Before starting Pacific HR, I was a systems analyst for a large defense contractor. In college, I studied computer science and added a minor in business administration. I was convinced that a successful career as a systems analyst was my calling. It didn’t take long to learn that programming was not my passion. Before long, I knew I needed to make a change—little did I know how big that change was going to be.
I never really thought of myself as a courageous person. I grew up, played sports, drove a tractor from time to time, and loved social events, but I did not race dirt bikes or jump out of airplanes. Courage comes in a lot of forms, apparently. I recently took a behavioral profile called Simmons and discovered my courage profile is actually very high. In conversations about my behavioral results, I realized it took a tremendous amount courage to buy a company.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Girls aren’t supposed to be good at math and science—you are good at English and history.”
When I look back on my career journey, there is a common thread that is undeniable at each step: incredible people.
Reminiscing to the time, even before I finished college—and ventured into the dream of being a working professional who could do big things in a big world—there were people in my life who transformed how I approached the business world.
I’ve been fortunate to make many amazing friends over my 30-plus years in the PEO industry. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that my husband David and I founded Quality Business Solutions (QBS) more than 20 years ago, and it’s even harder (at times) to believe that I made the huge leap into public service just over three years ago, having now served two years in office. The journey to get here has not been easy—it’s taken grit, and it’s also taken a lot of faith and support from my family and friends.
My dad and his father started a business four decades ago. Over time, that company grew and expanded to become FrankCrum. I’m a third-generation owner of the organization, blessed with professional opportunities, but also faced with challenges along the way.
I was fortunate to grow up in upstate New York. My parents, who owned a seasonal restaurant, always taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I do not know if it was by design or if it was me just truly not understanding that most women at the time—30 plus years ago—did not normally attain the level of success in business that men did.
I was born in Vermont. When I was in second grade, we moved to Lake George, New York, where my family’s restaurant employed more than 100 people in its heyday. I started work when I was very young and my parents continually reinforced how important a good education and working hard are.
Five years ago, Wanda Silva invited me to a gathering of women at NAPEO’s annual conference. Over drinks and appetizers, I had the opportunity to get to know other women, like me, who run PEOs and work directly in our industry. Not only did we discuss business, but we also learned about each other’s children, spouses, and pets. The people Wanda invited that day were all in the PEO industry, and we also had the shared experience of being female in this industry. The shared experiences created a space to form new relationships and create dialogue. There was an instant connection because of our common interests, and over the years these friendships have grown.
NAPEO member PEOs Integrity Outsource, Questco, and Xenium were winners of the third annual Best of HR Services award from ClearlyRated, a NAPEO associate member.
In the late 1980s I was fortunate to meet Michaeline Doyle. That was more than 30 years ago, so I decided to reach out to some of my long-time industry friends to help my memory as I wrote this article. Initially, I was concerned that I would unlock so much information that I wouldn’t be able to condense it into an article of reasonable length. After all, our industry’s most prestigious award is named after Michaeline. I’m sorry to report that there isn’t much to share, and frankly I’m not surprised. I’m sure that those who knew her won’t be surprised, either. Michaeline was the consummate behind-the-scenes advocate and leader: She did what she did to advance her industry and ours, without any concern for or interest in personal recognition.
When I was asked to write an article discussing my experience as a woman in government affairs from the early days of the industry up to the present day, I immediately agreed. PEO Insider® Editor Stephanie Oetjen will tell you that is unusual for me. The topic struck a chord. But then, as I thought about what to write, I had to take some time to sort through the emotions of what my experiences have been in order to step back and view the last 24 years (yup, that’s a long time) from something of an objective perspective, while still speaking truth.
In case 2020 was not weird enough, the annual EEO-1 reporting has been disrupted, too. Ordinarily, an employer with 100 or more employees (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees) must file an annual EEO-1 report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), typically by the end of the following March.
I first learned of employee leasing from an article I read in 1983. I knew almost immediately that it could be a fascinating business and companion to the accounting firm that my husband, John, had been operating since 1972. We founded Staff Management, Inc. later that year.
We were more formally introduced to this industry in 1986 when John and I attended the second meeting of the National Staff Leasing Association (NSLA, now NAPEO), hoping to learn more about how to sell our services, expand our offerings, and grow our business.
As the business world continues to embrace new technologies, organizations are increasingly turning to tech solutions to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. From digital payroll solutions to online learning management systems (LMS), PEOs are adopting technology now more than ever before.
To ensure you are maximizing your investment in technology, it is vital that the various solutions your business has adopted integrate, or “talk with one another.”
One sentiment remains consistent during conversations with PEO colleagues: The current market is tight and competition is fierce. The need to maximize revenue and revisit value propositions on a granular level has had a rebirth since COVID hit. A solid marketing approach always considers what’s happening in the industry, new technologies being used, and how customer priorities are shifting. Change brings opportunities for new players to emerge and appeal to the new priorities of PEO consumers. The prevalence of this is heightened in our present COVID economy.
It is no secret that the economic toll of the pandemic has disproportionately landed on small business, the constituency that PEOs serve, their “sweet spot.” Yet PEO clients have fared better than small businesses overall through this challenge. Our white paper research from last summer shows that PEO clients were:
• 119 percent more likely to have received Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans;
• 72 percent more likely to have received PPP loans in Round 1;
• 91 percent less likely to still be temporarily closed; and
• 60 percent less likely to have permanently closed.