Executive Search Coming Out of the Pandemic

While so many people wish and hope for life in America to return to normal, so many portions of our lives have been changed forever. When it comes to the process of searching for executive sales talent, the changes are dramatic and game changing.

As commerce returns in a world that maintains social distancing and coronavirus concerns, the skills of a new sales executive must be far more wide-ranging and in touch with the business pressures that exist today.

At Best Sales Talent, we have studied the way changes in lifestyle and commerce have affected executive searches, and we will discuss how those changes impact your own sales management search to allow you to make the best possible decisions for your company.


How executive search has changed

Among the 22 million people who lost their jobs in the United States due to business losses related to the coronavirus pandemic, some of them were sales employees. At the same time, talented individuals who were ready to make a change to a better, or new sales role, found the landscape changed and their immediate career aspirations put on hold. As a result, this group of active jobseekers, in addition to the universe of passive candidates has grown.

Simultaneously, your company may have been required to rethink your sales priorities and marketing strategies. The skills you needed for a sales or marketing executive prior to the pandemic may now have been permanently altered. You have many different pressures to consider related to the world’s adjustment period back to something akin to normalcy, and you must maintain a list of new priorities as you search for new sales and marketing talent.

A third consideration is the attitudes of your current staff and the relationship you have with employees who may have been laid off due to business losses related to the pandemic. Are you rehiring those employees if they are still available? Are you rehiring them to the same role they were in before Covid-19? Or were you looking to make (or needing to make) significant role changes before the health crisis, and now you must consider whether this is the proper time to institute those changes?

Interviewing in the time of social distancing

This point is key to your process of interviewing and hiring new sales and marketing talent. How will interviews be conducted? Are you going to demand in-person interviews for the first stage, or later in the process? If your initial interviews are going to be conducted remotely, are you going to have fewer executives involved? Are you going to demand that your sales or marketing candidate be fully vaccinated? Will you consider those candidates who do not want to be vaccinated?

Since the position you are hoping to fill is a customer-facing position, requiring an employee with solid people skills, you must consider what you are going to require in terms of their approach to the job. How will a candidate’s attitude toward social distancing affect your decision? Should your job requirements related to contact with others be included in your job description? Or is your company management flexible regarding how employees approach the new social environment?

The role timing plays in a talent search today

The talent deck has been shuffled. The best candidates may not be actively seeking a change, wanting to stay in their current roles.  Some, who have been recruited, may already be talking to other companies.  You will be in an even more competitive position attempting to attract these candidates. You need to ask yourself “how desperate are we to fill these positions, and what will we do to compete for these candidates?”

Whether you are in a rush or have time to ponder your choices, a conversation with Best Sales Talent is a wise move. You have many items to consider on your to-do list related to talent search, and we have the knowledge to assist you in putting that list in its proper order, with an eye uniquely trained to help you develop the correct value proposition to sell to candidates.

The talent search you are conducting is unlike any talent search you have conducted before. If you are aware of that, we can help guide you through the process. If you are NOT aware of that, you certainly need to speak to us so we can explain how the old requirements you used in searching for sales and marketing talent are no longer appropriate. We are here to guide you towards the very best hire.

Give Best Sales Talent a call at 401-737-3200.

Without someone performing the sales function, the entire organization will fall.

Nice Comment

This was posted on LinkedIn on 7/17/20 by my good friend, Paul Fiorvanti,  a proven operations executive, CEO and turnaround expert.  It is small in size, and maybe a little hard to read here, but BIG in an endorsement of my services.

He is referring to a blog post I wrote some time ago that can be viewed by clicking HERE

Without someone performing the sales function, the entire organization will fall.
Without someone performing the sales function, the entire organization will fall.



Know Your True Value


When his daughter turned sixteen and got her driver’s license, her father took her into the garage and said: “You are going to need a car to get to your job after school. Take this old Ford pickup truck to the local junk dealer and ask him what he’d give you for it.”

His daughter drove the truck to the junk dealer and was told: “It’s very old, but I’ll give you $200 for the pickup.”  She drove home and told her father what the junk dealer offered.

Then her father told her to drive the pickup to a local pawn shop in town and ask them what they would give her for it.  She drove to the pawn shop and was told: “It’s an old truck, but I’ll give you $500 for it.” The daughter returned to report this to her father.

