We Urge The Full Michigan House To Hold Vote On Elliott-Larsen Update

With seven days or less remaining in the 2014 lame-duck session, members of the Freedom Michigan coalition (including Strategic Staffing Solutions) are calling on House Speaker Jase Bolger to advance legislation updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect gay and transgender Michiganders to a full vote on the House floor without delay.

Speaker-Bolger-SliderThe call for action comes on the heels of today’s historic hearing in the House Commerce Committee, the first-ever in state history. The hearing showcased widespread support among leaders in the business, faith and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities for this important legislation.

While the committee failed to vote on this measure today, Speaker Bolger has the power to allow this matter to come to a vote of the full House. Allan Gilmour, former vice chairman of Ford Motor Company, was among the prominent Michigan business leaders who testified today, underscoring the urgent need for lawmakers to pass the legislation before lawmakers end the 2013-14 legislative session later this month.

“While the climate for diversity and inclusion in business has steadily improved, the climate in the state has not kept up,” Gilmour testified. “It is necessary for our elected officials to exercise leadership and transmit the message that discrimination will not be tolerated. It is my hope to see the law amended this lame-duck session.”

Also testifying in favor of the inclusive legislation was Jeff Padnos, president of a scrap processing and recycling company based in Holland that bears his name.

“The breadth of business support was impressive and should help bring together those who might otherwise disagree,” Padnos said after the hearing. “I was encouraged by the legislators’ testimony and would be disappointed if a bill doesn’t pass. I’m hoping the governor and speaker provide the leadership to get it done.”

Other key business leaders who provided statements of support included Whirlpool Company spokesman Jeff Noel, Herman Miller CEO Brian Walker, Strategic Staffing Solutions CEO Cynthia Pasky and The Dow Chemical Company’s Global Regulatory Leader, Dr. Gary Rudgers.

All four companies are among founding members of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, through which more than 80 leading businesses and non-profit groups are working to win legislative approval of the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

The coalition expanded its efforts last month by launching Freedom Michigan, a bipartisan campaign that has already mobilized tens of thousands of Michiganders to contact their lawmakers in support of inclusive non-discrimination protections. The campaign has deployed organizers and recruited hundreds of volunteers to amplify existing support in key legislative districts across the state for updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.

“Whirlpool Corporation supports a fully inclusive amendment to Elliott-Larsen that includes the transgender community,” said Noel, vice president of communications & public affairs. “Supporting diversity with inclusion is good for business, it’s good for Michigan, and it’s quite simply the right thing to do.”

ACLU executive director Kary Moss made similar points during her testimony before the committee.

“Every day without these protections is another day that gay and transgender Michiganders live in fear of discrimination,” said Moss, who’s also a co-chair of the Michigan Competitive Workforce.

“If the full House were to vote today, we’re confident an inclusive bill would pass,” Moss said after the hearing. “While the House committee could return to this legislation before adjourning this year, time is running out. We know Speaker Bolger believes discrimination is wrong and we respectfully request he use his power to allow all members of the House to vote their conscience on this critical bill.”

Polls show the vast majority of state residents believe discrimination is wrong and agree no one should be fired, kicked out of their housing or denied healthcare services just because they are gay or transgender.

7 Tips for the Veteran Job Seeker

Transitioning from military to civilian life can have its challenges, but you’re not alone. Many veterans are coming back home and they need employment (or, they’re looking for a second civilian career), and we hope these tips are useful. Whether it’s your strong work ethic, commitment to excellence, ability to mediate or attention to detail, your commitment to service is an asset. Now, it’s just about making sure employers understand that you’re the right person for them. Without further fuss, here are seven tips for the veteran who’s looking to get a civilian job.

american-flagexpBe specific – Do not assume who you are talking to will know what you did or how many troops you led just on sharing your rank and title. Relate them to the business world, which includes talking in numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts.

Avoid jargon – Tell a story to illustrate your experiences and accomplishments to someone who is not familiar with the military. Be sure to include how you handled and overcame challenges, as well as how you are a problem-solver. A good tip is to ask a trusted non-military friend who will give you honest feedback if they understand what’s in your resume.

