Getting to know...John Nalli, President and CEO, People Store Staffing Solutions

1. How did you get your start in our industry? I got into the industry totally by accident….and, by default, found my life’s calling. After graduating from George Brown College in 1996, I answered an ad for a Client Services Representative. When I arrived at the interview it was a recruiting company named DGS/ECCO (now Adecco). At the time I’d never heard of a recruiting company. However, the recruiter that interviewed me called me that evening and suggested I consider an internal recruiter role. On a whim, I decided to give the role a shot. Turns out, it was the most amazing and life altering decision I ever made. Here I am nearly 23 years later, and I’ve performed every role imaginable. I’ve absolutely had all my dreams and ambitions realized.  

2. Why did you decide to get involved in ACSESS? Throughout my career, I was fortunate to work for organizations that were ACSESS’ members. Thus, I was exposed to the variety of events ACSESS hosted and took advantage of a number of industry-specific courses, which gave me invaluable insight into the industry. Throughout the years I found the organization to be a great platform to build my network with other industry professionals. A few years ago, I was asked to join the leadership team as Chapter President for Toronto. I remained in that role for a few terms and gained valuable insight into ACSESS’ inner workings. Not only did I participate in programs that helped move the industry forward, I also learned important lessons about how staffing companies can accelerate opportunities by working cohesively, rather than going it alone, so to speak.

3. What is your proudest career moment? I didn’t know it at the time, but my proudest career moment was when my company achieved national recognition as one of the country’s fastest growing enterprises and, at the time, the fastest growing staffing company in Canada. I remember seeing our company name in a number of national publications honouring our outstanding accomplishments. I was most proud of the company and all the employees who strived to grow it into a great company. At that moment, I felt all the sacrifices and learning lessons finally paid off.

4. What are your known for? My friends, family and colleagues say that I’m known for my positive attitude and fearless desire to succeed. They are right! I have seen more than my share of adversity, things that would otherwise crush people in an unforgiving way. Through all the tough and rough times, I’ve always kept a positive attitude and looked for the bright side. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard being positive when all you want to do is get down on yourself and be negative. It serves no practical purpose. If you stay positive and work hard at challenges, you can overcome anything. At the same time I’ve always been a fearless risk-taker. Anything worth winning, whether in business or in your personal life, takes a certain amount of risk. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. As the old saying goes… ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’. The worst that could happen is you fail. So what?! You have to try again and again until you succeed.

5. What gives you energy? Two parts to this answer. The first is being physically and mentally fit. I exercise my body and mind. I find when I’m at the top of my game, I have a lot of energy that drives creativity and passion. The second part that gives me energy is my family. Being goal oriented provides a platform that enables me to work hard to provide a lifestyle and opportunities for my family. I am constantly driving myself and when I’m running low on energy, I focus on experiences we’ve shared together. Magically my energy levels seem to replenish.  

6. What do you love about our industry? I absolutely love everything about the staffing industry. It will give you as much as you put in. The harder I worked, the more I fell in love with the business and the easier it ultimately became. Working in the industry is my life passion….and that’s a special thing. What other industry lets you build and shape other people’s success?! I get absolute gratification when a candidate’s eyes light up when offered a position that helps them change the trajectory of their life’s journey. I have seen countless people start in a junior position and with hard work and dedication move up the ranks and become tremendous leaders. They have created a professional career and a beautiful life. I’m honored to be a witness to this success, and it renews my appreciation for this wonderful industry. 

7. What qualities does an employee need today to thrive? The qualities employees require to succeed have not changed -- honestly, integrity and a strong work ethic. Although technology has changed throughout the years, the fundamentals of business and personal success haven’t. When you have an honest approach to doing business, you will sleep well at night. If you have integrity, people know they can count on you. In turn, you will find people you can count on. If you have a strong work ethic, the sky’s the limit. Nothing can ever replace someone’s desire to succeed and accomplish. If you commit to learning, working hard and perfecting your craft, you will thrive.