Her father then told her to drive to the local car dealer and ask them what they would give her for the truck.  They told her: “Even though it is old, we can give you $1,500 for it.”

Excited about the offer she had received, and what she thought was the best offer she could get, she drove home to tell her father the good news.

Her father nodded and told his daughter to drive out of town to a place that had a large garage owned by an older man.  He told her to ask the man what he would give her for the truck.  She was shocked when the man told her: “It’s a classic.  I’ll pay you $80,000 in cash if you sell it to me.”

The young girl couldn’t believe such an offer and immediately drove home to tell her father.

He father said: “That pickup may be old, but it is a classic, and the knowledgeable car collector knew its true value.  The junk dealer, pawn shop owner, and car dealer had no idea of the true value of the car.  Let this be a lesson to you,” said her father.  “Your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth. You need to always know your true value.  You know that job you have?  Don’t let anyone tell you that you are less valued.  If you are ever underpaid or under-appreciated where you work, then find a better job where they respect your talents and skills and where they will value you."


The Most Positive Man I Ever Met

                             It is amazing how meeting one person can change the direction of your entire life.

Almost 50 years ago, I had the good fortune to meet a unique man who has proven to be one of the most positive people I have ever encountered in my life. His name is Octave George Williams. He is one of the 4 influential men who shaped who I am today: My Dad ( Everything Is Sales ); Dan Doherty ( The House of Doherty ); and Alan Schonberg ( An Extraordinary Man ).

When I graduated from college, unemployment was high and there were few openings for recent college grads like me. I took a short-term stint working in a camera store to make money until I could find a more suitable career. I was an avid photographer, so it was easy for me to learn about the different cameras we sold. I was doing my own film developing and printing, so I understood the process and could explain it to the hobbyists who wanted to buy developing equipment and supplies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Octave George Williams Circa 1972

One day Octave walked into my store to call on me. My retail location was one of his customers. He was the District Sales Manager for the company that handled all our photo finishing. I found myself being immediately attracted to his dynamic style and to the passion and enthusiasm he had about his job and his business. I wanted to be part of something like that. He had no openings that he needed to fill when we met, but I convinced him that I would be a good salesperson for his company. He made room for me and hired me. That was my big break.

This was to be my first real career position. I became the New England Sales Representative for a division of a Fortune 500 company – GAF – and was to work for the Photo Service Division – a major photo finisher with nineteen plants in the nation. Prior to the advent of digital cameras and smart phones with cameras, the photo finishing industry was a multi-billion-dollar business. Now it is a shadow of itself.

Octave was (and still is) a great salesman. He had an extremely positive attitude about selling and a wonderful outlook on life in general. Octave taught me about the photo finishing business. I learned about professional selling through him, but he had a background that was not like any other salesperson I have ever met.

He was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in a town called Frederiksted, on the island of St. Croix. As a child he grew up in a good family and he was incredibly happy. He once told me that he did not have any problems growing up. After all, as he put it, how could anyone have problems living in such an idyllic place where you could swim in the beautiful, clear, blue Caribbean Sea almost every day? When Octave lived in St. Croix, the island was crime free and it seemed as if everyone knew each other. Neighbors became a second family.

At the age of fifteen Octave came to the US mainland. He became interested in business when he was in high school in New York City, but his interest really grew when he started working as a clerk in a drug store after school. He was meeting presidents of large companies who were the customers at the drug store. He watched sales reps selling to his employer. He liked what he saw in these sales reps and he found it very natural to emulate them and to sell anything at the store except for prescription items.

Octave continued to develop his selling skills at the drug store. He also learned, without realizing it at the time, that he was learning how to overcome customer objections. He really liked this aspect of the selling process and he genuinely loved selling because it gave him the opportunity to communicate and interact with different people. He found it to always be a learning experience.

One of the people Octave met at the drug store was Martin Ackerman, chairman of the board for Perfect Photo - a major national photo finisher. The man found Octave to be so charming, so upbeat, so positive, and so eager to get ahead as a professional salesman, that he offered him a job as a Sales Representative for his company. Octave began as a Sales Representative covering NYC and New Jersey.

