In the Going Places series, we profile leaders at CHG and discover what they've learned throughout their time at the company.
Name: Nick Cavaleri
Position: Controller at RNnetwork in Boca Raton, Fla.
Years at CHG: Seven months.
What is your most memorable experience at CHG? Employee Appreciation Week absolutely blew my mind. I've never seen a company go to such great lengths ensuring that every employee knows how much they are valued. What an incredible testament to walking the "Putting People First" talk.
What is your favorite core value and why? They're all important, but I like the Continuous Improvement value the most. It's exciting to see the rapid growth of our business, and it's great to be part of a winning team (and we're winning big!). However, it's even more exciting to see the potential this team has and the results we can realize if we continue to develop and improve the way we operate our business. One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes is, "The future ain't what it used to be." There is a lot of opportunity out there, and if you aren't moving forward, you're moving backwards.
What is your career background and what brought you to CHG? I spent ten years in the automotive retail business in corporate finance and dealer operations management. The "car business" proved to be a great training ground for every aspect of business and people management (what to do and what NOT to do). In addition to my initial role in financial planning and analysis, I became heavily involved in marketing and advertising, inventory management, consumer lending, manufacturer relations, wholesale and retail sales operations, and sales management. The automotive retail market was hit extraordinarily hard when the economy turned, and I elected to pursue an opportunity to earn an MBA from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) while working for a public accounting firm. I spent two years in public accounting and realized the CPA route was not the career path I wanted to pursue. I love crunching numbers, but I missed the interaction and excitement of sales and sales management. I came across a job posting for the controller position at RNnetwork and applied. The job description outlined a perfect blend of leadership, number crunching, and an opportunity to be involved in driving sales. After a grueling interview process (thanks, Bill), I joined the team in March of this year.
What is your favorite part about your job? Identifying the opportunities for growth and improvement! Our division is performing extremely well, but we feel like we're just getting warmed up. We are working harder and smarter than ever before, and we are able to identify key areas of opportunity by improving on our analysis, planning and understanding of the business.
What do you like to do when you aren't at work? My wife and I love taking our two young children to the beach on the weekends. If we're not at the beach, we're playing or watching sports (usually football), riding bikes, going to water parks or going to the movies. I'm trying to teach my four-year-old son to play golf so I have a "legitimate reason" to play more often.
What have you learned about yourself working at CHG? I've learned that actually enjoying my job is extremely important to achieving a work/life balance. Early in my professional career, I was convinced that a job was something you have to do so you could live the way you wanted to on the weekends. I thought achieving a work/life balance only meant allocating time between the two. It's amazing how the balance is improved when you absolutely love the work you are doing.
How have you grown as a leader at CHG? The transparency and autonomy fostered by CHG and RNnetwork has allowed me to grow as a leader. I've never for a second had to question or second-guess the integrity of a business decision or the direction we are going as a company. In a world full of companies that are focused on getting results by any means necessary, CHG and RNnetwork are proof that achieving results the right way is the more sustainable business model. The communication in our division is excellent. I've been involved in several management teams with previous employers where there is little to no communication, and it makes it impossible to plan, organize, lead and control the business the right way. Our goals are established and clearly communicated, and an emphasis is placed on getting results the right way. I love that our company is as concerned about integrity and ethics as we are about results. Having total confidence in my team and peers allows me to focus on what is important to the business, and affords me the capacity to grow as a leader.
Who has influenced you most in your career at CHG and how? Our payroll manager, Kimberly Del'Valle, has had a big impact on my short tenure here at RNnetwork. Her positive attitude and encouraging outlook on life are contagious, and her upbeat character keeps both me and her whole team motivated. We always seem to be on the same page, and there's a mutual "I've got your back" sentiment between us. I rely heavily on her payroll expertise, and I feel very fortunate to have her on our team.
How do you know that what you do at CHG matters? The people here actually tell me that what I'm doing matters. It sounds simple, but for some reason there are a lot of companies out there that just can't or won't communicate with their employees. Consistent feedback (good and bad) from all levels of the company points me in the direction in which I can have the most impact on the business. Through open communication with my peers and leaders, I can identify specific examples of how I have contributed to the success of our business, and that's a great feeling!