Bob and Cathy Smith with Cynthia during the early days at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia!

You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

Cynthia taught me the “PAR way,” which is about doing things the right way—being friendly, reliable, and thorough.  She made sure that we always remember that Customer Service is our most important product. Keeping that goal in focus is vital to PAR’s success, and it’s what separates us from our competitors. Most importantly, she taught me that little details matter and the only perception that matters is the Customer’s perception.  Thanks for everything!

-Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support

 

I knew from my first contact with Cynthia that I had encountered both an exceptional person and company. Although I have worked for less than a year in Cynthia’s department, I have enjoyed every moment together and am consistently astounded at how wonderful a team she has put together at PAR. I am confident her influence will continue to radiate through our team and the rest of the company. She will be missed dearly!

-Danielle Greer, Customer Support Specialist

 

Cynthia has shown me the true meaning of Customer Service. If our Customers are not happy, then we need to work on ways to fix it. I admire her dedication to our Customers and their satisfaction.

-Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist

 

In just a few days, I will be celebrating my 21st work anniversary at PAR. Without Cynthia, it won’t be the same. Cynthia has not only been my supervisor all this time, but she has been a source of encouragement, a shining example of professionalism, and a friend. In all this time, I have had the privilege of working for her, learning from her, and sharing with her in an effort to build and train a team that provides the best Customer Service in the test publishing industry. We will miss her so much, but will never forget what she has taught us. We remain committed to carrying on her legacy through our never-ending commitment to Customer Service.

-Tamara Dwoskin, Customer Service Quality Assurance Manager
Love our legendary Customer Service? You have Cynthia to thank!

You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

 

Cynthia has taught me so many things, I don’t know where to begin! So, I’m just going to say that our Customers always come first to her, and she has taught this to every employee she has had.

Thank you for everything, Cynthia. I am going to miss you!

 -Marie Mitchell, Order Entry Coordinator (and has worked with Cynthia for 24 years!)

 

This is not a story, but there is a quote that I think Cynthia has taught not only her Customer Service team but all employees within the organization:

Customer Service is not a department…it’s everyone’s job!

She has taught me that it is important to always put the Customer’s needs first and to give people more than what they expect to get. I am forever grateful for all of her lessons. She will always play a vital role in the development of Customer Service representatives at PAR!

-Donna Drackett, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

 

Cynthia taught me that no matter what, we’re here for the Customer. Everything we do in the company will affect the Customer in some way, and we have to think about that no matter what.

-Teri Lyon, MBA, Senior Technical Support Specialist
You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

Many things have changed at PAR, but Cynthia has been a constant for 32 years.

Cynthia was the fifth person to join PAR, and she has had an extraordinary 32-year career here. She joined PAR as a part-time office clerk in 1983. At that time, she described herself as a married tennis mom who was raising two young daughters. She became PAR's first Customer Service representative, then our Customer Service Manager, and finally Vice President of Customer Service. Along the way, she set the Customer Service standard for our entire industry and taught all the members of her team what the Customer Service experience should be.

We will be forever grateful for what she has contributed to PAR.

She is retiring in January as the longest-serving PAR family member but remains part of the PAR family forever.

-Bob Smith III, PhD, Chairman and CEO

PAR is proud of our ongoing support of United Way. Last week, employees took part in our annual fundraising campaign. For more than 20 years, 100% of staff members have participated in our annual United Way drive, and this year was no different. We exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in $123,392.95 being donated to United Way to help continue its mission of helping others in our community.

This year, our United Way week theme was Camp PAR. We took part in a host of activities, from a s'mores building contest to a tent pitching competition. Want to learn more about how you can help United Way in your community? Visit www.unitedway.org.

The latest edition of the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal features a chapter by PAR authors Melissa A. Messer, MHS, and Jennifer A. Greene, MSPH.

The article details the development of the newest edition to our Self-Directed Search® product line, the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder™ (VMOF™), and explains how to use this new tool when counseling veterans through their transition from the military to the civilian job force. The VMOF helps clients better understand how to transition their skills to civilian occupations through use of John Holland’s RIASEC theory of career development.

The entire Fall 2014 edition of the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal focuses on helping veterans with career development and transition.

Click here to read the article by Melissa A. Messer, MHS, and Jennifer A. Greene, MSPH.

 
One of the most respected and widely used career interest inventories in the world has been revised and updated to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking clients.

Developed concurrently with the English version, the Self-Directed Search (SDS), 5th Edition Spanish Version by John L. Holland, PhD and Melissa A. Messer, MHS is a self-administered, self-scored, and self-interpreted career counseling tool designed specifically for use with Spanish speakers living in the U.S. Translated by experts and reviewed by practicing bilingual counselors, the SDS Spanish components include the Assessment Booklet, the Occupations Finder, and the You and Your Career booklet; the complete SDS Spanish Kit also includes the 5th Edition Professional Manual (in English) along with a Manual Supplement for the Spanish Version.