Knowing the drug store business very well, Octave found it easy to offer the services of amateur film developing to pharmacies within his territory. There were many unique benefits for a retailer offering photo finishing to his customers and Octave knew them all very well: there was no investment in inventory; the finished products were envelopes about 5x7 inches in size and took up very little space under a counter in a shoebox or two; the markup on film processing services was about 40% to 60%; and the customer made three visits to the store – 1st to buy film, 2nd to drop it off for processing, and 3rd to pick up the finished product (prints). There could even be a 4th visit if the customer ordered enlargements of their favorite prints. The important aspect of all these visits is that it allowed the store to sell other products to the customer on each visit. Customers would see sales, promotions by consumer product companies, seasonal goods, etc., and would make other purchases while they were there. Octave would show pharmacists how offering his company’s services could be highly profitable to a pharmacy. He became a real success.

Octave held the NYC/NJ territory position for about 3 years and did such a good job that he was transferred to the Boston district which was badly in need of sales. At that time, Perfect Photo was bought by GAF. He became the GAF Sales Representative covering the 6 New England states and held that position for two years until he was promoted to the District Sales Manager role.

Octave had a winning advantage: he was extremely charismatic and upbeat and always happy. He capitalized on his charming island accent and his big contagious smile and bright white teeth. His smile seemed even larger and brighter in contrast to his very dark skin. Keep in mind that in the late 1960’s it was not at all common to see a black professional salesman in New England, let alone one with an accent. Octave knew how to use his personality to get people to like him and to do business with him.

When Octave hired me, he became my boss and my mentor. But there was also an immediate kinship created and we became fast friends. One of my most enjoyable selling experiences was when Octave and I went out to sell together. We had a lot in common in that we were born close to the same date (although he was ten years my senior), had similar styles of being eternal optimists, both with high energy, confident and self-motivated. We both had a cheerful disposition and relentless determination. We would take turns selling prospects on our services. We called ourselves the dynamic duo. We were unstoppable and we were always getting new business. We challenged each other to land a new client. It made the job fun, but it was a learning experience for me to watch him sell.

But there was something else I learned and observed when working with Octave. It was not something you would find in a book, or in a course about selling or salesmanship. It was something I could never really experience unless I was in Octave’s skin. It was a combination of some very subtle things: the odd, quizzical look on a prospective customer’s face when he saw Octave enter his establishment; a mild tensing of the shoulders; a healthy dose of in-bred bias upon seeing Octave approaching him; and a sort of anticipated skepticism towards anything he was about to hear from Octave. All of that melted away very quickly the moment the prospect saw Octave’s broad smile, heard his enchanting island accent, and observed his cheerful professional demeanor. Once Octave began speaking, his charm and enthusiasm completely disarmed people, and they were drawn to him. Enough so, that they wanted to hear more from him. I am sure Octave saw what I observed as we walked in, and I am sure he felt it more than I could ever understand. Octave never said a word about it. We never discussed it.

Octave told me that he made me his “project” to get me promoted. He said it took him 3 years to get promoted to sales manager and that he thought I could do it in less. He taught me what I needed to know. Sure enough, I became a top salesperson in the company, and I got promoted to Pittsburgh to be the District Sales Manager in just under two years, thanks to him. I was twenty-six at the time.

April 1974 - Octave congratulating me on becoming the District Sales Manager in Pittsburgh. (Oh, the styles back then!)

After I became the District Sales Manager, GAF transferred Octave to Los Angeles, where once again, he provided a positive injection of new sales to the local finishing plant. He became well-known on the west coast and he was recruited by Berkey Photo, another national photo finisher. He was successful with Berkey up through the time they were sold to Kodak. He was recruited by TruColor Photo, worked in sales with them, and then recruited again by another company, Qualex/Kodak. Octave never went looking for a job. The jobs came to him because the photo finishing industry was a who-knows-who business, and a great salesman was hard to find. They ALL benefitted from the skills and talents of my good friend, Octave.

Octave is still on the west coast, is retired, plays golf a few times a week, and is still the happy, enthusiastic, positive person I have always known. We speak, email, and FaceTime with one another often.

Some things I remember Octave telling me many years ago:

“Enthusiasm sells. If you are an enthusiastic person and you are enthusiastic about what you are selling, people will want to buy from you.”

