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Corporate Culture

Joining the Ropella Group is like joining a new family. Numerous team building exercises and outings bring Ropella’s team members together so that working together just comes naturally. Productivity is driven through investing in people. Each member of Ropella feels his or her own unique role in building the company’s success. Families come first at Ropella, and employees are encouraged to have a healthy work-life balance.
New hires will be welcomed into the Ropella family with specialized and individual onboarding attention, rather than outmoded “orientation” methods. Regular performance reviews and opportunities for advancement promote a solid foundation for success and an environment for a fulfilling career. As we like to say: We work together; we learn together, and we play together.
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Skills vs Attitudes:

What's more important Skills or Attitude? "We hire for attitude and train for skills" is the motto of South West Airlines, and we think they're on to something great. Here at Ropella, we know the best team members are not necessarily those with the most credentials - they are the ones with great character and attitude.

Essential Attitudes:

  • Humility At All Times
  • Honesty To A Fault
  • Hunger to Succeed
  • Common Sense Smart
  • Eager to Learn and Improve

A Great Ropella Employee Is:

  • Well Organized
  • Self Disciplined
  • A Focused Listener
  • A Sales Professional
  • A Relationship Builder
  • Interested In Mastering Work
Standards of Behavior:

I am focused on meeting client expectations and following directions from my direct supervisor.

  • I will represent the Ropella Group professionally in a respectful manner in all areas of communication: emails, phone calls, and face to face meetings.
  • I will protect our client’s corporate privacy and candidate’s personal information privacy.
  • I will make every effort to address our clients and candidate’s needs and wants, while promoting a positive Ropella experience. I’m all about aligning expectations.

I conduct myself responsibly.

  • I take ownership for my work, and will follow-up diligently with all assigned tasks and searches.
  • I arrive to work on time, avoid distractions, and stay until work is completed.
  • I provide timely notice about vacations.
  • I follow the Ropella dress code.
  • I hold in confidence all private Ropella Group information.

I recognize and reward the contributions of others.

  • I treat everyone with respect.
  • I support and recognize positive qualities of all members of the Ropella Group.
  • I value the contributions of all members of the team regardless of job, role, or title.
  • I recognize and encourage positive behaviors.

I passionately pursue excellent performance.

  • I bring enthusiasm to and show that I enjoy the work I do.
  • I perform my job with excellence.
  • I seek out learning opportunities to enhance my skills and ability to serve.
  • I share my knowledge with others.
  • I follow all policies and procedures.
  • I recognize change for improvement is necessary.
  • I ask for help if a concern is beyond my knowledge, ability, or scope of authority.

I accept ownership of the organization’s success.

  • I work towards Ropella Group’s financial success.
  • I use resources (time, personnel, and equipment) wisely.
  • I take personal responsibility for Ropella Group’s successful fulfillment of its mission and goals.
  • I stay current with Ropella Group communications.
  • I promote cooperation between departments/sites.
  • I take the initiative in maintaining the cleanliness and safety of Ropella Group’s facilities.

I communicate effectively.

  • I listen openly, and acknowledge others’ ideas and concerns in a respectful manner.
  • When I have questions or concerns on issues, I present them directly to the individual in question and try to resolve it directly and professionally. If not resolved I then notify my direct supervisor. At no time do I pull others who are not involved into back office debates, backstabbing, or gossip.

CEO Blog:

Chicago Again

Chicago Again

November 07, 2017

Proof that you can truly work from anywhere:  In this picture, I’m in the Atlanta airport, squeezed inside the coat closet behind the Delta desk.  When it comes down to it, we do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our clients… Even if that means squeezing into a little cubby in a crowded airport to take an important call, where they can hear me speak.

Last week was a whirlwind.  In addition to high-level discussions with a major brand name in consumer products for a large multi-search project, a new retainer with a leading skin care and cosmetics company for a senior executive and finalizing the placement of an exceptional candidate into a CTO role with a major chemicals manufacturer; Robbie and I made our way back to Chicago at the request of a global Food Industry client for meetings with key leaders to develop and drive an aggressive growth strategy with over a dozen new searches.

Looks like this last quarter of 2017 is going to be very busy, my favorite kind of busy, helping our clients Grow their Great Companies. 

