Sage Advice

We are defined by who we are after we make a mistake.

Jack Smalley is the Director of HR Learning and Development for ExpressJack Poster Employment Professionals. For more than a generation Jack has been doing all he can to improve the workplace environment. He is best described by this observation from Brian Tracy:

Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.
On this day, Jack addressed The Top 5 Leadership Mistakes.

Mistake 1

Do not assume that your best employees do not need recognition. According to Jack, your best employees need and deserve recognition. Employees and supervisors should be given credit where credit is due.

Mistake 2

Don’t accept mediocre performance from C employees. Lowering the bar for the C employees who make up about 50% of the workforce will not move the organization forward. Overloading the A performers who make up 20% of the workforce is not the answer. There is no such thing as a good employee with a bad attitude.

Mistake 3

Dictator Decision Makers will not improve the work environment.

Referencing a famous quote by Sir Francis Bacon, Knowledge is power, Jack made the case for embracing people who think differently. He believes that great leaders know the value of maverick thinkers. Great leaders enable people to be different.

Mistake 4

Great leaders know how to communicate effectively.

Jack Smalley

Employees need to know what is going on. An employee deserves honesty. When it comes to leadership, everything is on the table.

The messenger is as important as the message especially when the message is bad news.

The top communication mistake is not telling the truth.

Mistake 5

The failure to mentor employees is a critical mistake.

In a compelling way, Jack used his own experience to demonstrate the importance of mentoring. His grandfather advised him to find something in life you enjoy. His father was his best friend. As a fire chief, he lived by these words: Don’t ask people to do things you are not willing to do yourself.

When Jack was 12 years old, he admired the quarterback of the high school football team. Every Saturday, he would meet with Sammy Dugger who mentored Jack. This was a priceless experience. It enabled Jack to become a successful football player in his own right, and it documented virtually all of the characteristics of successful mentoring.

Relationships matter. There is not a leader on earth who can succeed without employees_1 sharing information. You must surround yourself with good people, and you must be credible. Avoid anonymity. At all cost, take a personal interest in people.

Jack’s greatest mentor is his wife. She taught him the greatest lesson. Live family first.

When Jack mentioned David Cottrell’s book I thought about a famous quote from Monday Morning Leadership. It is a perfect description of Jack Smalley’s leadership philosophy:

Leadership can’t be claimed like luggage at the airport. Leadership can’t be inherited, even though you may inherit a leadership position. And leadership can’t be given as a gift – even if you’ve been blessed with an abundance of leadership skills to share with someone else. Leadership must be earned by mastering a defined set of skills and by working with others to achieve common goals. David Cottrell

The Express Employment Professionals Webinar event was an excellent example of what Jean Vainer wrote about community:

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.

On this special day we experienced America at its very best, and for this wonderful learning experience we want to thank:

Amy Clegg;
Amy Staff

Nikki Schake:

Brittany Pagnotti;

Rameika Jones;

Evan Miller;

Patricia L. Camayd:

Jack Smalley.

You are the Face of America on its best day, and we are in your debt.

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Express Clydesdales Bring People Together

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Express Clydesdales Bring People Together in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2016
All Rights Reserved

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom. Sharon Ralls Lemon

On a pleasant March afternoon, Kitch and I traveled to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs where we had the good fortune to participate in aHorses_7484 wonderful event featuring the World Champion Express Clydesdales.

In one respect we experienced a celebration of the grace and beauty of these magnificent horses. In another respect, we were drawn into a world of Irish culture that was joyful and heartwarming.

Hosted by Amy Clegg and Jeff Doran the event was designed to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network operated by the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania.

Amy owns and operates the Express Employment Professionals franchise in Scranton. Jeff is her counterpart. His Express office is located in Wilkes-Barre.

Amy and Jeff are excellent representatives of their company, and they reflect the light of compassion, kindness and professionalism in everything they do.

Those values and so many more were at the core of events that brought happiness and joy to everyone who attended the second visit of the Express Clydesdales to our little corner of the world. If you doubt the accuracy of that statement please look closely at the faces of the children and the adults in the pictures in our article.

This is our attempt to recreate the most memorable moments of this very special afternoon.

The Children’s Choir

At about 3:30 p.m., a group of children from the Small Wonders Children Singing_7122Learning Center in North Scranton faced an adoring crowd of parents, grandparents, friends, relatives and Tux, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins mascot, as they sang several songs with energy and enthusiasm.

Included in their repertoire were these favorites: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Lucky Leprechaun and Grand Old Flag.

As I watched these youngsters perform, the words of the internationally recognized master music educator Cheryl Lavender came to mind:

The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.

