Tag Archives: business growth workshop

Deborah Petito Outlines The Challenges Of Hiring And Firing Employees At The Business Growth Workshop

At the July Business Growth Workshop at the University Club of Pasadena, attorney Deborah Petito outlined the incredible challenges that employers face when it comes to hiring and firing employees. As a shareholder in the labor & employment and litigation groups at Clark & Trevithick, Deborah has handled complex labor and employment matters for many years. As the labor laws and regulations at both the federal and state level become increasingly complex, Deborah Petito find herself helping more and more client companies both in and out of court.

James Harwood Introduces Deborah Petito

deborah petito

James Harwood & Deborah Petito

James Harwood of Total HR Management introduced Deborah Petito to the packed University Club downstairs lounge. With two years of dedication and leadership, James Harwood has been shepherding the Business Growth workshops to the point of ongoing success. In his introduction, he detailed Deborah Petito’s extensive experience, showing once again why local Pasadena business owners continue to participate in the monthly morning sessions.

As an attorney, Deborah Petito represents public and private sector employment clients in all types of labor and employment matters. Her impressive expertise ranges from representation in federal and state courts to representation before state and federal agencies regulating wage and hour laws. Deborah Petito also provides general advice and counsel to employers on employee discipline and termination as well as wage and hour issues.

The Legal Challenges of Hiring & Firing

Deborah Petito

Deborah Petito at the Business Growth Workshop

In relation to the work of James Harwood as the president of Total HR Management, a human resources outsourcing firm and professional employer organization, Deborah Petito was very supportive of such services. When asked whether it makes sense for a company to outsource its human resources function including lower level staffing and higher level recruitment & selection, Deborah Petito commented:

“Given the modern challenges for employers when it comes to employees, it makes a lot of sense to consider the services of a professional employer organization. By working with an experienced firm like Total HR Management, a company is able to avoid the common sense problems, relying on their expertise in both staffing and recruitment & selection.”

Addressing Employee Challenges

When Deborah Petito refers to the common sense problems, she means that common sense is not to be trusted when it comes to modern employment issues, particularly in regard to hiring, disciplining, and firing employees. The specifics of the labors laws and regulations have become so complex that it is easy for a non-professional to make a mistake. In a labor lawsuit happy environment, such a mistake can prove costly in terms of both time and money, wasting a company’s valuable resources.

Once again, the Business Growth Workshop at the University Club of Pasadena has demonstrated it’s value to the city of Pasadena and beyond. For Total HR Management, Deborah Petito’s presentation on hiring, disciplining and firing was particularly powerful because it reflected so many of the concerns of the firm’s ongoing business model. From providing EPLI coverage to making sure client companies are in the most secure position so they never have to use such coverage, Total HR understands and respects the challenges that Deborah Petito highlighted in her powerful presentation.

Triumvirate Of Pasadena Leaders Reveal Multi-Dimensional Asset Protection At The Business Growth Workshop

At the latest Business Growth Workshop on June 23rd at the University Club of Pasadena, a rare triumvirate of business leaders revealed a multi-dimensional asset protection approach. Focusing on people, product and finances, Diana Peterson-More, Blake Longo and Alan Harrison each disclosed their expert perspectives on a bevy of challenges facing companies in the 21st century. While attempting to cover a tremendous amount of ground, they did manage to uncover several choice pieces of valuable information for the local entrepreneurs gathered that morning.

3 Approaches To Asset Protection

asset protection

Blake Longo, James Harwood, Diana Peterson-More, Alan Harrison

After being introduced by James Harwood of Total HR Management, the three business leaders provided a dynamic presentation where they each offered varying perspectives on a variety of challenging issues. From employee management and retirement plans to government compliance and document retention, the presentation revealed the numerous pitfalls facing companies in the modern world. Beyond federal regulations, all three presenters pointed out the difficulty of doing business in California where the state regulations and regulatory bodies offer complex difficulties as well.

As Alan Harrison pointed out from his experience working with numerous businesses, “Trying to comply with government regulation and regulatory compliance for many companies is often like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn’t fit.” Given such challenges, the support of a professional employer organization can be a positive step in the right direction. From regulatory compliance to benefits administration, a local PEO can provide a company with the expertise that they lack.