YMCA Corporate Cup Games

YMCA Corporate Cup Games

November 01, 2017

One of Ropella’s more fun traditions is participating in the local YMCA Corporate Cup Games.  Last weekend we made our second annual appearance… And took home Third Place for the Small Company Division!  (Robbie and I are pictured above, accepting our award.)

Of course, most of my employees and I are extremely competitive, as we all really want to win.  Those of you who follow my blog know I’m a fan of compiling the pictures I take at various events.    As you can see from the smiling faces, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I think one of our Executive Search Consultants, Cathy, said it best: “The whole day was fun… [and it was] great to see our team laughing and having a good time.”

In addition to the athletic events, each company had two optional creative tasks to undertake before the day of the competition.  One was designing shirts for the team to wear, and one was to create a homemade banner.  Both the shirt and banner had to keep with the theme of the day, which was “Reach for the Stars”.  The banner was all about recreating Starry Night by Van Goh, with the addition of a few people reaching for the stars.  All day, we had people asking whether it had really been hand-painted, or if we’d had it printed.

Tug of war was the final event of the day, and even though we didn’t make it past the first round, my team dug down deep.  I am constantly appreciative that my employees put their all into everything they do, and this was no exception.  While most of the faceoffs were decided quickly one way or the other, our battle took by far the longest, and our resolve did not slip once.

Overall, it was definitely a great day.  We’ve got more exciting adventures on the horizon around the office, including our yearly pre-Christmas getaway to Destin (and our annual Gingerbread House Competition, which is always fierce). Stay tuned!

Branson Fun

Branson Fun

September 21, 2017

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks vacationing in beautiful Branson, Missouri.  Despite my initial reservations (no offence to country music fans, but Dolly Parton just isn’t my cup of tea), Branson is a great place for a vacation with the family.  It certainly helps that this is finally a trip that is all about fun, 100% pure vacation… I’ve been so busy lately that I was starting to think the scale that measured my work-life balance was broken!

Those who have been following my exploits know that I’m always up for a little adventure – during my latest business trip to Las Vegas for a trade show, I found time to take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and drive a McLaren around a racetrack at 155 mph.  (Side note:  Those were two separate adventures; even I’m not quite extreme enough to do them back-to-back… Though, now that I mention it, it might be fun to go sky diving and land at a racetrack, with a sports car ready for you to take the wheel!  I’d consider that as the concept for my next business venture, but the insurance prices would probably be outrageous.)  My adrenaline-filled excursion this trip was ziplining.  The tour we went on took us down Wolfe Mountain and over the beautiful Ozarks canopy… and concluded with a heart-stopping 40-foot freefall!

Even outside of the ziplining, we really enjoyed getting to see the autumn scenery that Branson has to offer.  In Pensacola, Florida, we don’t really have a “fall” season.  Sure, it gets cooler in the later months of the year and some of the trees lose their leaves, but it’s nothing like what the Midwest has to offer.  Much of the foliage was still a vibrant green, but many of the trees along Route 66 were beginning to sprout their fall colors.  As beautiful as it is, though, I’m glad we’ll be settled back in warm Florida before winter settles in.
My Mistake

My Mistake

September 19, 2017

If you follow my blog, you know that I have been doing a ton of work-related travel recently, from client visits in the Northeastern Tri-State area to a trade show in Las Vegas. My latest trip, though, was designed to be just for FUN. Robbie and I have both been needing a little time away to recharge our collective batteries and talk about something other than work. (As much as Robbie and I love working together, one disadvantage is that work has a way of creeping into almost every conversation we have.)  All that said… For our latest adventure, Robbie and I met up with her parents and one of our nephews to spend a couple of weeks in Branson, Missouri. 

Even though I desperately needed the adjustment to my work-life-(im)balance, if I’m being honest, I was not excited about this trip.  If I’m being really honest, I was dreading it.

Before you start judging me, though, my dread had nothing to do with the fact that I’m vacationing with my in-laws!  I love Robbie’s parents as if they were my own, and I was happy to see them again, and to have the chance to catch up.  (Just remember, they raised Robbie to be an amazing woman; how could I not love them?)