The Magic of Bagpipes

According to those who study Irish history, bagpipers were a significant part of ancient Irish society dating back to 35 B.C.Jim Amy Jeff_7205

To this day, the distinctive music of the bagpiper is central to Ireland and Irish culture. According to some historians, it is more popular around the world than ever.

In putting together the program for the Clydesdales visit, Jeff Doran made sure a bagpiper would be there to entertain the guests, and that’s exactly what his friend Jim Sweeney did.

Standing at the top of the stairs overlooking the racetrack and the Clydesdales adoring fans, he captivated everyone with the glorious sounds of his music.

While listening to Jim Sweeney, one thing became obvious. If you want to hear the spirit of the Celtic soul, listen to the bagpipes.

The National Anthem

When Jim Sweeney finished his performance, Nikki Schake, Director of Nikki_7227Community Engagement for Express Employment Professionals in Scranton, introduced Mary Scheller.

Mary is well known to people who have heard her perform. She has a unique talent that enables her to personalize the words of our National Anthem in a way that reinforces the larger meaning of who we are as a people and what makes our country unique.

I am not embarrassed to say that when she sings these words, chills run up and down my spine :

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

A Poignant Moment

Joanna Bowser is the Coordinator of the Children’s Miracle Network.


She told her audience that all of the money raised by her organization stays in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

She thanked the members of the Express family for their support, and then she introduced children and their parents who received life saving care in Geisinger programs.

A 15-year old girl name Kaitlin described her battle with cystic fibrosis and juvenile diabetes.

Peyton was 8-years old when she was in an automobile accident. She sustained life threatening injuries. The help and care she received saved her life.

Ashland was 8-years old when she sustained head injuries that necessitated brain and eye surgery.

Kaitlin’s mother Tanya touched everyone’s heart when she spoke these words:

“I am grateful for all that they do to save lives.”

Someone once said: The best things in life are not things, they are moments. Listening to the poignant stories told by these genuine heroes was one of those moments.

And the Winners Are:

A good part of the final hour of the event was dedicated to picking Coloring Contest_7364and announcing the winners of the various items that were part of the raffle.

Before that happened, Amy Clegg took great delight in presenting the winners of the coloring contest.

With exuberance and pride, the four youngsters who won this contest held their images high above their heads so everyone in the room could see their creations.

It was a joyful moment.

Jeff Doran joined Amy in the front of the room when the 20 raffle winners were picked. One by one they came to the front of the room to claim their prize. The most coveted prizes were the bicycles donated by the Walmart Supercenter in Dickson City.

Stepping Up

The Irish have a saying: Dance with your heart and yourStep Dancers_7434 feet will follow.

That’s exactly what the students from the Crossmolina School of Dance did at the Clydesdales event. All decked out in their colorful costumes, they performed to the lilting sounds of Celtic music. They were delightful to watch, and very entertaining.

Under the watchful eye of their instructor Maureen Murphy King, the dancers exuded high spirit and confidence.

There is another Irish saying: Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.

The performance of the Irish step dancers touched the hearts of everyone who saw them perform.

The Queen is Crowned

One of the most anticipated events of the afternoon happened shortly Crowning Q_7404before 6 p.m.

The Miss Express Clydesdales Queen is all about promoting entrepreneurship. leadership and mentoring opportunities for young women.

Three young women were selected as finalists in the first competition of its kind in the history of the company: Kady Hodge, a senior at Tunkhannock High School, Grace Penney, a senior at Crestwood High School and Rachel Jones, a junior at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre.

During the Clydesdales event they were judged as they mingled in the crowd greeting people and handing out lollypops and stickers. They also helped with other chores.

When the votes were tallied, Rachel Jones was 2nd runner up, Grace Penney was 1st runner up, and Kady Hodge was the first young woman to earn the title of Miss Express Clydesdales. She won a thousand dollar scholarship to the college of her choice.

Grace Penney won a five hundred dollar scholarship, and Rachel Jones received a basket of goodies and gift cards.

Throughout the entire afternoon, all three of these contestants presented themselves with great dignity, discipline and class.

With broad smiles on their faces, they walked to the track where the Clydesdales were waiting to take them on a 20 minute ride around the track.

A Memorable Day with a Joyful Ending

Early in the afternoon,while people were standing in line waiting to picture with horsehave their picture taken with a Clydesdale, I had a very interesting conversation the Mike Hoehner, Special Events Marketing Manager for the Express Clydesdales.

During our conversation, I asked Mike to define success.

He responded with these words: “I can tell you bluntly one cannot climb the ladder of success by stepping on the backs of people.”

He also told me he believed that successful people are servant leaders. They use their authority to serve others.