“Qualify your buyer. Find out what problems or issues he has and sell a solution to those problems or issues, as it pertains to what you are selling.”

“If a customer is unhappy with his present vendor, find out why and then offer your service in the best light to show him he’d be happy with you as his vendor.”

“Pay attention to the details.”

“If you do not have the answer to a customer question, tell him you will get the answer and then get back to him. ALWAYS get back to the customer. That is key.”

“Remember, you are a professional. And Professionals are obsessed with getting better. They are lifelong students who know they will never graduate because there’s always more to learn.”

“Don’t be on time. Be five minutes early.”

“Do what you say you’ll do. Period.”

“Follow the steps involved in the photo finishing process from retail customer pick-up through the plant and back to the retailer (there were 13 major steps with about 20 people handling every roll of film to be developed). Anticipate and solve problems along the way before they happen and correct them.” This one has especially served me well as a recruiter, knowing all the steps in the recruiting process and how to anticipate issues before they arise.

Recently, I asked Octave several questions to put into this post:

Me: Why did you enjoy the profession of selling?
OW: Selling puts you in a position of meeting many new people. Selling gives you the chance to enjoy success every day. Selling is exciting and challenging. Selling puts each person in a position to show off his selling skills. Selling gives you an arena where you can work for more money without waiting for your employer to increase your earnings. Depending on your territory, there is an opportunity to see many new places. Selling helps to form new friendships and some may last a lifetime. Hey, if I were not in sales, I would not have met you!

Me: What do you remember about your photo finishing sales career that was significant?
OW: I never had to look for a job. I was known in the industry of doing a good job. So good, that I was taking customers away from my competitors. When they got tired of losing accounts, they recruited me to work for them for more money in an even better territory. I really do not remember bad things or experiences, because I did not have many. I may not have said it before but thank you for your desire to join my company. Thank you for expressing a desire to be on my team. Thank you for your faith and confidence in me. After all, you had a secure position and were willing to give it up to work with someone you only just recently met back then.

Me: Why do you think our friendship endured the last 48 years?
OW: Firstly, we are two quality individuals with special personalities. We share great values. We have incredible respect for all people. We both grew up in loving and healthy families. We did not have to discuss it, but we understand what is required to be good men and good human beings. We treated each other the right way. We also worked well together. I do not remember ever having a problem when we were on the same team. I can still remember the first time I met you and we hit it off quite well. Had no idea we would develop the friendship that we have. I said it before, you gave me reasons to like you and have confidence in you. I believe that it is important to reach out and do something for another person. Many people did that for me. In turn, I hired you.

Me: Anything else you would want to tell me about yourself, your life, your beliefs, your philosophy?
OW: I love playing golf. It is challenging and you do it outdoors. Plus, it is another way to meet new people. There are people in my life because of our mutual interest in golf. My philosophy is that you must give yourself another reason for living another day. My approach to life is to see more positives than negatives. I also believe we must work at being our best in all areas for a healthy body and a chance for high quality of life. Although I encountered many instances of racism during my career, I prefer to leave them in the past. Holding onto those negative things does no good for me and would affect my ability to be the positive person I am.

One more thing. Another reason why your whole life can change after meeting someone. Because of Octave I got promoted. And because I got promoted, I met my wife (a Kodak sales rep). We were married within months of meeting, we left our jobs and moved to Rhode Island to start our recruiting business in 1977. I have been recruiting sales, sales management, and marketing talent for client companies for more than 43 years. If I never met Octave, I would not be writing this blog post which appears on my recruiting business website.

Octave, at 82, doing the thing he loves most of all.

Pandemic Pandemonium: A Germaphobe Optimistically Looking Ahead to Coronapalooza

From time to time I will post articles written by others.

The following post was written by a friend of mine.


Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA




Pandemonium + Pandemic = Pandemicomonium? 

Howie Mandel must be losing his mind.  I must confess I am also a germaphobe, but like most of us, that became a gradually phased-in kind of awareness.

When we were kids, we’d be sleeping comfortably in our beds in the winter, and my dad kept the heat at a level where you could see your breath.  My mom would give us "the wake up call" early on a Saturday morning – opening the windows to let the fresh air in, while vacuuming to get you up and she’d say “Up and at’em.”  She was a great motivator. If she was still here, she’d be bleaching everything with Clorox and doing hundreds of loads of laundry with Oxydol. The house would have more supplies than the bunker underneath Greenbriar in the 60’s. If anyone could kill a germ or a virus, it was Evelyn.

