2022 Smart Culture Awards

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Change is constant, but culture is always in your control

As a co-founder of this event along with Smart Business Network, I want to extend a sincere congratulations to all of the 2022 honorees of our sixth year of the Smart Culture awards. It is amazing to watch the growth of this community of culture-focused companies we are creating here in Northeast Ohio.

As we emerge from the past two years of living through a global pandemic, I look around in awe at what we’ve all endured. What we’ve learned. How we’ve adapted. And how our smart cultures have allowed us to thrive in the face of uncertainty. David Cummings, Pardot CEO, said, “Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.”

As we shift to a remote and hybrid-dominant workforce, flexibility and adaptability will still be the name of the game. But keep in mind the one thing that matters most is a strong culture that serves as your organization’s true north. Now is not the time to scale back your culture efforts. In fact, doubling down is the best foundation for scaling your business to new heights.

The TalentLaunch Network is also in its sixth year as a nationwide network of independently operated staffing and recruitment companies all tied to one belief — INSPIRING THE WORLD TO REALIZE ITS POTENTIAL. Our local Northeast Ohio-based companies include Alliance Solutions Group, Alliance Healthcare Solutions, Alliance Industrial Solutions, Alliance Search Solutions, and Artemis (our IT brand). As we move into our sixth year of the Smart Culture Conference, I am so proud to see this event continue with new ideas to build a culture that is flexible and believed by all. Now, more than ever, I hope you will embrace the power of your culture. Congratulations to all. ●

Alliance Solutions Group CEO Aaron Grossman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Smart Culture Honorees

 

 

 

 

Chairman and CEO: Fred DiSanto

From the start, Ancora has maintained a culture that every employee can be proud of. Because many of its investment professionals have worked together in some capacity for over 20 years, there has always been a strong sense of camaraderie among the team. The team has adapted to make a more formalized effort to further grow and improve Ancora’s culture as the firm saw significant growth over the past decade.
Ancora was quick to adapt during the pandemic, using its regular Business Continuity team meetings to review state and local data and guidelines, and adjust internal policies accordingly. This involved periods of full or partial remote work to ensure the wellness of the team. Mindful of the impacts that might have had on its culture, internal communication became more frequent, and transparency was emphasized. Managers were encouraged to stay connected to their team members, aided by software for improved connectivity, and low-risk in-person interactions were undertaken when possible. For example, when cases were low over the summer, the sales team hosted its annual employee appreciation event as an outdoor cookout.

Ancora expects to continue to invest in its culture, overall employee happiness and wellbeing, as those efforts have a direct correlation to its success as a firm. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Kyle Braun

As its workforce has grown exponentially in the last year and remained remote, Budget Dumpster has formalized processes and added structure to strengthen the existing fabric of its culture.

Through a strategic restructuring of its sales and customer service teams, Budget Dumpster evaluated personal and team member development. The team sizes were adjusted from groups of 20 to 30 employees to teams of seven to 10. Forming these groups provided the opportunity to promote team members from within to take on new leadership roles. This also helped new hires feel valued and empowered to contribute.
Budget Dumpster also enhanced professional development through a semi-annual review and goal-setting process. This individualized development plan helps employees understand their current impact and visualize their future contributions, providing a strong sense of purpose by directly connecting their contributions to greater company initiatives.

To bridge the gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Budget Dumpster prioritized employees’ health and wellness, in part by strengthening existing employee relationships through activating team channels on collaborative online tools. A greater sense of structure and purpose was put behind internal employee communications, helping all employees stay in the loop with transparent company updates. It also revamped employee onboarding by developing new hire training portals, videos and process documents. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Teresa Lindsey

To sustain a strong culture despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Channel Products created a flexible work schedule where geography is less important than results.

Safety is and has always been important to the company, so it applied many of the same principles it had always applied toward keeping employees safe and healthy during the pandemic. The company remains focused on wellness, work-life balance, enjoyment of work and work environment, healthy eating, and exercise of body and mind, all issues Channel Products regularly communicates to its workforce and supports through a wellness program that includes a state-of-the-art gym within its offices.

Channel Products says it trusts people to make good choices, and provides information that helps them do that. The company also manages schedules around the needs of employees and customers.

The company says it’s energized by possibility and excitement, which it says can be felt in its hallways and seen in its products. That feeling drives employees to go above and beyond to deliver results to customers, and it also helps with retention. The company’s management team, for the most part, has remained through year after year of growth, and its workforce has low turnover. This type of culture both attracts customers and contributes to growth. ●

 

 

 

President and CEO: Tom Mihaljevic

Cleveland Clinic’s vision is to be the best place to receive care anywhere and the best place to work in health care. Teamwork is a cornerstone value, and the clinic regularly checks in with its caregivers at all levels to solicit their input regarding the quality of their employee experience and to measure their engagement. At the front line, leaders and managers have one-on-one conversations with each of their team members regarding their experiences and development wishes, and to foster continued connection with their team members.

The pandemic shined a light on caregiver well-being and a new, enterprise-wide strategy was launched. For the first time, the organization was structurally positioned to develop a comprehensive approach to well-being, inclusive of all caregivers globally, with the opportunity to convey a single, unified vision and strategic framework.

Workplace Wellness led the strategy development effort and phase 1 was implemented in 2021. A multi-disciplinary governance structure was created to leverage prior successes and drive future well-being, which became an identified metric within Cleveland Clinic’s executive leader objective and key results, which guide the health system to focus on what matters most. The clinic established goals, objectives and expected results that are tied to its strategic plan. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Brian Zimmerman

Cleveland Metroparks’ strong culture can be attributed to employee engagement and buy-in when shaping the mission, vision and values that guide the organization. Cleveland Metroparks just completed the process of revamping the organization’s mission statement and developing a new strategic plan guiding its second century of stewardship. Interviews with C-level leaders and more than 20 internal employee focus groups helped define a new mission, core goals and plan that was then socialized among the public and local business community for feedback. Ensuring Cleveland Metroparks’ vision for the future is aligned with community expectations sets the organization up for success moving forward.

During the pandemic, communication from executive leadership increased significantly to help employees stay connected, up-to-date and engaged through regular email and video updates, especially during periods when in-person meetings weren’t possible.
By having a strong organizational mission and purpose, Cleveland Metroparks employees have been able to rise above the many impacts of COVID-19. Many in the community continue to seek refuge in the park system as the pandemic endures. Employees have shown recognition and greater enthusiasm in their roles in public service. The organization has been able to do more with less”by being adaptable, balancing needs and resources with a critical eye and staying true to its organizational values. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Lee Friedman

The culture at College Now Greater Cleveland influences its success. It helps staff stay motived to serve students and serves as a reminder that everyone in the organization is aligned in their work.

That strong culture is reflected in its lack of turnover, particularly in management positions. College Now has stability and consistent leadership, which has helped maintain the strong organizational culture.

In thinking about organizational growth or the creation of new programs, College Now always considers staff capacity to ensure no one is overburdened. It frequently hires and promotes from within to capitalize on its staff’s skills and passions.

Internal communications and internal staff committees are leveraged to help make improvements by giving staff a say in policies, procedures and operations. By engaging staff in this way, their opinions are heard as diversity initiatives, employee engagement events, or handbook policies are shaped.

College Now has sustained a strong organizational culture throughout the COVID-19 pandemic through increased internal communications and listening to staff’s needs. COVID-19 has helped the organization become more tech-savvy, giving it more options on how to engage its staff. It has also seen how much its staff appreciates receiving messages directly from leadership about the organization, which may shape internal communications moving forward. ●

 

 

 

President and CEO: Ron Leonhardt Jr.

CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC has been recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations and directly impacts company success. It’s an entrepreneurial company that every day focuses on growth — for its people, its customers and its business. Employees receive unwavering support from all departments and total transparency from the top down.

The company is putting greater emphasis on internal communications that inform, inspire and engage. It leverages a variety of communications channels to meet employees where they are, from team and functional meetings to intranet, newsletter and email communications and updates from the executive team.

CrossCountry Mortgage embraces external surveys that provide an analysis of employee perception and uses the response data to understand and act on areas of improvement. The company looks for opportunities to propel two-way communications, giving employees a voice. For example, as it moves its headquarters to nearby renovated buildings, it communicates regularly with employees to build excitement for the progress and address any concerns. An HQ Ambassador network has been established, through which representatives from different functions can raise concerns and questions from their teams and help the company understand building communications needs. It also has an open form where employees can submit questions, and a running FAQ is published based on those question areas. ●

 

 

 

 

President: Kirk Zehnder

Earnest Machine is intentional with the steps it takes to create and maintain a great culture through many facets of the employee experience. The company hires only A-players, those who want to work for intrinsic reasons, not just extrinsic. From the job post to the interviews, it’s communicated with candidates that the need is for employees who want to make a difference. They’re encouraged to come to share their ideas, to make a difference and make the company better.

Employee development is also a huge part of the culture. The company identifies new hires’ strengths quickly and ensures they’re put in the right spots to make the biggest impact. Micro teams called Earnest Operating Units were created to fill the gaps in areas that don’t fall specifically into one department. They allow people to interact outside of their departments and focus on projects that improve the business.

Because of COVID, more light has been shed on the importance of mental health. The leadership team rolled out a program that offers therapy for employees and their families with no out-of-pocket cost and no restrictions. The company covers the monthly charge, and all employees are eligible to enroll as soon as they’re hired. ●

 

 

 

 

CEO: Brett Lindsey

In a challenging year, Everstream’s success came from engaged, happy team members because it is impossible to have happy customers if the people providing the service don’t exude it during each interaction.

If Everstream’s culture were to be defined by one attribute, it is transparency. It’s important to have a culture of integrity, where employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions. That approach leads to team members who are well-positioned to grow and succeed in their current roles and who are encouraged to advance through the organization. With this culture of transparency, team members feel informed, which in turn fosters trust and encourages team members to work smarter together.

During the shutdown, success came in great part due to the strong relationships that were formed in the company’s offices prior to the pandemic. The collaboration across cubicles quickly transitioned into collaboration between home offices and living rooms. The office management team adapted from planning parties and events to finding new and creative ways to keep people connected virtually. Team chats were formed on various topics that employees had in common so that they could stay connected, and “best of” contests were held to make employees smile. ●

 

 

 

 

President: Lauren Burke Devere

Fire-Dex prides itself on being a family business whose mission is “to serve those who serve.” The company strives to uphold its core values of Fun, Integrity, Respect and Excellence through employee growth, involvement and investment.

With its Opportunities for Improvement program, associates can offer effective suggestions on how to better enhance the overall work environment. By implementing employee suggestions, overall satisfaction, motivation, and engagement are improved.

Although this year has been challenging, the company has onboarded more than 100 associates, in part by creating more remote positions that, in the past, would have been on site. Fire-Dex offers various hiring and retention bonuses and perks to show that it values the work and dedication of its associates. For example ,it recently implemented a paid maternity and paternity policy that includes adoption and foster child placement leave.

To sustain a strong culture despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fire-Dex hosted frequent virtual and in-person touch-base meetings among team members. A once-a-month virtual town hall meeting is hosted between remote associates and leadership to discuss company news. A new internal policy implementing core meeting hours and a no-meeting day was also launched this year. The no-meeting day also allows space for team members to focus on work tasks without interruption. ●

 

 

 

 

VP, People & Culture: Kimberly Sullivan

Culture is a core focus and fundamental part of the organizational structure and growth at Fund That Flip, where they strive to make the organization a modern workplace where team members feel seen, heard and accepted — one where they enjoy coming to work while feeling they are a valued part of a team.

Fund That Flip is a real estate investing and lending company founded in 2014 with a mission to enable clients to create wealth and improve communities by investing in real estate. It has strong organizational values and believes in instilling those core values into team members. Organizations are navigating through unprecedented times, and to keep culture and morale at peak levels, the company has to come together as one team to think creatively about its growth. Its member live by the company’s guiding philosophy “The Hustle,” which stands for hard work, unity, success, transparency, learning every day and empathy, and the leadership team encourages members to live out that mentality in all things Fund That Flip.

Transparency is critical at the company, and it has established core objectives in its mission, vision and values. Fund That Flip knows that its success is because of its amazing team members. ●

 

 

 

 

 

President: Matt Adams

As GNCO has evolved from a mid-sized regional company to a larger national company with growing dynamic brands, it reviewed its mission, vision and values (MVV) to align with its growth.

The executive leadership team did a full evaluation in 2021 and found that the company had pivoted not only based on growth but as a result of the pandemic. This included additional flexibility, dedicated communication on business performance, an enhanced recognition program, compensation and teamwork. These all redefined GNCO’s focus and led to updated MVVs.  GNCO companies will fulfill their vision by consistently providing timely, dependable, empathetic solutions to proactively deliver safe, high-quality products and services.

GNCO is a family-owned, fiscally responsible organization with a diverse portfolio of companies that expect to be the best in each distribution class. Associates will be customer-focused, team-oriented and passionate in the pursuit of excellence, communicating fully and acting with the highest integrity, making GNCO companies valued partners and employers of choice.

Values include having a positive attitude and a can-do spirit; encouraging self-development and nurturing an intellectual curiosity for continuous self-improvement; acting selflessly, sacrificing individual recognition to achieve a greater overall outcome; and having respect, trust and integrity for all coworkers, customers and suppliers. ●

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Bill Priemer

Creating a great place to work has been an intentional part of how Hyland has operated since 1991. Growing into a global company with more than 4,000 employees has only given the company more opportunities to take care of its ever-expanding Hyland family.

Trust is a critical component at Hyland, and it begins with psychological safety, when everyone feels they are safe enough to bring their whole self to work, regardless of background, location, orientation, or age. This begins with executive leadership and continues throughout every part of the organization. Hyland has developed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Executive Council, which provides corporate oversight of DEI strategy, programs and progress.

Each employee working from home receives the support needed to be effective, including home office equipment and an internet stipend. All employees continue to receive the technical support and access to the tools necessary to do their jobs, no matter where they are or what their technical acumen may be.

Hyland’s Learning and Organizational Development supports talent management throughout employees’ careers by providing onboarding, mentoring, learning programs, developmental opportunities, consulting and coaching to gain experience and exposure in support of career aspirations that align with Hyland’s organizational goals. ●

 

 

 

 

Regional COO/Market President: Kim Riley

Eighty-six years ago, Hylant was founded on its core values — family, hard work, honesty, respect and empathy. These values continue to guide its interactions with clients, within its communities and with each other, every day. The fourth-generation company still operates with a family-first mentality, considering clients, employees and carriers as family. Hylant’s core values guide the way its people think, work and act. By putting these ideals into practice every day, the company upholds its commitment to help people live safer, more secure lives.

Hylant keeps its core values at the forefront when it comes to developing its employees. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that its clients receive unparalleled service, and it begins with making sure employees are properly trained, providing them with the tools and resources to become industry experts and develop a true understanding of the distinctiveness and individuality of each client.

In addition to the continuing education requirements for licensing, Hylant encourages consistent learning and cross-training. Learning is an ongoing process at Hylant, so whether it is in-office training, webinars, or networking opportunities, employees are fully equipped with the necessary knowledge to successfully lead and assist clients. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President and chief visionary officer: Jennifer Malcolm

The past two years have opened the eyes of millions of Americans to the realities of working from home. When quarantine was in full effect in 2020, you couldn’t turn on the television without a heartfelt commercial conveying a message about standing together, overcoming hardships and cherishing moments at home.