EPLI Coverage Is Essential

asset protection

The Triumvirate at the Business Growth Workshop

Given the new challenges of both the Affordable Care Act and employee lawsuits, Blake Longo continuously pointed out the importance of EPLI coverage for a company. Employment practices liability insurance is not a choice in the 21st century, but a real necessity. As a successful insurance broker, Blake Longo commented after the session, “The insight into and access to EPLI coverage that a human resources outsourcing firm offers their clients is invaluable.”

Moreover, as an expert in skill-based hiring, Diana Peterson-More highlighted the importance of effective recruitment and selection for a company doing business in today’s marketplace. By relying on the skill of experts like the staffing specialists at Total HR Management, a company can not only hone their recruitment and selection, but also improve in the key area of employee retention as well.

Business Growth Workshop

Once again, the Business Growth Workshop at the University Club in Pasadena proved to be a truly valuable resource. By bringing in such respected business leaders, James Harwood of Total HR Management has helped to enhance the value of the monthly gatherings. In June, halfway through the year, the ground covered and the insight gained provided excitement for the next six months to follow in the ongoing series.

Sara Hammes Examines The Discipline Needed To Institute Competitive Insight At The Business Growth Workshop

At the University Club in Pasadena on May 27th, a persuasive presentation by Sara Hammes showed local business owners how market insight can lead to a competitive advantage. In the 21st century, the diversification of marketplace challenges has gone hand-in-hand with the availability of more and more information. While employing big data to achieve a competitive advantage is tempting and currently trending, it also can be quite dangerous. Although marketplace insight leads to opportunity, a traditional linear approach to applying such insight in companies undermines its value.

Sara Hammes Goes Beyond The Linear

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Sara Hammes on Marketplace Insight

If an intuitive understanding of the marketplace is to be discovered and effectively employed by a company, pluralistic insight is a necessity. While most companies stop at formulated data available to everyone, modern innovators go beyond the linear. Sara Hammes described how insight comes from the bottom up. Once such insight is recognized, the question becomes how to make the knowledge effective in a company’s business model. Just knowing something is not enough; such knowledge must be instituted into a company’s ongoing practices.

As a direct result of this requirement, Sara Hammes recommends mapping a process not only to gain insight, but to institute it as well. For example, with an emerging company client that had a business model that went against the established grain, Sara Hammes looked deeply into their business plan and the needs of their clients. She pointed out how the whole ecosystem of the their business needed to be designed to help serve the client.

HR Functions & Instituting Marketplace Change

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Sara Hammes & James Harwood

Intrigued by her dynamic presentation, the assembled business owners asked questions about instituting the process. The business owners wanted to know how such knowledge can be established across several levels of a company. Sara Hammes pointed out that since HR functions operate across the spectrum of a business, the awareness of such changes could be fostered through the direct participation of HR managers. By connecting the dots, the insight into a company that is coming from the bottom up can be taken advantage of by executives at the top of the food chain.

Sara Hammes expanded on this idea when she said, “Gaining Insight for HR professionals can mean making the right calls in hiring the skill sets and providing the right training needed to properly serve the market. HR professionals are connected to all the employees. And this means that HR is partnering effectively with the rest of the company and not operating in its own silo.”

Developing True Marketplace Insight

Introduced by James Harwood of Total HR, the Business Growth Workshop presentation by Sara Hammes provided attendees with a road map to effectively using market insight. By working with executive teams to firmly establish a company’s market position, Sara Hammes and The Vita Group help firms attain the success they desire. Similar to the goal of Total HR Management of allowing business owners to work on their business and not get trapped in the bureaucracy of their company, Sara Hammes helps executives get out of their own way. Her goal is not only to develop true market insight, but to develop ways to allow such insight to be instituted and employed across the board and the boardroom as well.

Business Growth Workshop: Protect and Improve your Organization’s Assets 6-23-15


Protect and Improve your Organization’s Assets: People, Product and Finance

A Business Growth Workshop Presentation by Diana Peterson-More, Alan Harrison and Blake Longo

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 from 7:30am – 9:30 am 

Continental breakfast will be provided This is FREE to members of the University Club, Non-Members $25

After this dynamic business presentation you will:

  • Discover how to reduce insurance premiums with financial and employee strategies. 
  • Understand the important coverage components that need to be included in your policy/ies. 
  • Acquire “how to” tips to improve your financial management and systems.
  • Learn proven people policies that net motivated /productive employees and reduce liability.

