1. What was your very first job and how did it prepare you for your role today?
After graduating with my MBA, I had job offers from three different companies. I was hungry and thought I was smart. So I took the lowest paying job as Research Analyst at Dominion Stores because I thought it presented me with the best opportunity for growth and advancement. The first part proved to be very true – there was lots of opportunity for growth. The second proved more difficult to establish! My work at Dominion included supporting many different subsidiaries, various diverse projects, formulating plans and doing acquisitions. I had the good fortune to work with people that believed in me and my abilities (in spite of my shortcomings). They had the patience and wisdom to guide me, helping me grow as a leader. I quickly learned the importance of having good staff and colleagues. People took a chance on me and helped me grow. This is what we do every day at Express for the clients we serve, the people we help secure good jobs, and those who work at Express.
2. How did you get your start in our industry?
Prior to acquiring the Express franchise, I worked at BCE/Bell. When I was CEO of Bell Mobility Investments we invested in a number of different companies and I had the opportunity to represent Bell on the boards of those companies. To participate and play a part in the growth of those companies was both gratifying and challenging. When I left Bell, I looked for investment opportunities to lead my own business and do something meaningful for my clients to help them succeed. When I looked back, my most gratifying professional successes involved helping someone grow and develop. I felt proud knowing that their success was, at least in a small part, because of what I did. After reviewing several investment opportunities, Express was the right choice for me. I bought the Hamilton Express franchise in 2003, partnered to buy the Burlington/Oakville franchise two years later and then partnered with another franchisee to open the Brantford franchise in 2008. In the same year, I also took on a franchise developer role representing Express and supporting other franchisees in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
3. Why did you decide to get involved in ACSESS?
Participating on the ACSESS Board is a win/win proposition for me. I get a chance to give back to the industry that gives me and my colleagues a living. I learn so much from the other members on the Board, as well as the staff, who do the heavy lifting. ACSESS provides its members with education, ethical standards, and best practices. We serve as the voice of the industry providing input on government legislation and managing our reputation. Our members do a great job in helping companies grow and finding candidates good jobs.
4. What gives you energy?
Positive people! It never ceases to amaze me how much leaders can impact a work environment or group based on how we act and what we say. Positivity creates energy and negativity saps it. I respect and enjoy working with people who can do that on a consistent basis. It's a joy to work with positive people and they energize everyone around them. This year I became a grandpa for the first time. Each face time or in person experience with my grandson Jakub (pictured above) energizes me.
5. What do you do to unwind?
I do not like to be stationary or just lie on a beach. I enjoy travelling, golf, and photography. Usually I find a way to do all three. Express provides opportunities for franchisees to qualify for incentive trips. Fortunately, thanks to the great people that work with me, I have had the opportunity to travel to many different countries and cities doing the activities I enjoy.
6. What do you love about our industry or what makes you most proud of it?
We get a chance to make a difference in people's lives - EVERY day! In what industry and in what other job can someone say that? We deliver success to our clients, our associates, and our staff. ACSESS members care. They care about people, our economy, and our country.
7. What qualities does an employee need today to thrive or what's your best advice to those entering the staffing/recruiting profession today?
As a franchise developer for Express, I get a chance to learn about and work with other franchisees and their clients. I always try to learn why one franchise or client is so much more successful than another given similar opportunities and tools. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most important factor that I've found in determining success is people -- specifically hiring, properly onboarding and motivating the 'right' people. At Express, we have done a lot of work with Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard. Using Covey and Blanchard's words, the 'right' people have the following attributes: