Posts Tagged ‘Express Employment Professionals Webinar’

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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