Best and Brightest Summit Brings National Business Leaders Together

Best and Brightest Summit - Beth Wilson - Excelas LLC
Stay current with healthcare and senior care provider regulatory trends, news and solutions delivered right to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.

Get Solutions


Panel discussion featuring four C-Suite business leaders from Best and Brightest Companies winners

See what Beth Wilson had to share during the panel discussion featuring four C-Suite business leaders from Best and Brightest Companies winners: Stacie Kwaiser, the CEO of Rehmann, Beth Wilson, president of Excelas, LLCKathy Steele, CEO and president of Red Caffeine A Growth Consultancy, and Kevin Schneiders, chief servant leader and CEO of EDSI.

The conversation was led by Jennifer Kluge, and included their authentic actions and solutions around building a better #workforce and centered around a variety of issues facing business leaders these days.

Importance of communication
Kwaiser: “You communicate (the message) at least 7 times. What’s really important is leaders throughout the firm are familiar with the messaging. We do a lot and mix it up with in-person, video meetings, video messages if something important is coming up. One of the best things we did – sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good (draws a laugh from the audience) – was hire an internal communications specialist prior to Covid. She’s really helped us think about methods of communicating. You can never communicate enough. There are so many different methods of communication and they all get received differently. You have to take it to the teams in many different ways.”

Relationships between the C-Suite and HR teams
Schneiders: “Our chief talent officer and I have worked together for 26 years, so we’ve literally grown up together, and I can think of maybe one time we disagreed. We’re often on the same page. She’s always had a seat at the table. I think of her as the most important person in the company. I think the talent team and HR team … are trying to protect the company. They want to go at a certain pace, make intelligent, informed and logical decisions, and sometimes those of us who grew up in operations want things to go a little faster. It’s usually centered around the pace of that decision, and we try to balance that.”

Kwaiser: “We don’t always have the same opinion (referring to her HR chief) but we listen to each other. I’ve got key words … we work through it. He sits in a position where he attends our board meetings now. He’s elevated and respected and part of my leadership team. It comes to play more in the service side. One example is about non-performing associates. One department thinks we’re moving too slow and being too nice. The other department thinks we’re pushing to push people out the door. If you have opposing opinions, we must be right in the middle.”

How company culture is driven
Kluge pointed out that culture comes “top down and middle up. So what percentage of the CEO’s job revolves around culture?”

Wilson: “Having people you’re hiring fit the culture to begin with is helpful. Understand what the culture of the company is, then making sure during the recruiting and onboarding process that these are people who want to be part of that culture. I admit when I don’t know something, I don’t try to pretend I have all the answers, and I acknowledge each individual for their expertise, their experience, and invite the sharing of ideas. Our meeting structure … each week we’re celebrating successes. It’s an agenda item.”

Steele: “It really starts with the first experience with our organization, reenforcing the culture and the values in the interview process. It’s just spending one-on-one time with people throughout the organization, and having the other leaders spend one-on-one time with people. So much comes through in those one-on-one conversations as to what’s going on with them personally and professionally.”

Schneiders: “When I joined EDSI, we had nine people in one room, and now we have 900 people across 55 locations. So it’s changed a lot, and the challenge has been how do you maintain that culture as you grow and when you don’t have those connections with people? I still meet with the 900 people in the company at least once a year. That’s my commitment to them, that I’ll meet with them for at least 30 minutes. I’m trying to lead by example in having those contacts.”

Kwaiser: “I just became CEO in January (after 27 years with Rehmann). One of the things I’ve been known for is spending time with our team and really connecting. I spend a lot of time doing town halls, visiting offices, doing videos. We have a platform that sends out reminders to welcome somebody to the firm. The most important thing is we understand what drives the associates. You really have to know what each team member is inspired by.”

What pressures outside of talent issues are “keeping you up at night?”
Kwaiser:  It’s economy-driven, but making sure we’re spending time with our clients and understanding where they’re at. We spend a lot of time — For 20-plus years, we’ve had a ‘Dale Carnegie-based purpose belief — so we really want to understand what clients need and be able to help them. We’re hybrid … we have to make sure to meet our clients where they are. Economic challenges are actually an opportunity to really help our clients. It’s more complex (than it was pre-pandemic) because, just like our associates like different work environments, our clients have different work environments.”

Wilson: “What’s keeping me up is AI and the impact it’s going to have on our company. I’m just a little anxious to make sure we’re proactive, that we’re learning and we’re figuring out the best way to apply the new technology.”

Post Tags: