we call our employees the Varsity Team
The A-list. The zero-cool, wicked-smart crème de la crème. We even, on occasion, call them the Cat’s Pajamas (but not to their faces). Okay, we don’t really call them any of those things; but we could! Because we sincerely believe our employees are nothing short of extraordinary. Let us introduce you to a few of the coaches of the Plus Varsity Team:
meaningful acronyms: SCRP, GMS
what she’s known for: An obsessive focus on client needs, continuous innovation, annoying habit of intentionally scaring co-workers with loud noises, cheekiness.
path that brought her to Plus: “Right after I graduated from college 20 years ago, I started working as a receptionist at Plus, and then I went on to work just about every job in the company. I worked in the rental department, I worked in accounting, I was a home sale assistant, I was a move manager, I helped start the expense management department, then I went into client relations and sales, in 2006 I became president, and finally in 2016 I was promoted to chief executive officer.”
problems she’s best at solving: Having grown up in the relocation industry, Susan understands the macro-challenges that mobility professionals face all the way down to the micro-annoyances. With this insight, she guides Plus to create solutions and technology that solve real problems and make a real difference to clients.
what’s she’s passionate about: Susan has a passion for philanthropy and humanitarian work which has led her to start an unusual tradition in the relocation industry. Twice a year, Plus hosts an outreach event at industry trade shows to benefit the community where the show is being held. Employees, prospects, clients, supplier partners, and even competitors come together with the common goal of helping people in need. “It’s an amazing feeling when you’re sitting there packing hygiene kits for the homeless, and four of the people working at your table are competitors. I love that we can set business aside for those few hours and just be people together, doing something positive for the community.”
people she hangs out with: Susan is actively involved in Worldwide ERC®, an industry organization with over 10,000 members, holding several positions on the executive committee over the past six years, including secretary, vice president, president and two stints as chairman. She also serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities and is a member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.
why people want to work with Susan: She keeps you on your toes, tells it like it is, and often is way ahead of everyone else in the room. It also doesn’t hurt that she keeps her office well-stocked with peanut M&Ms.
favorite book: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann where the main character learns that changing his focus from getting to giving and putting others’ interests before his own and continually adding value to their lives, ultimately leads to unexpected returns.
what he’s known for: being the moral compass of the organization; former Minnesota Realtor of the Year; originating the idea of combining real estate and destination services into one company; zooming around the Plus offices on his motorized scooter.
path that brought him to Plus: In the late 1960s, transferees didn’t know the local housing market, where to buy, or where best to reconnect the lives of their families. Recognizing an opportunity, Mick started a destination counseling center to help these transferees find homes and replant their families as they relocated to the Minneapolis area. Mick combined real estate with this new service, and Real Estate PLUS was born. Over the next 20 years, the company built on its destination and home sale services to include expense management and offered training to brokers on how to provide and sell these services in their own markets. It was at this time that Mick decided to sell the real estate business and began to focus exclusively on relocation, changing the name to Plus Relocation Services.
problems he’s best at solving: When everyone else is bogged down in the challenges, Mick is the first to see possibilities. “We’ve learned that during times of struggle, such as a recession, we’re always able to find the opportunity. We have found it particularly helpful to stare problems in the face and find the opportunity, rather than hide from them and suffer the consequences. This puts us in a position to not only survive but to thrive. I call this surTHRIVal.”
what’s he’s passionate about: It’s almost impossible to think about Mick without also thinking about Plus’s vision, mission and values statements (our “VMVs”). Mick is not only their author but also personifies the Plus VMVs and champions them on a daily basis. Plus employees – as well as our supplier partners and even some of our clients – are members of Mick’s “Two buck club” – simply recite our VMVs by heart and you’ve earned yourself a $2 bill as well as your name on an official list that hangs on the wall outside Mick’s office. But these aren’t just words memorized and then forgotten. The VMVs are referenced throughout the organization regularly – they’re challenged, examined and put to the test every day. Thanks to Mick’s cultural leadership, we as an organization see clearly our journey’s destination, our core purpose and our uncompromising values—all of which give us wings to become more together than any of us could be alone. For example, we know our value of aggressive collaboration means we must have the best ideas of every one of us, if we hope to arrive at “world’s best.” “I believe our VMVs, believed by our great people of character and competence, are the foundation of our great success,” says Mick.
people he hangs out with: Virtues Campus board which is bringing higher education back to the church community through technology, Calvary Lutheran Church leadership positions, Thursday Morning Men’s Servant Leadership Round Table, Bible Study Fellowship, grand kids and water sports.
why people want to work with Mick: He has an uncanny way of kindling the passion you didn’t even know you had, asks the tough questions, always has a smile and a kind word, and – hey, he hands out $2 bills!
favorite book: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
what she’s known for: being a Strengths Finder sage; knowing more about the real estate industry than any sane person should ever know; her creativity; being an early leader of corporate mobility
path that brought her to Plus: Sandy has been with Plus for more than 40 years, working in real estate sales initially, which led to training agents. She then began to sell destination services and handling third party inventory for the major home purchase companies. Sandy was also instrumental in creating a partner program that expanded the relocation capabilities of the largest real estate brokers across the country. Through training and sales and marketing support, brokers were able to sign clients, control their listings, turn their relocation departments into profit centers and recruit and train real estate agents. These programs brought the brokerage industry together in a learning environment that is still talked about today.
problems she’s best at solving: Gallup itself has praised Sandy’s Strengths Finder expertise and the programs she’s implemented, saying that Plus’s application of the Strengths’ principles rivals their own best practices. Her deep expertise means she’s spectacular at analyzing individual strengths to build highly-engaged teams, solve problems, and identify ways to work together more effectively.
what’s she’s passionate about: Plus was an early-adopter of Strengths Finder, and Sandy connected immediately with its philosophies and could see how we could leverage it to deliver truly outrageous results. She is our internal Strengths Finder go-to expert as we continuously explore how to make the most of our own strengths as well as work with those of our coworkers and partners. “Recognizing and understanding our own strengths and the strengths of others allows us to work with a wide variety of people with differing opinions,” says Sandy. “Being a strengths-based organization stimulates innovation and creativity and drives our ability to be the best. This allows each individual to bring their best to work and take their best home with them.”
people she hangs out with: Sandy serves as the Vice Chair for the Luther College Board of Regents, is active in her church leadership, and attends Bible Study Fellowship. She also spends a lot of time with family (including 8 grandchildren) and many great friends.
why people want to work with Sandy: She genuinely desires to help each person achieve their potential; her ingenuity; her spot-on advice delivered with a smile.
favorite book: The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness
what he’s known for: Vast experience in the ins-and-outs (and ups-and-downs, and round-and-rounds) of relocation; having a global and strategic mindset; surprisingly awesome musicality; a level head, big heart and eerily-accurate gut.
path that brought him to Plus: With more than 30 years in mobility under his belt, Joe has hands-on experience in sales, marketing, finance and business management . He worked in the mortgage industry and for several relocation management companies before being asked to join Plus to consult on the opening of our London office. He agreed because he knew Plus CEO Susan Benevides from Worldwide ERC® and was attracted to the Plus culture. After a few months as a consultant, he signed on full-bore when we realized how wicked-smart he is and he realized it meant he got to winter in Minnesota.
accolades: ERC® Meritorious Service Award, four ERC® Distinguished Service Awards, ERC® Hall of Leaders.
why people want to work with Joe: His ability to help each individual in various scenarios; his deep knowledge of the business; the sense of humor and charisma he brings to the room; he can take it as well as he can dish it out.
favorite quote: “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what you ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
what he’s known for: Analyzing and offering solutions; being pro-active and resourceful; being a multi-lingual pro.
path that brought him to Plus: “Before joining Plus, I worked at Pricoa Relocation Services which was then acquired by BGRS. Plus’s captivating culture and globalization in the APAC region gained my attraction and was the beginning of my new adventurous path in the relocation industry.”
problems he’s best at solving: Unique problems that allow creativity and analytical thinking with results that are goal-orientated.
what he’s passionate about: Partnering with clients and making the client’s job easy and smoother through Plus’s assistance.
why people want to work with Pascal: His ability to identify the best solution with the most efficient approach; his knack for anticipating the next question and providing the answer proactively; hoping some of his fashion sense will rub off on the rest of us.
what she’s known for: Exceptional skill at building client relationships; obsession with delivering great service; helping clients find solutions in the most efficient way possible; being innovative; talking your ear off.
path that brought her to Plus: Diane worked at multiple companies including Ernst & Young, Weichert and MSI before landing at Plus. Throughout her career she has been a fixer of operational problems. Her 15 minutes of fame include working with the English Premier League football team Tottenham Hotspur to relocate their Director of Football to London. Come on you Spurs!
problems she’s best at solving: Solving logistical problems associated with International moves; she was once called upon by the Chairman of a FTSE 100 company to get him from the Stade de France in Paris where he had been watching France win the World Cup Final onto a flight at Charles de Gaulle airport and back to Hong Kong in time for a board meeting. Now talk about a logistical nightmare!
what she’s passionate about: Delivering excellent customer service is not only what she is known for but one of her biggest passions- no wonder she’s so good at it! When she takes a break from work her passion for the England football team comes out.
why people want to work with Diane: Her sense of fun — not only does she get the job done with great results, she creates a great atmosphere for her team; her willingness to get dirty in the details to get the job done; her unflappable smile.
favorite quote: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
what he’s known for: Killer financial expertise gleaned from decades in financial consulting; common sense; enviable ability to do math quickly in his head; sense of humor that flies in the face of the “accountant” stereotype.
