SOME Gala – Helping Others in Need

SOME Gala – Helping Others in Need

 Recently, we attended the SOME Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.  SOME (So Others Might Eat) is an interfaith, community-based organization that was founded in 1970 by Father Horace McKenna, to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. They work to meet the immediate daily needs of the people they serve with food, clothing, and health care.

Each year, SOME’s Corporate Advisory Board hosts the annual Harvest Gala to raise funds for SOME’s programs, which include their job training program, residential addiction treatment program and to support their affordable housing initiatives. The event is sponsored and supported by many businesses and individuals. To date, this annual event has raised over $10 million dollars to support their programs.

This year’s gala consisted of a silent auction, dinner and the presentation of the SOME McKenna Humanitarian award. This award is given each year to an individual(s) for their dedication and hard work on behalf of SOME.

The SOME community is looking forward to the 2018 grand opening of the Conway Center on Benning Road in DC.  This center will include housing, job training, a medical clinic, offices and retail. In memory of Elizabeth Donohue, who was a compassionate advocate and benefactor of SOME, the Corporate Advisory Board named the family housing complex on Spring Road The Liz Donohue House.

Mike Gordon, President of CC Pace, has been on the Corporate Advisory Board of SOME for the last 19 years and CC Pace has been a proud supporter of this outstanding organization that has given so much to the community. Visit SOME.ORG to learn more about this organization and what you can do to get involved.

CC Pace realizes that it’s our people that really sets us apart from our competition. Keeping that in mind, we don’t take milestone work anniversaries lightly. We know our employees work hard and at CC Pace, we do our best to make sure they receive the celebration and recognition they deserve. It’s also a great time for us to reminisce about all the fun we have had over the years and share some good laughs!

CC Pace had fun recently celebrating the anniversaries of Debbie Shatz (30 Years) and Suzie Wheeler (15 years) at our quarterly company meeting. Debbie is a Director in our Financial Services practice and has performed in many roles over the years, including everything from a business analyst to strategic advisor and has consistently delivered valuable results to clients. Suzie is our Recruiting Manager and is responsible for handling both corporate and client recruiting needs, her ability to find and hire high quality personnel has had a great impact on our recruiting team’s success.

Both Debbie and Suzie were recognized by CC Pace President, Mike Gordon for their contributions and accomplishments during their time with CC Pace. Mike also presented each of them with a service award, and a specially selected, customized gag gift that highlighted each of them perfectly! In addition, Debbie was the recipient of one of Clay Everhart’s original songs – which is always a treat for the entire team!

So we say, “Cheers and Thank You” to Debbie and Suzie and we hope that you will each continue to grow with us for many years to come! Happy Anniversary!

Any business will tell you that retaining employees is important. The costs involved with the turnover of employees equals about a quarter of their annual pay. That takes into account the cost involved in: hiring, onboarding, the new hire’s learning curve and the ripple effects on the rest of the team. Every employer knows that the longer a person stays with a company, the more valuable and productive they become for that company.

At CC Pace, the retention rate for our staffing placements has been above 90% for the past 5 years. This article 4 Reasons why Employee Retention is Important (And 4 Reasons All Business Owners Should Use to reduce turnover) highlights why workforce retention is important, and strategies that can improve employee loyalty.  A great deal of our success with our people is due to our commitment to provide our clients with the best candidates, based on this approach:

  • We work with our clients as a partner, finding the right fit by taking the time to truly understand their business and technology needs.
  • We are a consulting firm first – with full time business and technology experts available to help guide the qualification process and customized screening tools.
  • Most importantly, we make quality a priority over quantity. Knowing people means assessing their technical knowledge, their soft skills, their cultural profile, and everything in between.

Now that you have read about what we offer our clients and how we find the right fit for each position, you must be wondering what’s it really like to work for CC Pace? Let our consultants tell you firsthand about their experience working with CC Pace.

