As you know, this is the second in a series of blogs about how to deal with cancer and major illness in the workplace. The content for this series is based on responses to questions from some key CEOs who are dedicated to eradicating cancer. What a great goal. As a cancer survivor myself, and as an executive coach with leadership teams, I am so moved by their mission.
These amazing leaders are so worth interviewing because they're taking a stand for the well being of their employees. They're focusing on how to be kind and empathetic in the face of challenging diagnoses of their team members. They're committed to helping their employees remain and work and feel a sense of purpose during their difficult time.
In this blog, you'll read the beginning of questions with three more CEO's and then their responses will be even more elaborated in subsequent blogs. Please note how their company values describe "why" they are the kind of committed people they are.
First is Cecelia Lakatos Sullivan, President and CEO of PTI Solutions, a telecommunications company in McClellan, CA. Barbara Winters founded the company nearly 30 years ago and Cecelia joined in 2003.They are consistently listed in the 25 Top Certified Women-Owned Businesses in the Sacramento Business Journal. They have about 160 employees, or what Cecelia refers to as their "family." On their website it says: "PTI is committed to using our business resources to benefit our local communities."
Second is Adam Goodman, President of Goodmans Interior Structures in Phoenix, AZ. Goodmans is a seven time Best Places to Work Winner. Adam is the third generation of the Goodman family to run the business and he has grown it to about 150 employees. Right on the front page of their website it says, "We are changing our community. And we are doing it by establishing ourselves as an example -- with style, humor, compassion, integrity and respect."
Third is Rick Medlin, CEO of Fruit of the Loom International, Bowling Green, KY. I am honored that the CEO of a company with 300,000 employees would take the time to respond to my request. Wow. On their website it says: "We believe that successful companies need healthy societies. We embrace the concept of corporate social responsibility as a tool that provides an integral view of business and society."
Now, what do these three amazing leaders of their company have in common? In their own words: They invest in their employees. They invest in perks and benefits. They offer wellness incentives. They provide a variety of educational training options.
Most of all, however, is that they put their employees and their needs first; especially employees impacted by a major illness. Whether an employee needs accommodations to be able to come to work everyday, or whether they need time off to take care of themselves or their loved ones, these companies "get it."
Certainly in a very large international company like Fruit of the Loom, it's not possible for everyone to know about everyone else. One of the things I value is that employees with Major illness be able to speak (or NOT) about their illness. They have protections in place that enable them to keep their situation private. Then, it is up to them to share as they see fit.
In smaller companies like Goodmans and PTI, the family feeling of the company makes it more okay for people to know when a co-worker is experiencing a challenge. Through this knowledge, people can more readily reach out to their peers with offers to support and help.
To read my first interview, with Sherry Lansing, CEO of The Sherry Lansing Foundation, please go here:
Kudos to Cecelia, Adam and Rick. Please come back for further blogs with their full responses to my interview questions. You will realize the reasons I so respect them.