Category Archives: PAR Staff

Meet… Lauren Rosario

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Lauren Rosario, Senior Marketing Analyst

How many years have you worked at PAR? 1

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? My primary responsibility is market research; I engage with our Customers to discover their likes, dislikes, and needs and then find common trends between them. This helps guide the company on what is meaningful and important to Customers during new product development and when marketing products. Market research takes many different forms, from focus groups to large-scale online research projects. In addition to listening to the voice of our customers, I also work on launching new products by developing marketing pieces, videos, advertisements, and other ways to communicate to our Customers all of the great things we have to offer at PAR.

What is the best part of your job? I find market research fascinating because Customer behavior is so interesting; the most beneficial and rewarding moments are when Customers tell me something through research and that feedback changes what we as a company had planned. When that happens, you see firsthand the power of market research insights and the success that comes to companies that value and embrace their Customers’ wants and needs. It’s also very exciting when research I’ve conducted and Customer behavior that follows matches up perfectly.

What would surprise people about your job? Market research is both a science and an art at every stage of the game. There are subtle intricacies in wording and question ordering for even a simple survey that can have a great impact on the results, so having a solid background in market research is critical.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? I am taking master’s courses in marketing through Harvard University, so that takes up most of my time. I also love long-distance running with my rescue dog, traveling to new countries with my husband, quilting, and I am involved with my church.

When I first started working at PAR… I was absolutely amazed at how charitable the employees are to needy causes and how exceptionally well the company treats employees. It’s incredibly inspiring to work for a company that is so generous; I’m honored to be part of this team. PAR is a truly exemplary.

The best advice I’ve ever received is… to design a life you love. It’s short, but to me, it motivates me to be determined about loving life.  I have known since I was about 10 that I wanted to have a career in marketing, preferably in a climate that offered palm trees! I absolutely love my career as a marketer and wouldn’t prefer doing anything else.

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Meet… Danielle Greer

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Danielle Greer, Customer Support Specialist

How many years have you worked at PAR? 1 year

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? An average day in Customer Support consists of processing orders, providing support, answering questions, and resolving issues, just to name a few. It is difficult to cover the range of duties we perform. The goal at PAR every day however is to provide unparalleled service and delight our customers!

What is the best part of your job? The variety of professionals I get to talk to on a daily basis. I get the opportunity to speak with professionals that have been in their field for decades as well as those that are just starting out. I also never know what state, country, or continent I am going to take a call from!

What have you learned by working at PAR? I have learned that it is entirely possible for a company to foster a family-like culture that inspires its employees to not only take pride in their work, but also in their position to give back to the community. PAR provides many opportunities to help those in need, and I believe other companies can learn a lot by the example that PAR sets.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? Cycling for miles on the Suncoast Bike Trail!

If I could switch jobs with anyone in the company for a day… I would switch with a Distribution Specialist. In Customer Support, we process a lot of orders for shipment, and sometimes have special requests for our customers that the DC helps with. I believe I could learn a lot from our neighbor department that so quickly and accurately puts together our customers’ orders and is so willing to team up with CS to tackle assignments.

What product or project have you learned the most from? Our department’s “Secret Service” committee. We are always striving to delight our customers in new and creative ways, and we inspire one another by sharing stories weekly about how we went the extra mile for a customer. These are perfect opportunities for the department to learn different ways to make our customers’ day or take a unique approach to resolving an issue.

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Community PARtners Spring Update

The movers and shakers on Team PAR have been very busy, participating in community service projects and supporting causes that are making a real difference! Here are a few highlights of our activities so far this year.

The PARty AnimalsPARty Animals 2015 emerged as leader of the pack in raising funds for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay at the annual Bark in the Park event this spring, keeping the trophy in its rightful place—the lobby here at PAR headquarters—for another year! A large contingent from our staff, along with their four-legged friends, joined the happy throng at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park to support the Humane Society and its vital work in our community.

“Love is Blue,” according to the old song, and that sums up one of Team PAR’s true labors of love: our support for autism awareness and research. But why blue? On World Autism Day each year, the Autism Speaks organization encourages people all over the world to “light it up blue” by wearing blue clothing and displaying blue lights in their homes, schools, and businesses. PAR staff turned out in our best dress blues that day; we also held a week-long silent auction and raffle, where theater tickets and fine wine were among the generous donations that had us all raising our bids. An enthusiastic team of walkers capped off the week by participating in the annual Autism Walk, engaging sponsors and raising thousands of dollars for autism research.

Earlier this year, PAR was thrilled to be honored as the 2015 Outstanding Corporate Partner for the PACE Center for Girls. The PACE Center in Tampa provides at-risk teen girls an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. With a balanced emphasis on academics and social services, the PACE model is recognized as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system.