Successful leaders have a good mentor. Mike’s mentor is Jack Smalley, one of the most respected members of the Express leadership team.

As I watched the six Clydesdales pull the Express coach around theClydesdales_7534 track, I thought about Mike Hoehner’s words, and I looked beyond the obvious.

Yes, this was a fundraising event.

Yes, this was a community outreach event.

Yes, it was an entertainment event.

Amy Staff_7300

But in my heart and mind, it was much more.

It was an example of many of the values that make America great: belonging, caring, compassion, creativity, community, discipline, excellence, empathy, gratitude, industry, kindness, responsibility, thoughtfulness, understanding, and opportunity.

Amy Clegg and Jeff Doran personify the principles of servant leadership.

Jeff Staff_7320

They encourage, empower and help the people who work with them.

They heal wounds and restore relationships. They bring people together.

They value the relationships they have with Lee, Jocelyn, Kari, Mary, Nikki, Kathleen, Samantha, Holly and Vivian, and they treat them with respect. They appreciate the volunteers who helped to make this special afternoon so successful.

What Kitch and I saw on Friday afternoon can only be described as Express at its best and a beautiful community moment which exemplified America at its best.

Thank you, Amy Clegg;

Thank You, Jeff Doran;

Thank You, Mike Hoehner;

Thank You, Clydesdale’s Trainers;

Thank you to all of the Express Employment Professional employees in Scranton & Wilkes-Barre, and all of the Express Employment Professional associates and volunteers;

Thank you photographers Danielle Antonello, Julie Overholser and Warren Ruda and artist Diane Grant Czajkowski. It was a joy to work with you.

In 1954, Ronald Duncan captured the beauty of this day when he wrote these words:

The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.

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The Next Great Employer Challenge

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Highlights from Jack Smalley’s Visit to Scranton

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2015
All Rights Reserved

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

An Express Lead Event

Our Face of America journey took us to Scranton, Pennsylvania, on an overcast Thursday morning. Our destination was the Radisson Hotel. There we would have a reunion with two of our favorite people, AmyIMG_1_5668 Clegg and Jack Smalley.

Amy owns and operates the Express Employment Professionals office in Scranton. For six years she has been helping people find employment in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She and the members of her staff are caring, competent, innovative, and willing to do whatever they can to serve the best interests of their clients. Amy is a woman of dignity and class, and everything she does reflects her many qualities.

Jack is the Director of Human Resources Learning and Development for Express Employment Professionals. He is a perfect fit for this position. He is a good person who personifies the attributes of character-based leadership. He is genuine, personable, kind and loyal. His presentations are interesting because they are thoroughly researched. He is an effective speaker who speaks to the heart, soul and mind of the people in the audience.

On this special occasion, he addressed the complex issue of attracting and retaining the best talent for the company. He called it “The Next Great Employer Challenge.”

The Recruiting War of 2015


At the appointed hour, Amy walked to the podium to begin the session. She welcomed everyone in the audience, and she introduced her staff. She introduced the MC for the event, Marty Wolf, a radio talk show host, and he introduced the featured speaker, Jack Smalley.

Jack introduced his topic with a Power Point slide that read, The Recruiting War of 2015. He followed that attention getting statement with these facts:

This is the most volatile job market in years. The retention of top talent is a CEO’s greatest fear. Eighty percent of employees willIMG_5707_2 consider a job change. Forty percent will actually change jobs.

For the remainder of his presentation, Jack Smalley mesmerized everyone in the room with his low-key, fact-based, non-histrionic, storytelling style. These are some of the starred thoughts from his presentation:

The average company experiences 40 percent job turnover.

There is a great generational tsunami about to hit the American workforce. In the next few years, about 50 million employees will be transitioning out of the workplace. Most of them are baby boomers. The will be replace by 50-60 million millennials.

Connecting with Millwnnials

The millennials think and act differently. Their world is a social media intense world. Companies that want to employ and retain millennials must rethink their social media policy.

Millennials want to be judged on the work they get done. This creates a situation Jack calls the end of the 40-hour work week. Employees are no longer disconnected, and millennials want to work in companies that have and use the latest technology.

Even the signing bonus must change. Millennials prefer a technological device or an all-expense paid trip. To attract and retain millennials, the company must make the interview process and the first 90 days of employment a memorable experience. Another incentive would be a $1,000 first year anniversary gift.

One of Jack’s starred thoughts caught my attention. He put it this way, “Narrow the front door.” The cost of anIMG_5698 unengaged employee is 150 percent of the first year salary. Because 80 percent of turnover can be attributed to poor hiring practices, he advocates a much more careful and deliberate hiring process that considers fit first and culture second.

