You may have heard how Genesis10 got our name. Genesis means “starting over” or “new beginning,” and 10 represents the people who 25 years ago this month joined CEO Harley Lippman to create and grow Genesis10 into one of the largest staffing firms in the U.S., according to Staffing Industry Analysts.
What was it like at Genesis10 in the first few months of 1999? What motivated the 10 to join Lippman in his new company? How did they get started? What were the challenges? The rewards?
Eight of the 10 are still with Genesis10, testament to the man and to what they all created.
The contributions of the founding members to Genesis10 make us who we are today – and have an impact on all of the people who work here, those of you who do business with us as consultant or client, and the communities where we have offices across the country.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Genesis10, we will over the next 12 months share the story of our founding and growth, beginning with this blog.
The People Who Make Genesis10
Many of the people Lippman invited to join him in his new company had worked with him before, at a previous company he owned. All of them were working at good jobs, making good money. Most of them had young families. Joining Lippman meant starting over, taking a risk and a pay cut. Yet 10 agreed – some with a little persuasion – to help.
Wayne Sueltz, Managing Director at Genesis10 in Dallas, TX, had worked with Lippman at his former company since 1996, yet was hesitant about joining him in his new venture. What eventually led Sueltz to yes?
“I said ‘no’ three or four times,” he says. “But Harley was persistent. It was my belief in him and in myself. But also it was Harley’s belief in us. Out of that mutual belief comes strong commitment. Once we said we were going to do it, we did.”
Likewise for Helen Blake and others – it was trust – that Lippman would do what he said he was going to do. He had created a company before that was successful and there was no reason he could not do it again.
“Genesis10 was a good fit for all of us who joined because we worked well together before,” says Blake, Managing Director at Genesis10 in New York, NY. “We knew that we would deliver. We worked a lot – and we had a lot of fun.”
With Lippman and Blake in New York City in the early days were Glenn Klein, Caron Katz, Gina Lipman and Stefane Golub. Colleen McIntyre also agreed to help Lippman with Genesis10 in Milwaukee, WI. All are still with Genesis10.
The 10 started from scratch. All of them, whether they were in New York City, Dallas or Milwaukee, were willing to help grow the new company any way they could. Leveraging years of staffing experience and the relationships they had built with clients and consultants, the 10 sold, recruited, and supported one another.
“Everyone rolled up their sleeves and did what was asked of them, whether it was your area of expertise or not,” says Caron Katz, Director of Compliance at Genesis10. “If you were in recruiting and you were asked to make a sales call, you did. If it was an HR or legal issue, you took care of it. If you could contribute something you did.”
“We did everything we needed to do to make it successful,” says Stefane Golub, Managing Director at Genesis10 in New York City.
Lippman too was very hands-on, involved in the day-to-day workings of the business. To build a list of prospective clients, Colleen McIntyre, Managing Director at Genesis10 in Austin, TX, recalls him approaching the mayor of Milwaukee asking to meet with his roundtable of local business executives. Lippman got the meeting. After, McIntyre followed up with hand-written letters and phone calls, which led to more meetings and eventually new clients.
“Because we were so small we really saw the impact of what we were working on contributing to the success and growth of the company,” says Gina Lipman, Director of Client Services at Genesis10 in New York City.
Genesis10's Impact on the Community
McIntyre agrees. “I feel we all have an impact here and what we do matters. We are listened to. Genesis10 has some of the most innovative service offerings like Flexible Workforce Solutions, Dev10 and New Journey, and we have leadership always looking to promote and create other offerings to keep us competitive.”
As Wayne Sueltz sees it, Genesis10 is a powerful American entrepreneur story. Not only did Lippman create opportunity for himself, but also for the Genesis10 family in 1999 and 25 years later. “Genesis10 has grown into a company that’s created opportunity for all of us,” he says. “Harley should feel really proud of that. He created opportunity and meaningful employment for a lot of people, employees and consultants, out of nothing.”
That impact extends to the communities where Genesis10 does business – and where we have employees. Organizations where Genesis10 employees volunteer – charities, schools, churches, civic groups – all are better because of the Genesis10 individual who is in that community, Sueltz points out. Our role model is Harley Lippman who gives back through his charitable work – with military veterans, children in Cambodia and families of Holocaust victims.
“At the end of the day, all you have is the people around you, the leadership to point you in the right direction and the commitment to doing the right things,” Sueltz says. “I think that’s what Genesis10 does.”
Caron Katz is “very proud to be a part of the growth of this organization. When I look at it now, we started with really absolutely nothing. We all put our hearts and souls into it. It feels like it’s part of my success as well. I feel personally attached to it. I do feel as if my contributions make a difference. That’s a good feeling.”