Jennasis & Associates had already discovered the magic of working remotely long before the pandemic. The company was created 11 years ago on a quest to resist the status quo, establishing a company that is not only passionate about its vision and objectives but that embraces the core values of family and personal well-being through a completely remote business model.

Throughout the life of Jennasis, and especially in recent years, the formula for work-life balance has stood the test of time. Jennasis & Associates, a full digital marketing agency that tailors unique marketing plans and provides high-quality deliverables for its nationwide clientele, has continued to thrive and build on its success. The Jennasis team shares a passion for accomplishing client goals while maintaining work-life balance through the company’s uniquely scalable, virtual structure. ●

 

 

 

President and CEO: Jeff Housenbold

With the ever-changing regulations of the global pandemic and its effects on the work environment, Leaf Home has adapted seamlessly thanks to the technology platforms it has in place. Communication is paramount when people are unable to have in-person meetings, and Leaf Home uses videoconferencing daily to communicate with coworkers and hold meetings. While nothing can replace in-person collaboration, using this technology is the next best thing.

Since 2005, Leaf Home has crafted a team of the very best — from the corporate level to its local offices across the country — who embrace the mission of transforming home hassles into personal peace of mind. It provides employees with opportunities to grow and succeed in a supportive environment, allowing them to carry those successes into every aspect of the business and their own lives.

Leaf Home provides a unique environment where team members can develop personally and professionally. From its recruiting process to retention, it knows how to find and keep the best of the best people. And it is proud of its emphasis on veteran recruitment, giving transitioning service members and their families a chance to thrive in a supportive, veteran-forward environment. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

President & CEO: Ethan Karp

MAGNET has created a culture where people want to work by offering personal development, continuous improvement and healthy, happy and strong clients, teams and relationships.

These values drive all of the organization’s work, commitments and interactions. They are the threads that tie employees, clients, processes and operations together. They shine through each new hire and are reflected in the work they do. From its hiring process that ensures MAGNET finds those who share its core values, through the quarterly and annual review cycle, to its annual Values Week, the organization’s values are the place from which its people grow, adapt, improve and work, both as an organization and as individuals. They are the intention of every conversation, meeting and other interactions.

Establishing these values as MAGNET’s foundation and its commitment to harnessing them has been the main contributors to its award-winning culture. They are the organization’s true north, its consistent guide to focus its work and achieve its mission of growing the Northeast Ohio manufacturing community.

Each year, employees create a personal and professional development plan and MAGNET employs a feedback methodology and iterative work process to help the team constantly strive to improve. ●

 

 

 

President and CEO: Todd Leebow

Majestic Steel USA is customer and culture obsessed. It all starts with its understanding of customers and their continuously evolving needs, so it can provide the most impactful information and solutions, acting as partners to help their businesses keep building. This includes providing up-to-date and accurate market information, innovations in technology, strategic company news and Majestic solutions.

The company is also culture obsessed. To provide the best solutions, it must attract top talent. This makes it imperative to showcase its commitment to the communities its people live and work in, champion its industry and innovation within it and share its corporate values, career growth initiatives and opportunities.

Majestic’s social strategy provides focused information based on its audience and their needs. Its customer engagement approach provides the best industry information through publishing research in its weekly CORE Report, Wednesday Market Updates and the Keep Building Podcast, keeping customers informed with unbiased and fact-based research so they can make informed decisions for their businesses.

Majestic believes that open and honest communication is key to creating its culture of inclusion, character and results. It is critical to be honest and accurate, and this guiding principle builds trust among associates and partners, both internal and external. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President: Jerry Kelsheimer
CEO: Tom Ferkovic

In late 2018, Medic Management Group/MMG Healthcare Solutions (MMG) was recapitalized and ownership concentrated with active company leaders. At that time, it immediately initiated a very purposeful and intentional effort to positively migrate company culture.

