It was a real honor to introduce MP&F partner Alice Chapman as a new member of the Downtown Nashville Rotary Club recently. The experience reminded me of something very special about our workplace as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our company.
People stick around.
I talked about how Alice was the first, and so far only, person to start here at the entry level and become an equity partner. Alice is a true success story, landing here after graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1995. Sixteen years later, in 2011, she became a partner, and this marks her 22nd year at MP&F.
That made me think how fortunate we are to have such great institutional knowledge, loyalty, sense of community, experience and talent. We have benefited greatly from Alice, and many others.
Jennifer Miller was a senior at MTSU, worked part time at the state and became one of our first student interns in 1992. The then-unpaid position required her to commute from Murfreesboro. Sorry, no mileage reimbursement for unpaid interns.
Jennifer (now Brantley) graduated and joined the staff full-time later that year. Now a senior vice president and true company leader, her 25th anniversary is this month. She is a font of wisdom for our younger staff and a go-to team lead on many of our most important accounts.
My partners David Fox (27 years), Katy Varney (24 years) and Keith Miles (22 years) have been stabilizing influences here for a long time. Our late, great partner Mike Pigott would have celebrated his 29th anniversary here this year.
Fourteen of our top 19 managers have been here more than 10 years, including vice presidents Mary Ruth Raphael and Javier Solano (both 16 years) and Courtenay Rossi (13 years); senior account supervisors Jessica Darden (13 years) and Dan Schlacter (12 years); and account supervisors Erin Mercer (11 years), Stacy Alcala and Leigh Lindsey (10 years).
But wait. There’s more. Our trusty quality-control staff – proofreader Diane Roberts (26 years) and editorial director (and pollmaster par excellence) Roger Shirley (21 years) give us a competitive edge we will put up against anyone.
Another of our secret weapons is our IT director, Deborah Armour, now in her 17th year here. She keeps our systems running smoothly, and is available to do the same for our clients.
Every member of our talented and hardworking administrative staff has been here more than 10 years, led by accounting assistant Pat Ackerman (20 years), director of talent development Pam Schmidt (19 or so years not counting the time she left to sell real estate), executive assistant Erin Penny (12 years), office manager Susan Jett (11 years), administrative assistant Jessi Grant(11 years) and office assistant T.J. McCrary (10 years). In fact, the only person directly involved with the administrative staff who hasn’t been here for 10 years -– chief financial officer
Chad Raphael– seems like he has been here much longer, since he is married to Mary Ruth, mentioned above as being here for 16 years.
There are 26 people here (almost 40 percent of the staff total) who have tenures of 10 years or more. That tells me that we must be doing something right. Perfection is a great goal, but virtually impossible to achieve. But by working hard to be a place where people enjoy their jobs, we have been fortunate beneficiaries of the result.
And the best part of it is that the sages are counterbalanced by the smart, young and energetic 20- and 30-somethings who make up the rest of our staff.
Since this is our 30th anniversary, I thought I also might mention that I have been enjoying myself here for 30 years.