path that brought him to Plus: While joining Plus officially in 2014, Phil has been a trusted advisor to the business for more than 40 years during his tenure with Blanski Peter Kronlage & Zoch, a Minneapolis-based CPA and consulting firm that had a special place in their hearts (and business) for real estate and relocation.
problems he’s best at solving: His vast knowledge of the relocation industry from his previous partnership means he’s great at solving business management issues; advising on All Things Financial to maintain Plus’s financial strength and stability.
what he’s passionate about: Accuracy in accounting processes and financial statements, strategic planning, golf, Minnesota sports teams (Go Twins! Go Vikes!).
why people want to work with Phil: You won’t experience micromanaging with Phil around, he allows you to learn and grow while helping and teaching when needed.
what she’s known for: Her expertise in knowing what it takes to deliver phenomenal service, being a jack of all trades, contributing to a wide variety of Plus initiatives, staying up too late.
path that brought her to Plus: Jennifer tripped her way into relocation. She applied to be a Plus relocation counselor when a friend thought it would be a good fit and gave her a recommendation. She’s been taking the industry by storm ever since.
problems she’s best at solving: Give Jennifer a problem and she’ll solve it; she’ll dive into any project or problem and see it through to completion.
what she’s passionate about: “Creating a fantastic customer journey for our relocating employees and corporate clients. People often enter their relocation journey with apprehension and stress. If we can help them move through their journey in a way that removes that stress – and maybe even makes it fun – we’ve been successful!”
why people want to work with Jennifer: Her love of change and creativity in improving processes and experiences; her dedication to getting it right regardless of what “it” is; she doesn’t take anything too seriously – especially herself.
favorite quote: “Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” – Anonymous
what she’s known for: Developing and overseeing supplier strategies that maximize value and minimize cost for our clients; liaison and negotiator for all contractual matters at Plus; her wicked strong relationship building skills.
path that brought her to Plus: Earlier in her career, Stacey entered the medical field, focused on building and assisting family and pediatric clinics. Fast forward to today and her time at Plus, she uses similar skills and strengths to motivate and build strong partnerships with suppliers around the globe.
problems she’s best at solving: Problem resolution; seeking out the root cause of an issue and using her relationship skills to offer the best solution, often with a touch of creativity in the mix; following through to ensure any gaps are addressed and fixed so we can wave “goodbye” to problems for good.
what she’s passionate about: Living out the values of Plus; training and mentoring employees to become rock stars in their jobs; creating innovative solutions for Plus’s clients.
why people want to work with Stacey: Her ability to work with all people in many situations; the ultimate trio when dealing with any issue that arises: creatively, professionally and positively.
favorite quote: “Wherever you go, there you are!”
what he’s known for: Evaluating and executing global mobility programs and expatriate management; unbeatable experience in global compensation and international policy; helping develop innovative client policy and process solutions; enthusiasm; writing unnecessarily long responses to just about everything
path that brought him to plus: Chris is an educator at heart. Before coming to Plus, he shared his passion as a teacher for years. Fun fact: he also ran a small service business prior to Plus!
problems he’s best at solving: “I love ideating so I like being brought into any problem that might need alternative solutions and brainstorming.”
what he’s passionate about: Creating uniquely customized global mobility programs that are compliant, operationally sound and cost effective; keeping his eyes peeled for meaningful innovations; dancing to Taylor Swift tunes
accolades: Worldwide ERC® Meritorious Service Award
why people want to work with Chris: His insightful and interesting perspective; his sense of humor and occasional irreverent comment; he’s a virtual geyser of ideas (whether they’re wanted or not!); he’s quick to smile and quicker to help
favorite quote: “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost, the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
what she’s known for: Effective execution – AKA – getting the right things done; killer project management and implementation skills; providing streamlined, simplified processes that help make the complex relocation process easier; mad lip-syncing skills.
path that brought her to Plus: Lauren’s first job with Plus was when she was 12 years old, updating books on the available houses on the market (happily, a task now handled by the MLS). After college, she rejoined as office manager and then started the company’s rental department. After leaving Plus for a short time to take positions at Target and Metris (we don’t hold it against her), she came back in a sales and marketing role then transitioned into an HR, accounting and organizational effectiveness position, and then into her current role of senior vice president of corporate strategy.
problems she’s best at solving: Lauren brings ideation to life; she loves to envision possibilities for the future of Plus and solve problems to clear the path to get there; making sure clients get the optimal value for their dollars and resources.
what she’s passionate about: Results, results, results; sticking to a timeline; being a student of life; family; travel.
why people want to work with Lauren: She listens to understand; a day with Lauren is never boring; she’s always evolving her self and business strategy; she never sits still.
favorite saying: Don’t be afraid of change! Don’t sweat the small stuff!