Historically a hierarchy, both the formal and informal organizations were flattened. Transparency and information sharing became the standard. Lines of communication were opened, and safety, respect, clarity and support were established as nonnegotiable norms. Team members were engaged, empowered and challenged to lead cultural change. The journey continues, yet the results speak for themselves — consistent positive trajectory in measured engagement, above industry average retention and record-setting financial performance.

Contributing to a positive cross-cultural evolution at MMG is communication and an engaged team in revisions to the company’s mission, vision and values as the company creates the expectation that team members have a clear understanding of how values are applied in day-to-day activities.

In addition, everyone is a leader at MMG, where leadership is defined as influence, not position, and each team member is empowered and expected to lead in a positive way. Finally, MMG’s culture has thrived through its transition to a virtual workplace, with more than 90 percent of its workforce designated full-time remote. ●

 

 

 

 

 

President and COO: Shawn Los

Whether in the office or working virtually, the National Interstate culture can be easily identified, and it remains a large engagement factor for its employees. National Interstate works to create an environment for employees to live their best lives through meaningful work and by creating a culture that supports, engages and empowers everyone.

The company has helped employees live their best lives by building a flexible hybrid culture that is represented by its ongoing adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, employees’ safety and well-being remained the company’s top priority, and it continues to drive decisions on its flexible hybrid work model. One of the most evident examples of this was the flexibility and real-time decision-making based on the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. Following CDC guidelines, National Interstate created an incremental approach for returning to a hybrid office environment while monitoring the pandemic. As the rollout of the plans began, the COVID-19 environment changed, and the company adjusted its return-to-office hybrid plans to keep its commitment to employee safety and well-being. This purposeful flexibility during the transition to a hybrid work model is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support its employees’ safety and well-being needs, as well as their work-life balance needs. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Neal Restivo

Oatey Co.’s purpose, values and vision are the cornerstones of its culture. More than just words, they are a purposeful and genuine representation of what the company wants to be to its customers, communities and one another.

As a company that’s more than 100 years old, it’s important to leadership that it maintains the core tenets that have enabled its success. Town hall meetings begin by reviewing Oatey’s purpose, values and vision. In addition, the leadership team regularly discusses those things to ensure they are an accurate and effective representation of the business, emphasizing that the values are not situational — they apply at all times, even when they are not convenient. In 2021, Oatey refreshed its vision and values to reflect its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The purpose at Oatey is to deliver quality, build trust and improve lives, and its employees strive to live that purpose every day. It is useful to have a simple, direct, consistent way to convey what the organization exists to do, and the purpose directly relates to the products it manufactures and delivers for customers. However, it also extends to the way employees interact with one another and the ways they support their communities. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President and CEO: Chris Adams

Park Place Technologies (PPT) promotes a culture that centers around collaboration, trust, mutual respect and a demonstration of gratitude. PPT employees treat each other with respect and appreciation, which is apparent at all levels of the organization.

This starts during the recruiting and onboarding process, in which every new hire receives orientation to acclimate and educate on need-to-knows in the first week, such as casual dress code, benefits and setting up IT equipment. They are also greeted with a personalized PPT swag bag and, if applicable, a tour of their office location.

New hires learn about the culture through Park Place Life, consisting of work, health and community pillars. At work, the company encourages feedback through avenues including an open-door policy, employee surveys, team meetings and weekly one-on-one conversations. All employees have a voice at PPT and are encouraged to share feedback, leveraging the channel they feel most comfortable with, even when the feedback challenges the status quo. PPT is a high-performing organization that believes in right person, right place and encourages all employees to own their development by leveraging conversations with direct managers to create development plans and utilizing the company’s library of careerpathing resources. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Executive VP and Chief Accounting Officer: Christa Vesy

SITE Centers’ culture revolves around its guiding principles, known as its Matters of FACT. Fearless, Authentic, Curious and Thoughtful are core values the company identifies as a reflection of its moral code and behaviors that exist in its passionate, hard-working, dedicated employees.