Tell people – Don’t just look for “a job,” look for the job you want. Do some research, and then be focused on your task. That way people know how to help you. Networking is important in the business world and building that network will be invaluable to your civilian career.

Don’t ignore the essential skills – Were you a solid leader of a team? Always the guy who had the technical answer to fix things? Or are you the negotiator, bridging people together? Whatever those soft skills happen to be for you, don’t ignore them. They’re crucial for companies today.

Take an inventory – Make a list of the things you did regularly – daily, weekly, monthly, as well as things and tasks you were responsible for. It might surprise you all you did, and it’ll help you describe what you did to civilian employers.

Do your research – Be sure to be prepared when you go into that interview. You wouldn’t go into a mission unprepared, and getting a job is a mission, in a way. Know what the company does, try to find out its strengths and weaknesses, and how maybe you could really help the team. Always be listening to what the person you are interviewing with is saying, and think about and then offer solutions.

Translate your experience – There are various ways that a military career can translate into a civilian one. There are multiple tools out there, but check out this skills translator that includes the ability for you to entre your branch of service, military pay grade, and military occupation code to help focus your search and give you some clarity. https://employmentportal.herokuapp.com/skills-translator

We hope these tips help you. If you’re interested in more or looking for a career, get in touch with us at veterans.strategicstaff.com.

It’s time for Michigan to open doors to talent by including LGBT protections in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

End LGBT Discrimination In Michigan

Strategic Staffing Solutions is proud to support Freedom Michigan, an unprecedented bipartisan campaign of business, civil rights, religious, community and LGBT leaders with the singular goal of putting a bill on Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s desk during the final days of the current legislative session that will end legal discrimination against gay and transgender individuals.

The campaign will deploy organizers and volunteers to amplify support in key legislative districts across the state for updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

“We would ask legislative leaders to support Gov. Snyder and Michigan residents, the majority of whom oppose discrimination based on orientation and gender identity by holding an open vote on the floor of the House and Senate on updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act,” said Cynthia J. Pasky, president and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions and a co-chair of Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, a business organization formed to support the legislation.

For a little background in case you did not know, legislation is pending in the state House that would prevent discrimination based on “sexual orientation and gender identity” in Michigan. It would amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act that already prevents discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight and marital status.

We’re united with many other business and community leaders in pushing this change, and polls show a strong majority of state voters believe that it’s time to protect gay and transgender Michiganders from discrimination. In addition, surveys of small business owners show that a strong majority support striking this important balance.

“Gov. Snyder opposes discrimination against gay and transgender people, who today can be fired from their job, evicted from housing, or refused service in a restaurant or doctor’s office just because they are gay or transgender.  We are ready to engage in a civil debate on the issue during the coming lame duck legislative session as Synder has called for,” said Josh Linkner, noted Michigan entrepreneur and founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners.

The new web page is www.freedommichigan.org and you can keep in touch on Twitter and on Facebook.

“Michigan’s economic success is dependent on attracting talent,” says Pasky. “Our business community has to be able to attract the most talented and vibrant individuals who are committed to our continued revitalization and growth. At Strategic Staffing Solutions we hire based on talent and people’s souls. It is time that our legislation include protections for these same principles.”

S3 President and CEO Cynthia Pasky Named ‘Executive of the Year’ By The Detroit Executives Association

We’re pleased to share some more great news. The Detroit Executives Association will honor our president and CEO Cynthia J. Pasky as its 2014 “Executive of the Year” at a luncheon Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC).

Cindy PaskyNow in its 33rd year, the annual Executive of the Year Award is presented to a business or community leader who exhibits exceptional leadership and devotion to the betterment of the Detroit area.

“S3 is a global IT and business services company that has 31 branch locations and 2,700 employees in the U.S. and Europe – and it’s all headquartered here in Detroit,” said Detroit Executives Association President Sam Giannola. “Cindy is committed to Detroit and the communities S3 serves globally. S3 and its global team contribute millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours each year. Cindy chairs the Detroit Downtown Partnership Board of Directors, and is a member of several other boards including Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.”

If you didn’t know, the Detroit Executives Association was founded in 1926 and is comprised of business owners and principal decision makers in and around the Detroit metropolitan area. The association was built on the premise that members will work together to promote not only their own business, but each member’s business, as well, through the exchange of leads at weekly meetings, held at the Detroit Athletic Club.