PAR was also honored to participate in this year’s Cup of Compassion Breakfast to benefit the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Through their crisis hotline and support services, the Crisis Center brings help, hope, and healing to people who are experiencing the devastating trauma of sexual assault or abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and other crises.

Each week throughout the year, PAR employees deliver a hot meal and a warm smile to Meals on Wheels recipients in our area. Many are elderly or disabled, and they often don’t get much company, so we try to take a few moments to chat with these neighbors who help to brighten our day as well. This April, we continued with our annual tradition of making and delivering an extra treat: cheerful gift baskets, brimming with goodies and designed to say, “Welcome, spring!”

Above par, below par, or just from PAR…it really didn’t matter at a recent golf tournament, where our foursome of keen PAR golfers helped raise funds to benefit The Children’s Home of Tampa. This event is one of the many ways that PAR supports The Children’s Home in its work to strengthen families in our community.

The Bloodmobile (a.k.a. OneBlood Services) makes regular stops at PAR, where they know that our regular donors—and a few first-timers, too—can be counted on for donations of blood and platelets. The experts on the Bloodmobile team make it easy for us to do the right thing!

These are just a few of the many ways that PAR gives back to our community. “Creating Connections, Changing Lives” is more than just a tagline at PAR—it’s a commitment. Please visit the Community PARtners page on the PAR Web site to learn more!

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Top Dog!

The PARty Animals have a lot to bark about this year!
The PARty Animals have a lot to bark about this year!

A group of animal-loving PAR employees, known as the PARty Animals, led the pack at this weekend’s Bark in the Park event, benefitting the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. As the top fundraising team this year, we will be proudly displaying the Bark in the Park trophy in the PAR lobby for another year.

Last year’s Bark in the Park event raised enough money to:

  • save 5,611 animals
  • transfer 2,765 animals from high euthanasia shelters
  • achieve a 96% save rate
  • treat 25,857 owned pets at the Animal Health Center
  • trap, neuter, and return 5,399 feral cats
  • perform 11,506 spay/neuter surgeries for the public
  • give 1,708 free pet vaccinations in disadvantaged neighborhoods
  • give 286,150 pounds of free pet food to the pets of disadvantaged and homebound citizens

 

We are so proud to be able to support such a wonderful cause. We can’t wait to see what this year brings for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

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A Salute to Cynthia Lumpee: The Final Installment

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, today is her last day before retirement. Throughout the week, we have shared stories, memories, and well wishes. Today, we share two final well wishes here.

Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year's United Way kickoff event.
Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year’s United Way kickoff event.

What an honor it is to propose a toast to Cynthia!

I’m sure you have all heard many stories about her along the way. And it’s stories like these and countless others that epitomize the wonderful nature and contribution that Cynthia has made to PAR.

We are indeed fortunate to have had the privilege of sharing Cynthia’s expertise, work ethic, and commitment.  She has achieved countless goals and accolades — too many to mention now.

Cynthia has left a remarkable legacy behind and one which will remain with us for years to come. She is leaving PAR a better place than when she found it, and that, in itself, will remain a lasting tribute to her professionalism.

We will miss our colleague, a consummate professional, a confidant, a friend, a wise counselor, a shoulder to lean on, a leader, and indeed a lady of note.

Remember us fondly and may the years that lie ahead be filled with laughter, happiness and even more dreams achieved. This is our wish for you as we say “so long,” but not farewell.

-Vicki King, Executive Assistant to the Chairman and CEO

 

In addition to leading the best Customer Support Department in the test publishing industry,  Cynthia has been such an important part of  PAR’s annual United Way Campaign.  Not only has she been a faithful donor at the Leadership level, but she has also been a creative influence in the planning of fun-filled activities and unique decorations for PAR’s United Way week each September. We will miss her positive spirit, suggestions, and involvement as we plan future United Way activities. 

Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year's United Way campaign.
Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year’s United Way campaign.

“The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.” 

-Pablos Casals

Thanks to Cynthia for caring about her Customers, her fellow staff members, and her community!

Cathy Smith, Vice President Community Relations

Cynthia, we wish you the best in retirement!

 

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A Salute to Cynthia Lumpee: Part 3

After 32 years, tomorrow is Cynthia's last day at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia!
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

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A Salute to Cynthia Lumpee: Part 2

Love our legendary Customer Service? You have Cynthia to thank!
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

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A Salute to Cynthia Lumpee: Part 1

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

Number 5.

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

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PAR supports United Way

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Everyone had an opportunity to take part in some camp-themed crafts.

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. Check out some pictures from our fun-filled week of activities.

Want to learn more about how you can help United Way in your community? Visit www.unitedway.org.

 

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Camp counselors Cynthia Lumpee and Vicki King (along with Smokey the Bear) helped plan a fun-filled week of activities.
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Helping Veterans Make the Transition to Civilian Life

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.

 

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