By Rebecca Dearth | February 28, 2014
Today we say “farewell” to our Project Manager and friend, Abby, and wish her “good luck” on her new adventure.
With Abby’s departure comes a time of reflection for us. You see, every business has “defining moments,” and, for our business, one of those moments was in 2010 when we hired Abby.
After having to scale back during the recession of the mid 2000’s, we were starting to see encouraging signs of growth. We were a much smaller operation back then — we had only 10 employees, a smaller office, and our Transition2Work program was in its infancy. The economy was recovering and we knew we were onto something big with our new program, but to get there we also knew we would need to invest in technology to make the program possible. It was at that point that we made the decision to hire someone, on a temporary basis, to help out with the data entry duties necessary to convert our office from our old case management system to a new, more robust, CRM system. One of our employees, Alia, suggested we call her sister, Abby, who she claimed to be, “way smarter than I am.”
Abby started with us as a “Data Entry Temp” shortly after and we very quickly realized that we had found someone of real value. It was apparent she had an analytical mindset and a seemingly limitless aptitude for IT, business processes, and administration. We found she had an uncanny ability to evaluate and understand our business needs and then translate those needs to our new system. She knew, better than we, what it would take to make us more efficient.
Soon after joining our team, Abby took the role of project lead to coordinate with our IT partner during the planning and implementation of our CRM software. She handled all of the customizations. She became our CRM and technology “guru.” She became the “brains” of our operation, our “go to,” indispensable person.
It’s difficult to give a person like Abby a job title, because her role never fit neatly under just one heading. While her official title transitioned from “Data Entry Temp” to “Project Manager,” she wore so many hats and was really so much more: IT department, support desk, graphic designer, photographer, public relations writer, social media manager, creative genius, client implementation manager, blogger, customer relations specialist, data analyst, report developer, workflow strategist, administrative support, and expert jib jab card creator… The list could go on!
When she came to work with us, she eagerly and confidently took the bull by the horns. She jumped in and created her own place in our company. Looking back it’s clear: when Abby joined our company we knew we were on the verge of something big but we didn’t know we had just hired the person who would get us there.
She evolved with us and she grew – in her role, in her skills – and in turn, our business grew. The two evolved together. ReEmployAbility wouldn’t be where it is now if we didn’t have her. We could never have made that leap, from our old system to the new, without her help. And that leap in technology was the impetus that drove our business forward. We couldn’t have continued, we couldn’t have grown with the old technology, and we certainly could not have grown without Abby’s help. She led us to where we are today. She evolved and our business evolved, together.
In late 2012 we reached another one of those “defining moments.” Abby came to us to announce her impending departure; her husband, Ricardo, had finished ROTC and his degree and the next step would be Initial Flight School (IFS). It was just a matter of time before he’d receive his orders and their family would relocate to Columbus, Mississippi. When we found out she was leaving we were happy for her but also we knew we were in trouble. How does one “replace” someone like Abby?
As it turns out you don’t – at least not with just one person. Abby’s departure was delayed time and time again, which worked out to be a good thing for us. In that time, we’ve found not one, but three people to fill her shoes: an IT Manager, a Customer Implementation Specialist, and a Director of Marketing.
Today, Abby begins the next chapter of her journey. She will have a new home, a new addition to her family, and a new career path as she studies IT/ MIS. What will we miss the most, when Abby has left? The ability to pick up the phone knowing we can ask her any question and get the answer right away. For so many years, she’s been the “brains” of our operation and she knows more about how it works than anyone else. Of course she does – she helped build it.
Words really cannot express what she’s done for us. She changed who we are as a company and her accomplishments mean so much to us, not just for the company, but also to us personally. We can’t ever truly thank her enough for what she’s done. She has helped to shape our future. We owe a large part of our success to her and we wish her all the best in the future.
We are confident she will build something wonderful.
- Deb & Frances
By Rebecca Dearth | February 18, 2014
Last week our founders, Frances Ford and Debra Livingston, spent an afternoon on the campus of The University of Tampa speaking with Entrepreneurship students. Frances and Deb were invited to the College of Business by Professor, Dr. Rustogi, to address his “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class at the University.
The course, targeted towards aspiring entrepreneurs, provides an overview of important business start-up considerations such as legal structure, planning, and risk analysis, and requires students to develop a feasibility study for a new business venture.
Deb and Frances shared their business start-up story, explained to students the challenges and joys associated with building a successful business, provided advice, and fielded questions from the class.
Debra had this to say about the speaking engagement, “The experience was so much fun! It was energizing to speak to such an enthusiastic and motivated group of students. Several of them had already started their own business and they were all very eager to ask us questions about our background as entrepreneurs. We enjoyed recounting our company’s history, our important milestones, and sharing our vision of the future. ”
By Frances Ford | January 15, 2014
People usually resist doing things that are good for them because they are not sure they will like it. The conundrum is if you never try it, how will you know you do not like it? In the work environment, most employees do not like change; they are comfortable doing what they know. Years ago, the national business bestseller, Who Moved My Cheese, by Dr. Spencer Johnson, presented an allegorical tale of 2 mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two mice-size characters called “Hem” and “Haw” who suddenly discover their “Cheese” disappears from the “maze” they live in. Hem becomes angry and closed minded, resisting the change, even if it means he has nothing to eat. Haw, however, valiantly overcomes his fear of change and strikes out to look for new cheese. This mindset frees him to enjoy life again and he finds new cheese. Haw’s experiences lead him to several revelations such as “The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese!”
Learn some new ideas and discover how they can help your employees while your company “moves the cheese forward” in the article, http://www.reemployability.com/uploads/images/ReDesign/12-2013-Volunteerism%20Benefits.pdf
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