I feel like this is that Saturday morning wake up call for our world. We’ve been caught sleeping. We got lulled into the comfort of the warm bed. We needed to be shocked and awed, yet mostly our responses were confused and apathetic.

Coronavirus, ok, game on.

I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. I lived away at college.  I went to clubs in the 80’s. Long ago I changed my sons’ diapers. I may have even attended their friend’s birthdays at Chuck-E-Cheese.  My kids dropped food on the floor? Five second rule, my a$$. Ours was never the car you'd find the six year old French fry in, wedged into the crevice next to the seat belt.

I have spent thousands of nights in hotels, flown hundreds of flights and killed time seated in the nasty gate seats in airport terminals. I’ve driven rental cars and sat in the backs of New York cabs, been on trains and subways and some Ubernasty Ubers. I’ve shaken thousands of hands of friends and business acquaintances in many years of a business career.  As much as I tried to tense up my body to avoid holding the escalator side rails and the railings of the trains in airports, sometimes I had to so I wouldn’t tumble. 

I periodically take all the cards out of my wallet and wash them. Yup, it's not that OCD if you think about it. Payment portals, gas pumps, swipe, chip, do the math.

Truth is, your phone is the magnet for the germs in your life. Clean it several times a day.

I’m the guy who cleans his luggage and the bottom of my shoes - yes, it's a sickness - and cringes when I think about what might be on the bottom of my shoes after a walk down Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan or dodging pigeons outside the Duomo in Milan.

Whatever this is, it’s not getting me. I’m not going down from a virus named after shitty beer.

Luckily like most, I’ve dodged it thus far.  My son was the first one to tell me (jokingly) that Woody and Mrs. Woody (Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson) were affected, and he said, astutely, it does not discriminate.  Tom Hanks’ celebrity, wealth, and general nice guy-ness weren’t enough to dodge it. In true genteel Hanks fashion, he and his wife have handled it beautifully.

For the rest of us, it’s a bit of luck and chance.  It’s a spin of the wheel and a roll of the dice. It’s picking up the upside down orange card in Monopoly.

Of course, we must practice rigorous hygiene and repeated hand washing, be aware of contact surfaces, practice social distancing (I think most of us were doing that anyway?). 

Yes, Corona.

It’s either named after one of the tiny 1970’s models of Toyota which looked like tiny Volvos, or it’s named after a beer that people like to drink from a place where drinking the water usually results in something worse than Coronavirus.  Or, if you prefer and you're old enough to remember, the little typewriter that had the revolutionary cartridge with two strips, the black ink and the white correction ribbon. Smith Corona. Whoa, wayback.

How dirty are the limes that bartenders squish into the bottle necks – the limes that have been cut by hand, handled, and tossed in an out of the same compartmentalized strip alongslide the maraschino cherries and the lemon wedges?

Have you ever caught a glimpse of the overhead bar glasses in a pub when the sunlight shines through them? Can you say antibodies?

Maybe the beer isn’t so bad after all.

We’re viewing each other and every tactile encounter with fear.  Just watch people at an ATM or a gas pump.  Watch the octogenarians at Costco - some are terrified to touch the handle of the shopping cart.  They didn’t have a problem touching hundreds of buttons on the slot machines an hour earlier, or eating dinner at 3:00 at the buffet without the sneeze guard.

Still, some of them wear masks.  Then they pull the mask down to repeatedly circle around the glorious mecca at the intersection of aisles A and 19 where there’s a grandmotherly woman handing out samples of cream cheese and salmon on crackers. What could go wrong, it’s 4:00 now and Agnes dutifully prepared those crackers at 9 a.m.

I’ve seen people at airport bars wearing masks, pulling them down to drink from the not-so- clean class, and then touching the bottle of ketchup that’s been there and refilled and touched thousands of time since 1987, and eating with the not-so-clean fork that has that kind of scaly silver outer crust on it.  Yup, you know the one.

I’ve read the American Red Cross web site, the CDC and others and I watched political leaders doing their obligatory press conference.  It’s the equivalent of Kevin Bacon’s ROTC character getting trampled into the sidewalk saying “all is well” in Animal House.