The principles are not abstract or unattainable; they are embodied by SITE Centers, both as a company and as individuals. Its people live the core values every day through the ways they interact with one another. SITE Centers encourages employees to be their whole self, think big and challenge the status quo.

The true foundation of the organization’s business, programs and accomplishments is its employees. It is dedicated to fostering an inclusive, collaborative culture, in which everyone thrives and is committed to building and maintaining a best-in-class team focused on shaping the future of retail real estate. Good ideas can come from anywhere, and the organization’s sustainability centers on creative teamwork, tireless execution and a collaborative work environment.

SITE Centers’ multimillion-dollar corporate office renovation is an investment in employees and a commitment to the Cleveland community. At least annually, the company asks for employee input to measure satisfaction levels, and engagement levels have remained high despite remote work arrangements during the pandemic. ●

 

 

 

EVP Human Resources: Anna Gluck

The mission, vision and values are extremely important to the executive leadership team at Transtar Industries. The team not only ensures that employees know and understand them, it has proactively worked to embed these important philosophies into its culture. Values create a common language of expectation that employees strive to live by, allowing the organization to continue moving forward in the vision that leadership has set for it.

While most businesses during the pandemic struggled with when and how to bring employees back to the office, Transtar shifted directly to a permanent hybrid/remote work environment. Shifting the focus away from “where” its people work to instead spending time on what they work on allowed the company to experience tremendous growth and a phenomenal performance year. Its ability to attract talent based on this hybrid/remote schedule alone has allowed it to bring in talent it would not have otherwise found within a specific geographic radius.

Transtar is always trying to improve employee engagement levels, and while it’s not easy with onsite employees spread throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, plus hybrid/remote employees, it constantly challenges itself to think bigger and ensure that employees feel a sense of belonging. ●

 

 

 

 

Business manager: Taurean Spratt

The core purpose at Turner Construction Co. is to make a difference in the lives of its people, customers and community. It brings that to life through its culture, which focuses on three core values — teamwork, integrity and commitment.

The company’s leadership recognizes its primary asset is its people. To be successful, Turner must be a rewarding place to work. The goal is to have a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment, where people feel physically and emotionally safe. They want every person at Turner and every person who steps onto a Turner site to truly believe they are contributing to, and have a sense of belonging to, something extraordinary.

The company’s people work with clients as a team, and mutual respect provides the foundation for their success. Turner remains true to its founding values of quality, honesty and hard work, and has the highest ethical standards in the industry.

Turner is a business based on trust and is consistently associated with the high standards of service, quality, personal attention to clients and integrity. Because of this reputation, the company has the privilege of leading some of the highest-profile, often one-of-a-kind projects in the world. ●

 

 

 

 

CEO: Jodi Berg

Vitamix is a 100-year-old, family-owned company, and the foundational leadership, passion and commitment that founder William Grover “Papa” Barnard brought to the company in 1921 is alive and well today. Throughout its history — especially during times of major transition/transformation — the Vitamix CORE, which is its purpose, mission, values, edge and guiding principles, have guided decisions and helped Vitamix stay true to its roots.

Vitamix employees want reliable company information, and the company’s leadership communicates to internal constituents across the globe to inform, instruct and inspire colleagues so they are self-accountable and can support the organization’s goals and objectives by alignment to its purpose and mission. The Vitamix brand voice is always authentic, passionate and reliable — unwavering qualities that emanate from the CORE to create the source of truth. Its overarching messaging reinforces its CORE, which is critical to supporting an engaged and educated workforce.

Because Vitamix is a wellbeing-focused company, it offers perks to employees to help them maintain their own personal wellbeing. Its Vitality Wellbeing Portal, in partnership with Asset Health and its Employee Assistance Program (EAP), includes mental, physical, financial and social wellbeing programs, and the EAP offers classes on how to cope with being home during COVID. ●

 

 

 

Founder and Chief Experience Officer: Debbie Donley

With 34 years of business under its belt, Vocon’s leadership has come to know that its people are its greatest asset. They are the single most important tool in its toolbox, and it cannot rely solely on the entrepreneurial spirit that the company was built upon to continue along the path to success.