Attitude is another critical element in the hiring process. For Jack Smalley, there is no such thing as a good worker with a bad attitude. You cannot have good external customer service until you have good internal customer service. Effective internal customer service is deeply rooted in making employees feel special. Enable them to express their opinions. Provide them with access to the boss. Understand that the employee is the first customer!

To do this, make the employee performance survey more than an exercise. Use it to communicate honestly with employees and make it a platform for growth and development. Make sure the employee fully understands the company expectations, and let employees know how important they are.

All companies have a silver bullet. Jack identified it clearly and effectively as the supervisor. He also suggested making the supervisor a participant in the hiring process.

Engaging Millennials

For millennials the top two factors are the relationship with the Untitled-1boss and relationships with others. In 2025, 75 percent of American employees will be millennials. They are self confident, politically savvy, experts in global communication and social media. They enjoy social interaction at work. They do not enjoy weekly meetings. They prefer collaborative leadership. They want their opinions to be solicited and heard. They enjoy a challenge. They question authority. They want transparency. They want to interact with their boss, and they want to be measured on how they get the job done.

When he discussed the Millennial Generation, Jack made a very interesting point: “Millennials challenge what I am doing. They do not threaten me. They are going to make a great contribution to American companies. They are going to take us where we have never been.” Earlier in his presentation he made this statement: “Most employees don’t quit their companies. They quit their boss.” That comment reminded me of this insightful thought, “Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care.”

Jack was candid about the most obvious weakness of millennials.Mentors They need to get experience in face-to-face communication. They need to be mentored, but the mentoring process in the Millennial Era must be up and down. Jack believes that subordinates can bring you back to reality.

In his closing remarks, Jack made a very interesting point. Be the company that is on the cutting edge. Today, technology provides data, and data is the gold of the new economy.

Closing Thoughts

Jack’s presentation was interesting, informative, challenging and thought-provoking. While he was speaking, memories of IMG_5712relationships Kitch and I have had with superiors in the field of education, the corporate world, the small business world and the media world flashed through my mind. Then something he said triggered 7 words that provided the foundation for his presentation. We are all the same, he said. We are all looking for the same thing.

In my opinion that thought can be summarized with these seven words: Respect, Empathy, Kindness, Gratitude, Discipline, Safety and Compassion.

Yes, we want a better world for our children, but we also want a better world for ourselves.

Jack Smalley is on a mission to see to it that the construct for that better world is on the table in each of the 750 Express Employment offices across America and Canada. He is a master at communicating this message with diplomacy, dignity and tact. His presentation in Scranton left a permanent mark on my heart and soul, because it reflects the spirit of America at its very best.

Leaders like Amy Clegg and Jack Smalley give us hope. They reflect the light of the beautiful comment of President Harry S. Truman:

I doubt if there is any problem in the world today-social, political or economic- that would not find a happy solution if approached in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.

Thank you, Amy for your kind invitation to the event.

Thank you, Jack for your memorable presentation.

Thank you to the staff of the Scranton office for all the work you did to make this event a success

Thank you, Express Employment Professionals for the services you provide employers and people who are looking for work.

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Express Clydesdales Bring Community, Hope and Joy

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Express Clydesdales Bring Community, Hope and Joy to Our Hometown

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.

Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari

Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.

Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2015

All Rights Reserved

There is nothing so good for the inside of man as the outside of a horse. John Lubbock

Unfounded Superstition

Friday the 13th is generally known as a day of bad luck. The second Friday in March of this year proved that superstition to beIMG_9965-001_A_sm false.

On Friday, March 13, Kitch and I were invited to a fundraising event featuring the Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales. All the money raised during the event would be given to the Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger in Danville.

What an experience it was.


Hundreds of people came to have their picture taken with a Clydesdale.

For more than two hours, mothers, fathers and grandparents purchased raffle tickets hoping to win one of the many gifts including an opportunity to ride in the Express Stagecoach pulled by six Clydesdales.

The horses were absolutely beautiful. One of the trainers told us that each horse weighs between 1800 and 2000 pounds. The average height is 6 feet at the shoulder of the horse. Clydesdales eat 25 to 50 pounds of hay and 5 pounds of concentrated feed every day.

What impressed us the most was the demeanor of the Clydesdales; they were disciplined and very patient.

Making a Dream Become a Reality

As with anything worthwhile, the journey to accomplishment usually starts with a dreamer and a dream. In this case, the dreamer is aIMG_9667_sm well respected businesswoman, Amy Clegg.

Amy owns and operates the Express Employment Professionals office in Scranton. It was her dream to bring the Express Clydesdales to Northeastern Pennsylvania.