The Johns Hopkins dashboard is one example that shows the seriousness and magnitude of Covid-19, for anyone who would rather get hard data rather than relying on your Aunt Marge’s Facebook page or the real estate and insurance people trying to get you to buy vacation property and whole life policies. U-huh, source credibility.

When you’re a data and numbers and metrics guy, you don’t buy hype or politics, but you trust the trends and the data, and what we are clearly dealing with here is a lack of leadership.

If you want to see a great example of hastily conceived, half-baked responses, just follow the messaging of state and local officials. Some of the “official dialogue” is as self-delusional as thinking the air blower to dry your hands is hygienic. Or, when they don't know what to say or how to lead, they just force an overreaction which leads to panic, and a shortage of toilet paper.

At least we don't have to worry that the college students will be toilet-papering the trees on the quadrangle. You can get good money for that bootleg Charmin.

I love how the family whose Facebook page has pictures of their kids' drippy noses and dirty feet are giving advice on managing a pandemic.

I seriously would like to see Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen (Woody has Coronavirus but Buzz does not) do a brainstorm session on toilet paper supply chain or a design charette on rethinking toilet paper.  I bet the redesigned toilet paper would look better than Musk’s “pickup” truck.

Suddenly the Kardashians seem even less interesting.   There might be a petition circulating for extended quarantine for them. They are just another group of people home from work, scuffing around the house in their bunny slippers (or their Yeezy shoes) in a daze, bathrobe-clad, like Will Ferrell after being hit by the tranquilizer dart (by the guy who was Stifler in American Pie) in Old School.

It's time for some good old-fashioned, bold American passion and creativity.

Let’s put Charlie Sheen, Keith Richards, Dennis Rodman and a few other wild personalities in a Sam’s Club for 24 hours, like “Supermarket Sweep.” Reality TV. Can we get someone to do "We Are the World," "Live-Aid," "Farm-Aid" kind of music contribution? Music soothes the soul in times of crisis, but please no re-lyricked songs, "Hello Virus, My Old Friend, I've Come to Dodge You Once Again....The sounds of science."

Let’s take the political candidates and the leadership of the three branches of government and put them in a cabin with 30 days of provisions, a campfire and smores and let them iron out their differences and forge consensus.  

Maybe they'll stop the bickering.

Imagine a movie called "Don and Nancy." We had a Sid and Nancy about the Sex Pistols, but this would be far more interesting. Put them on the road in a Winnebago like Albert Brooks in Lost in America.

Let’s take all the home renovation tv show people, from Flip or Flop to Tiny Houses, and put them on cleaning up airplanes and public spaces.

Let’s put Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby in a Smartcar and weld the door seams shut. Get all the bored, idled college kids some baseball bats and let them pay money to take a whack at the outside of the car. Donate the collected money to victims' charities and awareness, or to a Coronavirus related charity. Want to take a whack at two lecherous bastards? Me too.

When this is over we need a 1970’s Irwin Allen-esque disaster movie with the feeling of Towering Inferno and Poseidon Adventure.  That kind of fear drives change. Odd how Netflix know exactly when to run Outbreak and Pandemic and pulls all the stuff you wanted to watch when you didn’t have time?

Dave Chappelle, Nikki Glaser, Sebastian Maniscalco, Chelsea Handler, and probably Eddie Murphy, too, must already be penning brilliant material. It might give SNL something to create tongue in cheek humor for. They certainly need new material.

Apparently the industrialized world can’t make enough toilet paper, we can just have CVS print off the 36 feet of receipt (with coupons for stuff we don’t buy) we each get on toilet paper, instead of regular paper.

We live mostly indoors.  This is a signal that we need to get outside more and breathe. Do something creative. Write something, draw something, paint something. Maybe everyone should paint their houses.  Clean. Get their proverbial house in order, lives in order.

Watching the local news, regardless of what state I’ve been in and I saw public officials waiting on their hands,  looking to see what the other town did or said.  The public sector was generally unprepared for this.  We’ve known about it for months.  It wasn’t a surprise. 

It’s always better to PROact than React. 