While that spirit is one of Vocon’s core principles and guiding factors, it takes concerted efforts big and small to foster that spirit in support of the happiness of its people. Happy people are productive people, whether it is at work or at home. Too often the focus can be on the wrong side of the equation. As a leading global strategy, architecture and design firm, Vocon’s leadership understands the importance of having a dynamic workplace environment that supports staff and the culture and that serves its clients in unique and authentic ways.

The vision for Vocon’s redesigned headquarters, occupied since 2005, was to create a welcoming, activity-based work environment that offers flexible options for employees and guests to work successfully, either independently or in groups. And to keep employees engaged during the pandemic, Vocon created a newsletter to keep everyone up to date on new hires, important dates, future projects and health/safety protocols. ●

 

 

 

 

Chief Marketing Officer: Matt Buder Shapiro

Vytalize Health’s culture and how it works with employees differentiates the company from its competitors. Its leadership believes that employees can become a business’s most significant asset or its biggest liability, depending on how much they are empowered.

Vytalize has built a flat organizational structure that is very open to ideas and that has formed a diverse team culture that encourages groups to take on problems instead of deputizing people. This allows for various perspectives and ideas to grow. Moreover, the company judges people on their character, professionalism and merit rather than their degrees or background. At Vytalize, the principal values include teamwork, compassion, intelligence and, perhaps most important, drive. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a primary care landscape that places patients and their health at the forefront. That means solving complex multidisciplinary problems that have never been tackled before.

Working for Vytalize entails working smarter and tackling difficult problems, as nothing else will fix the broken health care system that currently rewards quantity over quality. That takes drive. That takes passion. Speak with anyone at Vytalize and these values shine through. When establishing a healthy corporate culture, you can only grow and reach higher successes. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO: Michael Smith

World Group has a healthy obsession with its culture. From designing programs to consistently connect and deepen relationships with one another, to encouraging high-performance habits through interactive trainings and every happy hour in between, the company goes all out because its leadership cares.

The company is proud to have talent that believes in its mission: It moves the world with people who care. Its industry is the supply chain, so while it does, at a basic level, move freight, its culture separates it from other transportation companies and fuels its success.

The company believes passion brings energy and focus to inspire and deliver with excellence, and that the best ideas are born through collaboration. World Group values everyone equally and believes creativity allows people to think outside the box, problem solve and innovate, bringing the best solutions to their team members and partnerships.

It believes life is too short to skip on the fun that can be had connecting, creating and serving together, and in innovation and growing future opportunities for all. Innovators are forward thinkers carving the path to a better future.

Finally, World Group believes in high performance and open and honest communication because it seeks security and values relationships that its people trust. ●

 

 

 

 

 

 

President and CEO: Craig Dorn

The mission of Youth Opportunities Unlimited is to prepare teens and young adults to become self-sufficient contributors to building Northeast Ohio’s educated, skilled and inclusive workforce. Its vision is a just and equitable community where every young person is ready and confidently pursuing a meaningful future. As a nonprofit organization, its mission is the primary motivator for staff to come to work every day and perform at a high level.

The organization has a mission moment to kick off each board meeting to ground itself in purpose. It lists the mission on internal documents, and whenever confronted with a decision, always uses the guiding question: What is best for the youth it serves? Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s values are the centerpiece of its culture, and its employees live by the mantra that the values guide decisions and behavior. These values resonate with staff and, along with its mission, drive a culture that is positive, family-friendly and performance motivated.

Its values are excellence/continuous improvement, advocacy, accountability/stewardship, collaboration, data-informed decision making and diversity/equity/inclusion. Each month, one value is highlighted at staff town hall meetings, rotating which staff discuss the value, what it means to them and how it is addressing the organization’s work. ●