Working with Jeff Doran the owner of the Wilkes-Barre Express franchise, and executives at the corporate office in Oklahoma, she made her dream become a reality.

It was no small accomplishment when you consider the fact that these horses participate in major fundraising events all over America including the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are on the road 200 days a year.

Magic Moments

From the moment we entered the venue at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs racetrack, the feeling of community was palpable and veryIMG_9736_sm pleasant. People from all walks of life were purchasing raffle tickets.

Included in the long list of prizes was a ride around the racetrack in an Abbott Downing Company Hotel Coach circa 1800, four bicycles donated by the Wal-Mart store in Dickson City and gift certificates for items available at a variety of stores both large and small.

While the adults purchased the tickets and printed the appropriate information, the children looked at the gifts on display. Their heads were filled with dreams and their hearts were filled with hope.


One of those dreamers was a youngster named Brayden Owens. Braden is a sixth grader who has the intelligence, poise, and social skills of a high school student. For more than an hour he sat between Kitch and his 91-year-old great grandmother, Florence Phillips. Kitch was most impressed by Brayden’s focused, friendly, polite and charming way. “He has success written all over him. I hope he finds a good mentor,” she told me.

Several hundred yards away, people waited patiently in line to have their picture taken with a beautiful Clydesdale who was a celebrity with a purpose.

As I recorded some of these priceless moments with my digital camera, I thought to myself, this is a classic example of America at its best. In the anticipation of the moment, all eyes were focused on the Clydesdale who played his part flawlessly. He seemed to like the attention.

Yet something else was happening. People were talking to each other. They were enjoying the moment.


At one point I watched Jeff Doran reach up and deliver two children into the outstretched arms of their parents.

A few minutes later, I heard a quiet voice call my name. I turned, and standing on the other side of the barricade stood a prominent local artist and photographer, Diane Grant Czajkowski. Diane has been celebrated for her paintings of Civil War horses. How appropriate that she was in the crowd. It was a delight to be reunited with Diane.

At 7 p.m., Amy Clegg introduced Mary Scheller, a special guest, who sang ourIMG_9757_sm national anthem with enthusiasm and heart. While the professional performer gave depth to the words, I could not take my eyes off a young girl, Adrianna McGowan, who offered her own rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.


A few minutes later Amy started the raffle drawing. She and Jeff attended to all of the details that added excitement to the moment. They made sure that every youngster who wanted to pull a ticket from one of the containers got their moment in the spotlight.

Then it was back to the racetrack for the launch of the ride in the stagecoach. The six Clydesdales performed flawlessly.IMG_9888_A_smIMG_9875_sm

One of the couples sitting on the top of the stagecoach will never forget the moment. Yes, they will remember winning the raffle, and the elegance of the horses, but even more important to them and everyone else on the ride was the fact that Rick Klens gave an engagement ring to Cindy Cordelle as he proposed to her during the ride. Rick and Cindy will never forget Friday, March 13, 2015.

Celebrating and Looking Forward

When the activities with the Clydesdales ended, the second phase of the event, a reception and a preview of the Refresh Leadership speaker lineup began. The invited guests made their way to a room located above the racetrack. The refreshments were plentiful, the conversations delightful and the ambiance was just perfect for the event.


Mike Hoehner, Special Events Marketing Manager for the Express Clydesdales, served as the MC. In an efficient and professional way, he summarized the events of the day. He provided a preview of the April 15 Refresh Leadership Live simulcast that will feature Daymond John, Goal Setting: The Secret of Successful Leaders, Dan Aykroyd, The Funny Thing About Leadership and Liz Murray, the author of From Homeless to Harvard.

Then he introduced Kate Billeymer, the event coordinator for theIMG_0025_sm Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger. Kate expressed her gratitude for the many successes of the day, and she reassured everyone in the room that all of the money raised would be used to help people in the region with serious health issues.


The most poignant moment came when Kate introduced Tanya Hentschel and her daughter Kaitlyn and Melissa Stabinski and her twin sons Alex and Evan.

Both mothers spoke about the compassionate care and life saving treatment their children received at Geisinger with funds from the Children’s Miracle Network. Their presentations put everything in perspective in a way that touched the hearts of everyone in the room.

The event ended shortly after Amy and Jeff attended to the remaining raffle awards.

The Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales event was a classic example of America at its best and we are thankful for the opportunity to tell this story.

For this wonderful American Moment, we want to thank:

Amy Clegg;

Jeff Doran;

Mike Hoehner;

The Clydesdale’s Trainers;

All of the Express Employment Professional employees in Scranton & Wilkes-Barre, and all of the Express Employment Professional associates and volunteers.

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