Every company feels obliged to blow out emails with a Corona soliloquy.  Thank God I heard from them, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what Auto Zone and the Tumi luggage outlet were going to say.  

When you’re in my line of work, you fix things, situations. In my case, it’s businesses, companies. Companies, like society, periodically have things happen to them that are beyond their control. This is one of those times. One of the things you learn is that time is the one precious resource you can’t get back, and organizations need to use it wisely.

The pharma companies and regulators and industry attorneys need to partner up, and speed up the regulatory approvals process and get needed medicines to market faster, rather than focusing on the legalese about the 74 maladies that can befall someone trying to lower their cholesterol.

The airline industry needs to take a breather and clean up their act, their planes, their lounges, and their protocols.

Hospitals and other institutional healthcare infrastructure is bearing tremendous weight right now.  Healthcare workers are true heroes. Let’s give them what they need, which might just be a break or a rest, or backup support.

Higher education insitutions showed just how poorly prepared they were.  It’s a major failure point in American society. They are fighting change kicking and screaming.  Degrees are too expensive, take too long, the infrastructure is aging, and the ones without endowments are failing fast. What we need is pragmatic leadership like Rodney Dangerfield's Thorton Melon from Back to School and what we get is the crusty snob teaching the class who couldn't run a lemonade stand. Repurpose those soon to be abandoned small college campuses for something productive like heathcare facilities, low income housing for the homeless, or business incubators, or new micro communities.

With the flights empty and grounded, hotels vacant, restaurants quiet, forms of transportation idled, companies empty because people are home, NOW is the time to clean, scrub, wash, sanitize, and even more importantly, manage, plan, fix, restore, prepare. And to make sure the next time something like this happens, the response is more coordinated.

Let’s use the time wisely.

Let’s share resources and work together. We don’t have to shake hands. We can fist bump, or not.

I remember advertising running after 9/11 showing streets with rows of houses clad with American flags. The lament was how America was changed forever. This is again one of those times – but this one is wrought from the iron of human persistence.

I say we hire a great graphic designer and make a universal brand/logo that shows how strong we are together and how we are conquering it.  We need a solid acronym. Make the COV in COVID something like Conquering Over the Virus. 

Maybe the logo is a fist bump or a fist pump.  We are tough, resilient, we will conquer this micro madness.

I can hear the soundtracks of the 80’s Rocky movies playing.

Eye of the Tiger.

Gonna Fly Now. (maybe reserve that one for the airline industry)

I can’t wait until this is over.  The nations of the world should mark it with a celebration.  Coronapalooza.  That would give the UN something to work on.

Whatever the news release says, when the news finally comes out that we've conquered this monster, it has to be narrated by Morgan Freeman.

Because regardless where you are, where you’re from or how you were affected, it’s the closest thing to any God’s reassuring voice.

Which is what we really need to hear right now.


Paul Fiorvanti, Managing Partner of Qadent Management Services, LLC, is a transformational CEO and proven leader.

Paul is founder and Managing Partner of Qadent Management Services, LLC, a Florida-based interim CEO management firm, where he serves as Managing Partner. Paul is a proven leader with extensive experience in CEO, COO, CFO, CRO (Chief Restructuring Officer) and president roles across myriad industries. Qadent specializes in financial and operational business realignment and driving improvements in KPI’s, including, but not limited to EBITDA. Paul’s emphasis is on careful management of stakeholders and special situations.

Among Paul’s recent accomplishments was leading, as CEO, the complex turnaround of a private equity-owned global CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organization) in the pharmaceutical services space, one with nine global operations employing 1,900 people and generating $350 million in revenue, producing a mix of API (active pharmaceutical ingredient), oral solid dose, sterile fill and finish, and pharmaceutical packaging products and services. Paul’s leadership took the company’s EBITDA from negative 45,000.00 USD to a positive $30 million USD, and in less than one year, he stabilized and returned the company to profitability while managing banking relationships, key customer relationships, ensuring regulatory compliance, driving resource efficiency and operational excellence in the process.

Paul works across a variety of industries and situations, leading businesses through dramatic transformation and change.

He is available to consult on a long or short term basis, in interim or long term assignments.

Paul and Qadent offer complimentary initial consultations which can be scheduled on the Qadent web site.


Paul can be reached at:

Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA

Cell (401) 536-8000