An online Spanish Version is also available at www.self-directed-search.com, where clients can not only take the SDS online but also receive their client reports in Spanish, as well. Visit the SDS Web site to take the SDS in Spanish or to see the new Spanish language features and resources.

 

 
Last week, PAR took home two titles that we are especially proud to share.

On March 29,  PAR staff and our favorite furry friends turned a rainy day into a walk to remember to support the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Bark in the Park event. Although the walk ended up being rained out just after our team picture, the PARty Animals were thrilled to take home top fundraising honors while showing our support for such a worthy organization.

Also, for the fourth consecutive year, PAR has received the Gold Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for promoting employee wellness, making PAR a Fit-Friendly Worksite. We are proud to promote the importance of healthy living and wellness in the workplace!

To learn more about the many ways PAR staff give back to the community, visit our Community PARtners page.
This month, PAR was honored to be named as a recipient of the “Spirit of Tampa Bay” award from United Way’s Suncoast Chapter. United Way explains that the award is their way of recognizing companies that go “above and beyond” in organizing and energizing fundraising, volunteerism, and community engagement at their workplaces.

Cathy Smith, PAR’s Vice President of Community Relations, was thrilled to accept the award at a special half-time ceremony during a recent Tampa Bay Lightning game. For this honor, however, she credits PAR employees for their commitment and enthusiasm for helping others.

“From our beginning more than 35 years ago, PAR’s mission has included giving back to the community,” Cathy explains. Helping children and families in Tampa Bay is a special priority, and PAR employees have participated in a wide range of United Way Suncoast programs that support literacy, mental health, nutrition, and much more. “Staff participation was always strong,” says Cathy, “but about 15 years ago, we reached the milestone of 100% employee participation—and we’ve maintained that every year since.”

Each year, a large contingent from PAR participates in United Way’s annual Day of Caring, which brings together volunteer teams to tackle various projects that most agencies could never undertake on their own. Last fall, PAR staff helped organize supplies and donations at the Family Resource Center, a wonderful organization that helped more than 11,000 low-income and at-risk families in Hillsborough County last year.

United Way Pledge Week is one of the most fun weeks of the year at PAR. The week includes a series of games (with treats and prizes), from the hotly contested annual Scrabble competition to a ride-like-there’s-no-tomorrow tricycle race through our Distribution Center! The culmination of the week is a luncheon featuring speakers from local organizations who have benefited from PAR’s support through United Way—a wonderful way to end pledge week on a high note.

To learn more about PAR’s ongoing commitment to United Way and to other community service projects, visit our Community PARtners Web page.
Beyond the technical requirements of the job, what are the workplace personality traits that lead to success in a specific work environment? Understanding the personality traits needed for a particular job or workplace can be the key to a good career choice—a match that works for both employee and employer.

The new Working Styles Assessment™ (WSA™) from PAR is a measure of work-related personality traits such as initiative, persistence, concern for others, self-control, conscientiousness, and analytical thinking. By measuring these traits, career counselors can help their clients find jobs they love—and employers can find workers who have what it takes for success on the job.

The WSA is the only workplace personality assessment that uses the current Occupational Information Network (O*NET) terminology, which means that the personality traits measured by the WSA can be compared to the traits associated with hundreds of current occupations listed in the O*NET database.

The WSA helps create a win-win situation for job seekers and employers:

  • Career counselors can help their clients use the WSA to identify their own strengths and explore the career options that are most likely to be a good fit.

  • HR professionals can decide which traits are most important for a given job and then use the WSA to identify candidates who have those traits.

  • Job seekers can look up interesting jobs on the O*NET and compare the working styles required by those jobs to their own working styles.


The WSA is a useful complement to the recently released 5th Edition of the Self-Directed Search® (SDS®), John Holland’s gold standard career interest inventory. The WSA will also soon be available on PARiConnect, PAR’s online assessment platform.

To learn more about the WSA and other career products from PAR, visit www.parinc.com or call Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378.
A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but sometimes a Webinar is better. Join us on Wednesday, February 26th at 12 PM EST for Introduction to the Vocabulary Assessment Scales, a one-hour Webinar presented by Senior Clinical Assessment Consultant Julie Alexander, PhD, NCSP. Delve into the details about this innovative new measure and learn how the Vocabulary Assessment Scales−Expressive (VAS−E) and Vocabulary Assessment Scales−Receptive (VAS−R) can help you measure vocabulary throughout the lifespan using full-color photographs. Realistic photographs are easily discernible and more ecologically valid than line drawings—giving your students and clients every opportunity to show you what they know.

Register now for this insightful Webinar. Space is limited!

Unable to attend the Webinar, but interested in learning more about the VAS−E and VAS−R? Watch an interview with author Rebecca Gerhardstein Nader, PhD.