Instead, my lack of enthusiasm sprang from our destination.  I mean… Branson, Missouri… Really?!  When I thought of ‘Branson’, I thought of Dolly Parton.  Big belt buckles.  Rodeos. I’m not big into country music or rural life; give me New York; Chicago; Florence, Italy; or London, England.  I will choose big city destinations over small towns every time.  No offense to those who love them (or to Dolly Parton herself!), but we are all wired differently, right? Those are just not my areas of interest.

You know what, though?  I could not have been more wrong: we are having an absolute blast!  Branson is beautiful this time of year, and there’s more to do here than we can actually fit into our schedule.  Wonder what we’re up to?  Well, stay tuned!  I’ll let you know in my next post. (Sneak peek:  If you know me, you know I’m always looking for an adventure to get my adrenaline pumping!  Branson was no exception…)

On the Road… Again

On the Road… Again

August 29, 2017

Lately, I have been travelling so much I’m having a hard time keeping track of which time zone I’m in!  As Ropella has grown and added teams serving distinct industries and functions, it has been very interesting for me to travel and meet our diverse clients; in fact, it might be my favorite part of the job. 

I was on the road again this week, this time with Jeff Bennett, my Vice President of Client Partnership Development.  We headed up to the Tri-state area at the request of three new partners. Trips like this just continue to drive home how hot the economy is right now with top companies across the industry spectrum adding new leaders, growing technical teams and in some cases even building out entire new divisions due to growth.

Luckily the airline treated us well this trip, and we arrived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at the perfect time to enjoy a delicious dinner at Lancaster’s only authentic Irish pub, Annie Bailey’s.  The next morning, we met with Executives at a leading foundry; from there we hopped on I-76 and I-276 to New Jersey, where we met with the commercial team for one of the household names in Food and Beverage (and Chocolate!).  We lunched with the Global Commercial Director of one of the largest chemical companies on the planet, who also happens to be one of our favorite clients to work with, and rounded out the trip by meeting with a leader in the water treatment industry.

Travelling for business is never boring, to say the least, and we stayed especially busy on this trip!  Unlike our recent trip to Vegas, there was very little downtime on this trip - which explains the delicious desserts (pictured above) which we indulged in during our layover in Atlanta. 

My Greatest Asset

My Greatest Asset

August 16, 2017

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy many successes in my life so far, including being the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ropella, the leading Executive Search firm specializing in the chemical industry.  Hands down, though, my greatest asset in life is my beautiful wife, Robbie.

From the day we met, Robbie has never stopped challenging me, both personally and professionally, and that’s one of the things I love about her.  Before starting Ropella, I was a partner at a health club.  Robbie applied for a position, and the other decision-makers wanted to hire her because she looked like an NFL cheerleader.  I didn’t want to hire her, because hiring on appearance wasn’t how I wanted to run a business.  I got out voted, and within a few weeks, Robbie showed us all just how wrong we were.  She wasn’t going to fall for men drooling over her (as they had hoped), and she was the top membership sales representative (showing me that she had the brains, ability, and personality to rival her good looks).  It took me seven years to get a first date with her.  From there, I didn’t waste any time: on our first date, I told her I loved her, and on the second date, I proposed.  She turned me down, of course, but after several more months of badgering, I finally got her to say yes.

Robbie has always been a hard worker; when we met, she was working several jobs, putting herself through school, and she still had time to be an amazing single mother.  Nowadays she does much of the day-to-day work of leading Ropella, and I can attribute much of our success to her leadership and perseverance.  She especially shines at trade shows – while I would be just one out of a thousand guys attending, she’s one out of maybe 20 girls.  She’s beautiful, she’s charming, and she knows how to attract attention.  We were at a trade show once where I was trying to connect with the President of Shell.  Suddenly, I hear this angelic voice piping through the speakers – Robbie is up on stage at the Shell event singing karaoke.  The key executives nearby were talking about her, asking each other whether this was a professional that they had hired to perform; I happily stepped in and proudly declared “No, that’s my amazing wife!”  Thanks to her amazing voice, self-confidence, and adventurous spirit, I got that meeting with the President.

Finally, Robbie is one of the most compassionate people I know.  She is always looking for ways to give back to family, employees, and the community.  (I’ll be talking about our latest efforts to give back next week.)  She has a huge heart for people, and an endless love for God.  Even though we occasionally drive each other crazy, I can honestly say that she makes me a better man and that every day of my life is better for having her in it.

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