“S3 opened almost 24 years ago in Detroit with a mission to provide opportunities to our team, customers and communities and to help people change their stations in life,” said Pasky. “It is truly appreciated that the Detroit Executives Association doesn’t base their award purely on business success, but also on executives’ efforts to drive change in the communities they serve. I am truly honored to be recognized on behalf of the tireless work of the S3 team.”

Past “Executive of the Year” honorees include Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland, DTE Energy CEO Anthony Earley and ePrize CEO Josh Linker.

The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 with cocktails and lunch at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Learn more at http://www.detroitexecs.com.

Detroit Branch Manager Named A Diversity Business Leader

Congratulations to Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) Detroit Branch Manager Shalini Lawson for being recognized as a Diversity Business Leader by Corp! Magazine. That’s Michigan’s top B-to-B publication that features success stories, best practices and strategies for business leaders.

corp-diversity-award-staffingLawson was honored at the “Michigan Salute to Diversity” breakfast by Corp! on Sept. 10 at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. Shalini was noted for promoting and fostering diversity through working with the more than 600 team members she oversees at S3 and her recruitment and on-boarding tactics.

As diversity is deeply ingrained in S3’s culture and history, this is not our company’s first time on the “Salute to Diversity” awards stage. In 2007, our president and CEO Cynthia J. Pasky received the Diversity Business Leader award and in 2009 S3 received the Diversity Focused Company award.

Kudos to Shalini to keeping S3’s legacy of commitment to diversity and inclusion strong!

April Donaldson named to DBusiness’s “30 in Their Thirties”

Cover of DBusiness where S3 is featured

Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) Executive Vice President April Donaldson was selected as one of DBusiness magazine’s 2014 class of “30 in Their Thirties.” DBusiness is the premier Detroit business journal’s annual selection of top professionals, leaders and innovators in the region. April is profiled in DBusiness’s September/October 2014 issue.

Chosen from DBusiness readers’ nominations, April was recognized for her leadership in the staffing industry both locally and nationally. In her profile, April gave thanks S3 President and CEO Cynthia J. Pasky, her mentor for 12 years and counting. “She’s not only helped mentor me in different areas of how to run the business and how to put our customers first, but she’s allowed me to be the mentor,” said April.

DBusiness also highlighted April’s personal touch when it comes to operations, meeting with global customers and team members on a daily basis. “It’s my job to support them,” she said. “I work for them, not the other way around.”

April Donaldson in DBusinessApril’s achievements, which garnered her this recognition, including being selected as one of the nation’s top five industry experts to develop and design the Certified Contingent Workforce Professional (CCWP) certification program with the national trade organization Staffing Industry Analyst (SIA) . She managed the program’s first training in Detroit in April 2014, helping to elevate the region’s staffing industry globally and directly contributing to Michigan’s workforce’s ability to become more competitive.

April’s has also placed over 100 veterans in jobs over the last year as part of S3’s military program, a program that sources veterans and places them with S3’s Fortune 100 and 500 customers.

Congratulations to April for representing S3 as one of Metro Detroit’s top executives! Be sure to pick up the September/October 2014 issue of DBusiness to get a look at April’s profile, complete with a photo shoot with the rest of the “30” at the American Coney Island in Downtown Detroit.

S3 Supports The Talent Of The Future At National Black MBA Association Banquet


It was a great day for young people in Detroit. The National Black MBA Association, or NBMBAA, honored three local youth with scholarships to forward their education.

Local area powerbrokers, media and luminaries spoke such as Mayor Mike Duggan, The Michigan Chronicle’s Bankole Thompson, WXYZ’s Chuck Stokes, and others had sage advice to the young people who will be taking the next step in their life.

Let’s meet the three scholarship recipients.

Christopher Rutledge is as Barbara L. Mahone Graduate Scholar at University of Michigan in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He is a second year MBA student where he is focusing his studies on Organizational Strategy and Finance.

Lauren A. Black is a high school scholar at North Farmington High School. This fall she will attend the renowned School of Business and Industry at Florida A & M University, pursuing a degree in Business Administration and Management.

Maria Rodriguez is an undergraduate scholar at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is working towards a Bachelor in Business Administration and is a top scholar while working two jobs.

Left to right: Mayor Mike Duggan, Valencia Parker, Elyse Sherman

Left to right: Mayor Mike Duggan, Valencia Parker, Elyse Sherman

S3 is a corporate sponsor of the Detroit chapter of the NBMBAA along such notable companies and organizations as AllState, Chrysler Corporation, The Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan, DTE Energy, Dow Chemical, Eaton Corporation, Ford Motor Company, State Farm Insurance, and Walmart. Our own Elyse Sherman was the chair of the event.

NBMBAA is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to leading in the creation and development of economic and intellectual wealth for black communities on a global basis since 1970 and stands at a membership of 6,000 African-American business professionals, MBA students, and entrepreneurs located in 44 U.S. chapters and one international affiliate.

S3 takes center stage at tech talk on attracting, retaining and motivating talent

Automation Alley PLante Moran

Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) took center stage at Detroit Athletic Club on August 26 for the Plante Moran Toast & Tech talk entitled “surefire ways to attract, retain, and motivate talent.”

S3 team members April Donaldson, Executive Vice President, Shalini Lawson, Detroit Branch Manager and Cheryl Adams Davis, Account Manager, shared their expertise and S3’s best practices to an audience that included members of the Metro Detroit business community.

The S3 panelists focused their presentation to how the company builds a global brand for retention and recruitment, as well as tactics when working in one geographic location and in industry verticals.

The audience asked the panelists many questions, from how S3 maintains a virtual network globally to tactics the company uses to engage and retain intern talent.  The S3 panelists provided answers from their unique perspectives, highlighting S3 corporate culture of high-touch customer and consultant-focused service.  The panelists also noted during the presentation the many internal practices that make S3 a workplace of choice, including highly competitive benefits, a strong internal support team and special holidays, awards and recognitions.

A round of applause to April, Shalini and Cheryl – you three were bold, you were excellent, you were S3!

S3 hosts 13th Annual Charity Golf Outing, raises more than $40,000

S3 employees pose behind sign

Four! Strategic Staffing Solutions held their 13th Annual Charity Golf Outing on Sunday, August 10th at The Inn at St. John’s.

Proceeds from this year’s golf outing support the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s (DDP) Safety and Security program, which implements and coordinates a private/public security strategy that provides a sustainable, safe environment in Downtown Detroit.

S3 CEO Cindy Pasky (left) with Paul Huxley (right)

Cindy Pasky (left) with Paul Huxley (right)

This year’s event was spectacular!  Moderate temperatures and clear blue skies throughout the day proved ideal weather for the over 140 golfers who participated.  And most importantly, S3 raised more than $40,000 to support DDP’s Safety and Security program.

S3 Executive Vice President Carl Bentley and Detroit Branch Sheena Wells, Resource Manager on the Consultant Care Team, along with the incredible Detroit Team coordinated the day.

“We are ecstatic so many golfers came out to help support the DDP and raise much needed dollars for our city,” said Bentley.

Headquartered in Detroit, S3 believes in giving back to the communities in which they do business. DDP also understands the importance in uplifting communities and creating opportunities.  Together, S3 and DDP will continue to build a partnership where corporate, civic and philanthropic leaders support, advocate, and develop programs and initiatives designed to create a clean, safe, and inviting Downtown Detroit.

Next year’s Annual Charity Golf Outing will be held on Sunday, August 9, 2015.  We look forward to seeing you there!

S³ sponsors Mosaic Singers trip to compete in World Choir Games in Latvia and they bring back gold

Strategic Staffing Solutions sponsorship of the Mosaic Singers trip to Latvia to compete in the World Choir Games paid off … in gold and silver and an experience of a lifetime for 26 young artists.

Mosaic Singers at the US embassy

Mosaic Singers at the US embassy

The Mosaic Singers, part of the Mosaic Youth Theatre, spent the last two weeks in Latvia competing in the World Choir Games with a side trip to Lithuania to meet the US ambassador to Lithuania and to sing in phenomenal places such as the St. Kazimieras Church in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and the Concert Hall at the Marijampole House of Culture in the town of Marijampole. Both were standing-room only.