“The primary reason for choosing to work with CC Pace AGAIN is that they have top notch people who will ensure that you are a great fit for the openings, as well as making sure that your values align with theirs.”  – Travis R., Consultant

“At the client site, CC Pace has always made sure I succeeded in doing my job which only shows how much they care about their people and their clients. I particularly appreciated how management was available to answer any questions I had while working on the client’s projects. Even though I worked with CC Pace as a consultant, I should note that I was treated equally as an employee.” ­– Namgyel D., Consultant

“I’ve been involved with CC Pace as an employee, contractor and customer for more than 22 of my nearly 35 years in the working world.  I can honestly say that there is no better employer, contract vendor, or business partner with which I have had the pleasure to be associated. The employee-centric culture, strong business knowledge and technical expertise, and an ethical standard par none are why I have remained associated with them over the years. CC Pace provided me with the experience and opportunity needed to launch my career.  Now, so many years later, I’ve come full circle, rejoining them and leveraging all that they helped provide.” – Paul H., Consultant

Looking to make a change in your career? Think about joining us and check out our latest job opportunities.

CC Pace employees came together to for a food packing event to support the efforts of Food for Others Power Pack Program.  The Power Pack Program provides food packs for elementary school kids in Northern Virginia as a safety net to ensure that they have enough to eat over the weekend.  This is a way to provide a healthy balanced meal for children who are either eating unbalanced meals, or perhaps adults who are skipping meals so their children can eat.

CC Pace purchased all the supplies needed for this event and our employees worked together to assemble the packages.  This effort tested our “production line” skills and although it started out a little rocky, it ended great and we were able to get all the food packed and ready for distribution by Food for Others. In total we produced 288 meals, which will help to feed 48 children.

Want to know how you can help? Visit Food for Others, Capital Area Food Bank, So Other Might Eat (SOME) and Feeding America websites to learn what you can do to help stop hunger!

Each year the Fairfax Animal Shelter helps four to five thousand animals by providing a safe environment and adoption services.  CC Pace employees and friends volunteered here last week to support this great organization and did a great job of cleaning the facility, folding towels, and organizing supplies.

While our employees did not interact with the animals, they were able to walk through the facility and see the dogs, cats, and other smaller furry and feathered creatures and their environment.   You can see by the smiles in the pictures of our people, that this was a very rewarding event for everyone!

Thanks to Deb Young, our account manager, for coordinating with Debbie Shatz, a Director in our Financial Services practice, to set up this event.  Debbie is a long-time volunteer at the shelter and she organized and directed our activities for the evening. We would like to give a special shout-out to Tracy Gordon, Bobby Pantall, Jason Kellenbenz, and everyone else who donated the vast amount of toys and essentials needed by the shelter.  They were well received and very much appreciated!

Want to get involved? Contact the Fairfax Animal Shelter, they can always use volunteers!

CC Pace recognized four employees who were celebrating their 15th and 35th anniversaries at our quarterly meeting earlier this month. CC Pace President, Mike Gordon, had the pleasure of recognizing Bill Lehman (35 years), Laura Campbell (15 years), Bobby Pantall (15 years) and Deb Young (15 years) for their service. Each were recognized for their dedication, contributions and hard work, and were presented with a service award and the always hilarious CC Pace gag gift!

In reflecting on these significant milestones, we decided to do a little research. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average tenure for employees with their current employers in the United States is 4.2 years.  At CC Pace our employees’ average tenure is 12.7 years, that’s 3 times the national average!

So, why is the average tenure at CC Pace so high?  Well, we decided that we would ask some of the service award recipients what it is that makes CC Pace such a desirable place to work.  They agreed on several common elements, which include:

  • The dedicated people they work with
  • The supportive environment received from their leadership
  • The work/life balance offered by CC Pace

In addition, Deb appreciates the feeling that she is “making a contribution”, Bobby highlighted “the interesting work” he gets to be part of, while Laura pointed out “the variety of opportunities that employees are given to help the organization grow”.

Or, could the reason the tenure is high be something else, like those world-famous gag gifts given on milestone anniversaries? The free bagels and donuts? The happy hours? The company parties? We may never really know the exact answer – but, it’s apparent that all these things together have created a unique culture where employees choose to stay and succeed in for many years.

Whatever the reason, we are grateful for these employees.  Congratulations and thank you!

CC Pace would like to introduce you to Deepti Agarwal a Senior Technical Recruiter who has been part of our Staffing team since 2013.  Prior to CC Pace, Deepti worked as a full life cycle, technical recruiter supporting both commercial and federal government clients. In addition, she worked with the account managers to strategize in acquiring new and building existing accounts.

What attracted you to CC Pace?
I first learned of CC Pace through my husband who had been working with the company. He spoke highly of CC Pace and felt they never compromised with the quality of candidates submitted to them.  He had known them to be very fair when it came to all aspects of the recruiting process and in all, CC Pace was a very reputable organization to work with.

When the time came for me to a make a move to a new recruiting position, I immediately thought of CC Pace. The interview process went very well and I knew that it was the perfect fit as I learned more about the CC Pace clients and the recruiting process they followed. It reflected that the recruiting group worked as a team and had a very strong value-based system. The environment was friendly and welcoming from the very beginning.

What is the biggest challenge in your current role?
There are actually two challenges. The first one is that we are in a very demanding and competitive marketplace, there is a lot of competition that we are up against every day from both a client and a resource perspective. The second is closing candidates with multiple offers at the end of the recruiting process. This process can take some time to complete as candidates are often interviewing with several companies.

How would you describe CC Pace’s culture?
First and foremost, CC Pace has a very value-based culture and provides a high quality of service to all our clients and candidates. In Staffing, we have a strong team environment and our Staffing group’s management truly respects our opinions and supports us. CC Pace also offers me the perfect work life balance, having flexible working hours makes things much easier for me and my family.

During your time here at CC Pace, can you share with us something you have learned?
Because of the values we uphold we never compromise on the quality of our service.

What do you like to do outside of CC Pace?
I love to spend time with my daughters. I cherish our time together, we enjoy taking dance classes together and of course, they are always up for a shopping trip!

What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
Cancun!  My family and I went there last year and it was absolutely gorgeous!  It was so relaxing and peaceful and there were so many activities and watersports available to participate in – my favorite was snorkeling by a reef, it was just beautiful.

Who inspires you and why?
My father – he is a doctor a heart specialist and he is truly my inspiration. His strong work ethic and sincerity taught me the meaning of what being a hard working individual was all about.

CC Pace held our Quarterly Company Meeting and Annual Party on March 23. At the meeting, we recognized a couple of employees with milestone anniversaries.  The anniversaries of Ron Peterson (10 years) and Keith Kemph (5 Years) were recognized by CC Pace President, Mike Gordon. Ron, a Senior Practice Manager for our Lean-Agile Consulting practice, and Keith, a Managing Consultant in our Financial Services practice, were both acknowledged for their accomplishments and contributions during their time with CC Pace.  Mike presented each with a service award and of course the infamous CC Pace gag gift!

The agenda after the meeting was set for a festive evening at Ruth’s Chris here in Fairfax Corner!  Employees from across the country were on hand for the event to connect with and enjoy co-workers.  And, it goes without saying that the food was fabulous and everyone enjoyed all that was offered (really, who has ever had a bad meal at Ruth’s Chris?). The best part of course, was the company of all those who were in attendance!

CC Pace moved into our current offices in September of 2003. At that time, Fairfax Corner was just being built, and we were one of the first tenants to occupy our building.

Over the years, our space on the 4th floor has changed as the company has evolved. Late last year, we began to pull together the vision to update our facilities.  After plans were finalized with our designer and contractor, construction began in early January.

These updates include creating a modern look throughout the office with new carpet, paint and wall coverings and new lighting, plus pops of CC Pace orange to brighten things up!  We have updated our training room to include floor to ceiling white board paint and some new, more comfortable furniture to improve the learning environment.  A major change to our interior offices area, we now have an open space breakout area, where our employees will have the opportunity to collaborate in a comfortable and casual setting with various technology tools at their disposal.

We have made additional improvements throughout the office with the goal of creating an open, comfortable and more collaborative environment.  It’s amazing what a difference the slightest changes can make, and these renovations have certainly given us a new look and perspective to start off the New Year!

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CC Pace joined Cornerstones in December for their annual winter coat event. CC Pace’s corporate contribution in conjunction with employee donations provided 20 coats for this important drive. Cornerstones offers the donated coats to those in need from November through March.

Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.

CC Pace takes pride in supporting our community by offering corporate contributions and participating in various events throughout the year.

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We held our last quarterly staff meeting for 2016 recently.  In addition to sharing a variety of information about the company during these meetings, we also celebrate significant employee milestones.

President, Mike Gordon, recognized our CTO, Kuryan Thomas, who just celebrated his 15th Anniversary with CC Pace.  As with each Service Award presentation, success is celebrated and hard work is praised with a certificate of recognition, a gift, and there is also the traditional gag gift. For Kuryan, an avid photographer, that gift played off his photography talents.

Thank you, Kuryan, for your contributions over the past 15 years.

Do you ever think about why there are some things in your life that that you do year in and year out, while others fall by the wayside?  For me, I’ve played in a Thanksgiving neighborhood football game every year since we moved into our house in 1994 and I’ve gone on a golfing trip to Las Vegas with some high school and college buddies since my wife arranged the first one for my 40th birthday (she might have re-thought the idea had she known it would become an annual event).  While you likely don’t know early on what will have staying power, certain events become meaningful in the tradition they become, the camaraderie they build, and the enjoyment they create both during the event and throughout the year telling stories about it.

While these examples cited above have limited to no societal significance, one tradition of mine that does is my attendance at the annual gala for So Others Might Eat (SOME) which just recently occurred.  I’ve been on SOME’s Corporate Advisory Board for the past 18 years and I’ve attended every one of their annual galas during that time except for one (I hope one unavoidable personal conflict in 18 years is excusable).

A little about SOME:  SOME was founded by Father Horace McKenna in 1970 as a soup kitchen to feed DC’s homeless. Under the extraordinary vision and leadership of Father John Adams, SOME expanded its purpose and has taken a more holistic approach to address this critical issue. On top of serving nearly 400,000 meals per year, SOME now offers a comprehensive set of programs to meet the needs of the homeless and to directly address some of the root causes that keep one homeless.  These include: medical and dental clinics; a drug rehabilitation facility; behavioral health services; temporary, transitional, and permanent affordable housing; and a center for employment training. As best expressed in its Mission Statement, SOME is “restoring hope and dignity one person at a time”.

Notwithstanding the enormous number of volunteers who donate their time to the organization, these programs require money to operate. As its major fundraising event, SOME holds its annual Gala to celebrate its work, to present the SOME McKenna Humanitarian award (this year’s honorees were Raul Fernandez, CEO, Object Video and Vice Chairman, Monumental Sports and Linda Jo Smith, Chair, SOME Board of Directors), and to support their programs.  Many of this year’s proceeds are earmarked towards development of a brand-new facility on Benning Road in DC that will include housing, job training, a medical clinic, offices and retail.  This building will greatly expand on SOME’s ability to serve the needy.

As soon as the gala date is announced, I block it off on my calendar.  So why do I attend every year?

It is a tradition that I look forward to and an event that I enjoy attending.  I love the camaraderie among SOME’s Corporate Advisory Board who, like me, religiously attend and support the event. And I get immense enjoyment and personal satisfaction, in this case from hearing about the impacts that we are making in helping to address this significant societal problem that would only get worse if not for organizations like SOME.

Somewhat the same reasons as my annual football game and golf trip, but with a whole lot more purpose.

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Father John Adams, President of SOME

 

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CC Pace was ready when we hosted our Thursday Night Football Tailgate Party, which included both current employees and CC Pace alumni!  The evening was filled with a festive BBQ menu, drinks, fun and fabulous door prizes! We were happy to have a number of CC Pace Alumni join us as we gathered and watched the Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh game on the big screen.  Luckily, for all the Hokies we had in attendance, Virginia Tech was able to bring home the win in a tight game with a final score of 39-36.

To make the evening even more entertaining, we held a cornhole tournament with single elimination rounds.  Champions George Perkins, CC Pace Staffing Director and Tracy Gordon, wife of President, Mike Gordon were the last team standing after a score in the game of 0-14.  They pulled off a huge comeback to claim the title and win the grand prize – Congratulations George and Tracy!

All in all it was a win-win evening for everyone!

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Recently, several employees gathered together to help out the local Ronald McDonald House.  The Ronald McDonald house is a place where families of patients who are in the hospital can go to spend the night, have a meal, and rest while they are visiting their family members in the hospital.  The house, located in Falls Church, supports all of the local hospitals and can house up to 8 families at a time.  See more information here.

CC Pace employees prepared a delicious meal for the families and staff including: vegetable beef soup, garden salad, cornbread, cookies and brownies.  In addition, our employees collected a variety of supplies, arts and crafts, and puzzles to go into activity bags for the patients in the hospitals, as well as the family members taking care of them.

Thank you to Beverly, the house night manager, for her help and giving us a tour of this wonderful house.

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Meet Bill Lehman, CMB, the Director of our Mortgage Strategy Practice.  Bill, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, joined CC Pace in 1982 right after graduation.  A visionary and creative process and technology consultant with a proven track record, Bill is an invaluable resource for CC Pace.

Learn more about Bill in the interview below, and, if you are attending the MBA’s Annual Conference in Boston this month, be sure to connect with him there. To reach out to Bill beforehand and/or arrange a meeting at the conference, feel free to contact him: blehman@ccpace.com.

What was your first client project? 
I was a programmer on Fannie Mae’s first securitization system.  A few years later, when that system needed to be redeveloped to accommodate the tremendous success of securitization, I was brought back as chief architect for the redevelopment.

What do you feel was one of your most successful client projects and why?
It is hard to narrow it to just one, so I will pick two.

The first was a client where we were really successful leading a business transformation effort that integrated process, technology and organizational changes to align all facets of the operation with an important business strategy change.  Afterwards, the client thanked our team by saying “You saved our company.”

The second was with AmTrust, now NYCB Mortgage Banking, where we designed a path for them to increase their emortgage production from 20 per month to 5,000 per month.  Our work outlined significant changes that were needed to process and policy and was ultimately very successful because what we were doing had strong support from the client’s business leadership.

In 2011 you earned your Certified Mortgage Banking (CMB) Designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Can you tell us about that experience and what it has meant to your work?
I am embarrassed that I waited that long to get my CMB.  A career in consulting, working with everything from broker origination to Wall Street securitization gave me a broader background than most people have to become a CMB, so I think it was easier for me than for some.

There aren’t many CMB’s, so it distinguishes you at a client as “this is someone who can help me with my business.”

The CMB program isn’t something that is “one and done.” I continue to be very involved in the program, including participating in evaluating new candidates. This ongoing engagement helps you keep up with changes going on in the industry, and provides insights into different perspectives on those changes.

Finally, especially since I live in the Washington, DC area, a CMB gives you the opportunity to give back to the industry by educating legislators.

In your 30-plus years in the mortgage industry, what have been the three biggest changes?
The first change was the switch to the agency securitization model and the rise of the mortgage banking model over the S&L (Savings and Loan) model.  This was happening just as I started and drove CC Pace’s initial growth.

The second has been the adoption of technology, where I think automated underwriting really paved the way, and the shift in thinking from being an expense to being part of a business strategy.  This trend was our bread and butter for years.

Finally, right now, the intense regulation of the industry that has resulted from the meltdown and the abrupt shift from consolidation to deconsolidation.  Lenders are still processing what TRID means, and now HMDA and the new 1003 are coming, and what it means to them in their consumer channel.

What is one of you favorite memories from your time here at CC Pace?
A major highlight was about 10 years ago when we had the good fortune to work with Rob Thomsett to advance leadership in Agile Project and Program Management.  Rob is an Australian Agile guru whose approach to how we should think about defining, managing and measuring the success of projects has been a game changer for me and many of us at CC Pace.

In addition, since I mainly work at client sites, my fondest memories are compliments from those clients about how we have helped them to solve their business problems and improve their processes.

What do you see as the next major technology advancement in the mortgage industry?
I don’t think the next advancement is a new technology – I think that there is plenty of exciting technologies that aren’t fully utilized.  I think the next advancement will be to integrate the existing technologies into the overall value proposition of the business, to improve the customer and user experience, and better address the cyclical nature of the business.

Bill is not all business either, he and his wife have been known to cut the rug with great enthusiasm as competitive swing dancers.  Maybe he can show you a move or two if you run into him in Boston later this month at the MBA’s Annual Conference.

Well, actually, let’s go watch a baseball game!  After our recent staff meeting, many CC Pacers climbed aboard a bus and we headed downtown to Nationals Park to watch the Washington Nationals play the Colorado Rockies.  Upon arrival, we were rewarded with our very own Max Scherzer Bobblehead.

Although it was a hot and humid day, there was an abundance of refreshing beverages available.  We also enjoyed lots of the traditional ball park food including; hot dogs, pretzels in the shape of a W, peanuts and cracker jacks!  But let’s not forget dessert, the delicious Breyers’ ice cream that helped us cool down a bit.

Despite the hot day, it was a great event and we enjoyed spending time together, having fun and rooting for the Nationals.  Our efforts paid off and the Nationals beat the Rockies 8 – 5, including a home run from one of our favorite players, Jayson Werth.  What a great way to end the evening!

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Well, it wasn’t actually a food fight with people throwing food at each other in a cafeteria, but rather a Food Fight to Battle Hunger!  Last Friday, May 13th, CC Pacers joined hundreds of other volunteers to help package meals to be sent to starving children around the world.  We participated in a mobile food-packing event sponsored by Feed My Starving Children that provides meals to children in over 40 countries.  The event was held at the Dulles Expo Center located in Chantilly, VA, over the weekend of May 13th through May 15th.  The goal of the event was to pack 5.1 million meals that would feed over 19,000 starving children worldwide for a year.

We started our session with lots of cheerleading from the event coordinators, donning very attractive hair nets, and energizing music to create lots of fun and excitement as we went to our packing stations.  We all had a good time doing our jobs while dancing and singing to “Up Town Funk”, “YMCA”, “Twist and Shout” and lots of other great tunes.

By the end of our session, the CC Pace team had packed 1316 meals and all of the volunteers for that session, packed over 146,000 meals that will feed 402 children for a year!

Thanks to all the volunteers for helping out at this very worthwhile event.  Already looking forward to the Food Fight next year!

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Do you want to be more successful this year?  Do you want to improve your relationships, your health, and your life?  Well, the New Year is a common time for people to evaluate where they are in life, where they want to be, and to look at making a fresh start.  Once someone does this, they often turn to setting goals. Goal setting is an important process that starts with considering and deciding just want you want to achieve.

Who really sets goals?  Everyone from business professionals, students, parents, and athletes to entertainers and politicians.  People set goals for all types of things, the most common categories are:

  • Artistic
  • Attitude/Outlook
  • Business/Career
  • Education
  • Family
  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Public Service/Volunteerism

Experts advise that you:

  • Write down your goal(s) to make the end result more real and obtainable.
  • Once you have written down your goals, be sure to put the paper in a visible place (your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, your desk, the dashboard of your car or even taped to your cellphone!) to remind yourself everyday of these goals.
  • Come up with your action plan, listing the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals.
  • Stay focused and on track, and remember it is a process so take it day by day.

Once you start to see progress as you accomplish the steps you have outlined, this will help to keep you motivated and achieve your goal in no time!

Have you set goals for this year yet?  If not, it is time to get going.  This article, Golden Rules of Goal Setting, can help you get the process started.  Now is the time to reflect, take action and move forward – Good Luck!