Who should attend?

  • Organizations of any size seeking best practices information in three vital disciplines: finance, people management and insurance coverages.
  • Those looking to enhance employee motivation and productivity while reducing organizational and personal liability. 
  • Anyone interested in a financial best practices tune-up and preventing fraud. Everyone who wants to reduce insurance premiums. 
  • Anyone who wants to acquire a deeper knowledge of how to run a successful organization!

About the speaker panel:

For the past 18 years, Diana Peterson-More, JD, a former practicing employment lawyer, corporate manager and officer, has been assisting organizations with all manner of people issues, from employee relations to human resources to training and development to executive coaching. Her business is focused on aligning individuals with organizational goals for maximum ROI.

Alan Harrison, CPA, has over 35 years of experience serving individuals, businesses and nonprofits. He provides assurance, accounting and tax services with a unique consultative approach that focuses on the big picture as well as the details. Alan helps his clients understand their business, operate efficiently and avoid unacceptable levels of enterprise risk.

Blake Longo, CIC is President of A.J. Longo & Associates insurance brokerage since 2005. The firm has been located in Pasadena since 1990 and specializes in insuring middle market commercial businesses of all kinds. Blake will discuss how to transfer risk using insurance.

For reservations, please contact the University Club by calling 626-793-5157 or by emailing 

*New sessions will occur on the fourth Tuesday of every month*

University Club of Pasadena  

175 North Oakland Avenue

Pasadena, CA 91101

John Thompson & Kal Balian Antoun Illuminate The Implementation Of Banner Goals At The Business Growth Workshop

At the latest Business Growth Workshop at the University Club of Pasadena, John Thompson and Kal Balian Antoun emphasized the importance of banner goals. They let the attendees know that business plans usually are a waste of time. Rather than leading to action, business plans outline big, impossibly long-term end games that simply do not apply to everyday reality. Rather than focus on a business, the leaders of the TG Loans mortgage team wanted the attendees to develop 60 to 90 day banner goals that could be realized and bring about both success and happiness.

Realization of Your Company’s Banner Goals

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Kal Balian Antoun & John Thompson on Banner Goals

From the outset, John Thompson warned that if the attendees thought they were going to sit and listen to a presentation, they had showed up to the wrong business growth workshop. Instead, the attendees would do the majority of the work with business goals in a holistic manner. When James Harwood of Total HR had introduced John Thompson and Kal Balian Antoun, he thought that would be the end of the work of the morning. Little did he realize on April 28th that he would be taking as much of an interactive part in the presentation as everyone else in the room.

Banner Goals over Business Plans

When asked why the “Business Plans Are A Waste Of Time” presentation was valuable to business owners, John Thompson smiled and provided a detailed explanation:

banner goals

James Harwood with Kal Balian Antoun & John Thompson

“The application of the concepts covered are key to any successful business, in particular firms focused on improving workplace productivity. Modern businesses need to improve the workplace environment, thus optimizing the quality of life for their employees. Firms like Total HR Management use the concepts internally with their team but also share them with their valued clients. Firms that embrace the ideas taught in the workshop are able to achieve lower turnover and higher workplace satisfaction. Such happiness leads to success by fostering increased sales, profit and growth through a more focused and productive sales force.”

After answering many questions and filling out page after page to illuminate their individual lives, the attendees were ready for the grand design. Looking at the areas of their lives, ranging from business and financial to family and spiritual, goals were outlined in each area with handy sectional guides. In the end, the point was to develop realizable banner SMART goals for the next 60 to 90 days. SMART goals stand for Specific-Measureable-Attainable-Realistic-Time Bound objectives. The question is once such goals are created will there be true follow through into action.

Business Growth Workshop Success

The Business Growth Workshop interactive presentation by John Thompson and Kal Balian Antoun proved engaging. As an ongoing offering of the University Club of Pasadena, the workshops open many windows into information and resources that prove valuable. By focusing on SMART banner goals, the latest workshop offered a realistic approach to actually achieving happiness and success.


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