After releasing the eBossWatch Best Bosses of 2009 list last month, we received feedback from many people praising their own managers. We’d like to honor and feature some of these great bosses. This is how their employees describe them:
■ Robert Stack is the founder, president and CEO of Community Options. Community Options is a national nonprofit organization that develops small, community-based homes and innovative employment opportunities for people with disabilities and has been doing so for over twenty years. Notably, this has been a tough year for everyone but for some reason, Robert has persevered and has taken us all along with him. With a workforce of over 2,500 people in 32 cities throughout 9 states, Robert has inspired his staff to open more homes, take more people with disabilities out of institutions and provide more employment opportunities all at the same time. When the economy got rough, Robert became more innovative. Robert has not made one layoff during the recession but instead has invested in more training and appropriate resources for our existing and new workforce. Robert is a complete inspiration and it would be so nice to profile someone who is running a true business with a social purpose that is changing the lives of so many people across the country.
■ On 4/10/2009, Erickson Publishing, LLC ceased operations, letting go a team of 14 incredibly talented people (I include myself in that number, not so sure I should include myself in the talented part). We were all devastated because we all truly loved our job. We produced a women’s magazine called BRAVA, that had been part of the viewing community for 7 years as well as the producer of the Madison Women’s Expo – a tradition of 200 exhibitors, celebrities and approximately 8,000 mostly female attendees.
Not to give up our determination for jobs we loved, a group of employees gathered together the following Monday to discuss a strategy to keep our jobs either by creating a new magazine or finding an investor passionate in bringing this back.
It was a long drawn out summer of meeting with potential investors and we struggled to keep our team intact in a horrible economy not exactly forgiving to the print media some taking leaps by not accepting positions doing other things.
Brad Zaugg, a veteran of the publishing industry of 16 years, met with our team and through painful negotiations and struggles, he started Brava Enterprises, brought the magazine back to life (bigger and better with more creative flow) and the Madison Women’s Expo (11th annual!) just took place in November. I couldn’t ask for a better team lead by this man who would humbly say he didn’t do anything special. But he saved all of our jobs and our love for it. Not to mention he is the only man on our team – poor guy!
He deserves kudos.
■ I work for a start up that’s looking to change the face of youth sports. Our first initiative are the High School Rudy Awards. The founder of the company, John Ballantine – is remarkable. He has put together a team that is working to each of their strengths. We’re encouraged to write our own job descriptions and to adapt them if they need changing, or if they don’t pander to our strengths. He is consistently trying to uncover untapped strengths within each of us and wants us to ‘build our own brand’ which means to put ourselves out there in the community and press and reach out in any way we see fit. I worked in the film industry for 20 years and have never had the level of support or encouragement I receive from John. It makes you try harder, shoot for the moon and then some.
I’ve been laid low with the flu over the holidays. He has repeatedly asked what he can do for me, do I need anything, can he go to the store and bring me groceries… and when I was being a stubborn pain in the ass and got worse, he offered to take me to the doctor. Truly – how many bosses out there would even think of doing that? What a gift this man is in my career.
■ I work for an online English learning company called TalktoCanada.com. We’ve taught people in more than 80 different countries, and currently have a staff of just of 20 teachers.
I would like to nominate my boss, Marc Anderson, as the best boss of 2009. Working online is a different concept than working face to face with your colleagues and especially with your boss. My “relationship” with Marc has only been via the internet and the telephone these past 2 years that I have been working with him, but our relationship is no less real.
I am a Canadian living in Uruguay — so daily communication with Marc (who is in Ottawa) happens over a 10,000km distance. I think it is awesome that he trusts someone as much as he trusts me since he has never “met” me and the distance factor is sometime a little overwhelming.
I have been working as the Programs Manager (doing everything) for the past year – and I can confirm that Marc is the BEST boss of 2009 not only because of his willingness to trust and give people opportunities and chances, but also because he is a really kind and funny person to work with.
I look forward every morning to waking up at 2am (because of the different timezones that we work in) to chatting with him and working through the different projects at hand.
■ I have the best bosses ever. I have been with Choyce Peterson, Inc. for ten years now and have never worked for nicer people in my entire career (25 years). Mr. Alan R. Peterson and Mr. John P. Hannigan are both very considerate, humorous and caring gentlemen.
As examples, Secretary’s Day is a big celebration. I am always presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the morning which is then followed by a wonderful lunch at a nearby Greenwich, CT restaurant. My birthday is never forgotten – again, another celebration with a cake and singing and laughter. For the holidays, we enjoy a company dinner with Kris Kringles. Each one of us picks a name out of a hat and we buy gag gifts and roast each staff member during the course of a lovely dinner. Fun is had by all.
They are both very family oriented — family always comes first and are understanding and thoughtful of family needs. Charities are well remembered throughout the year not only during the holidays. They encourage and support charity marathons and walks with which the staff are involved. Every evening before I leave for the day, they always thank me for the day’s work. They make work fun with their humor and sometimes pranks.
It’s simply a pleasure to come to work each and every day. I am truly blessed.
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