The concert at St. Kazimieras was broadcast live on the internet. It benefited the ExCel high-school exchange, a program that S³ also sponsors. That program brings Lithuanian high school students to study in the US and live with an American host family for one school year.

At Marijampole the audience stood and applauded non-stop for several minutes at the end until the choir did not one, but two encores.

“We got the response from many that “Mariajampole has never seen anything like this before,” says the Mosaic Facebook page.

As invited guests of the US Ambassador to Lithuania, Deborah A. McCarthy, they toured the US Embassy and put on a short concert there.

Cindy Pasky (far right) enjoying the concert in Marijampole

Cindy Pasky enjoying the concert in Marijampole

The Singers even performed the Lithuanian national anthem … in Lithuanian … perfectly on Good Morning Lithuania. That show reaches one million people.

“The Mosaic Singers were awesome,” said Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions, who travelled to Lithuania to see the choir perform in Marijampole and Vilnius. “They showed the world what tremendous talent we have in the USA and Detroit. S³ was proud to sponsor them. They represent everything we stand for … determination, quality, professionalism and setting the bar high for success.”

Twenty-six young Mosaic singers, ages 14-18, made the trip and sang their hearts out every day … including impromptu concerts in the airport, on buses, public spaces and many other places.

“We have to thank Cindy Pasky, Paul Huxley and everyone at Strategic Staffing Solutions for their incredible generosity in making this once-of-lifetime opportunity possible for the young artists of Mosaic,” said Rick Sperling, CEO of the Mosaic Youth Theatre. “In addition to the World Choir Games in Latvia, it was an incredible experience having Strategic Staffing Solutions bring Mosaic to Lithuania as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. and Detroit.”

Mosaic Singers perform at CaimirThis World Choir Games competition is a big deal. Singers came from five continents and 73 countries. There were 460 choirs and 27,000 participants competed. Awards were presented in 29 categories.

“These accomplishments (of the Mosaic Singers) are the result of our emphasis on setting high expectations for Detroit youth and giving them the support and training needed to reach them,” said Sperling. “What these young people accomplished was not just a result of talent, but of incredible hard work, determination, resiliency and professionalism — qualities that will continue to serve them in whatever path they choose to pursue in life.”

Here’s a rundown of the medals won by the Mosaic Singers:

  • Gold in the Pop category
  • Gold in Gospel … Mosaic ranked 4th in the world overall in choral gospel
  • Silver in Spiritual
  • Silver in the Mixed Youth Choir Open Competition

The Mosaic Singers first won two silver medals but were not content. They wanted gold and vowed to get it. When the announcement came that they won the gold chants of USA, USA, USA could be heard drowning out the applause. Remind you of the Olympics? It should this competition is often referred to as the Olympics for Choirs.

During the Mosaic’s World Choir Games Qualification Concerts in Pop they quickly had the European audience clapping (unsolicited) and hooting and hollering. These are not the easiest performances because there is no audience, just three judges staring at you and taking notes. These young artists came through like pros.

“We are so proud of how the Mosaic young artists represented Detroit and USA at the World Choir Games,” Sperling said. “While we are proud of all of our awards, the Gold Medal in Gospel and Silver Medal in Spiritual are especially meaningful because they came in the Champions Competition where our 14-18 year old young artists were competing against the best choirs of all ages from all around the world.”

The Mosaic Singers also joined all the thousands of other singers at a major concert in the “Mežaparks,” a neighborhood in North Central Riga, Latvia, and other “friendship concerts” in Latvia.

The Mosaic Singers are no strangers to travel. They have performed in more than 25 states, at The White House and The Kennedy Center. Internationally, they have represented the United States at the World Festival of Children’s Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, performed at The Millennium Dome in London England, and participated in cultural exchanges with Dakar, Senegal and Singapore.

Since the Games were created in 2000 the worldwide operating organization INTERKULTUR from Pohlheim has been in charge of the program. The event takes place every two years in alternating cities. It was last held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2012. Previous hosts included Austria, South Korea, Germany and China.

We thought we would share some videos with you.

Singing Lithuanian National Anthem