Fr. Chris

Tell me about your path to RS. In January of 2016 I wasn’t sure where my life was going. I’d left JC Penny after 31 years in May 2015 and I was at a bit of a loss. One day I was shopping at Cosco with my wife and I received a text from a friend asking if I knew anyone who was experienced in recruitment. I said, “Yes me.” We set up a meeting with Fr. Justin and I accepted the role of Operations Director for RESOLVE Staffing, a for-profit social venture being pioneered by RS at 31st and Troost. 

What does RESOLVE Staffing do? We provide cashiers and food prep’ cooks for concession stands at the Royals. So far we’ve talked to and recruited 270 people and put them into our data base. We now have 120 people who are fully certified and employed by us on a regular basis. 

How do you find people? Through working with social services networks in the KC area. Many of the Moms who drop of their kiddos at Operation Breakthrough across the road from RS are now working with us. We’ve also put up fliers in the RS Cafe and because we’re open everyday people come in and inquire. Many come in for the medicine cabinet, the food pantry or other services offered by RS and they hear from the staff about our job opportunities. My team then inducts them into the process.

How did you recruit your team and who are they? My team have come up through the organization of RESOLVE Staffing. They are people we’ve recruited, who have worked the concession stands and understand the processes we’ve put in place.

So you are identifying team leaders and training them? Yes. We train them to work directly with applicants. This includes recruiting, induction, training and getting them ready for the work. They take telephone inquiries and identify the skill sets we need. The team also works on ideas for creative recruiting and networking to get the word out. We mostly recruit in the Troost neighborhood, some beyond. Our aim, through RESOLVE staffing is to promote self-sufficiency in the lives of RS clients and others within the Troost community

Tell me more about your background. I grew up in a Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee and graduated from Madison with a degree in journalism. My career at JC Penny began in college and I continued working with them after I graduated until I left in 2015. I mostly worked in store operations. My last position for them was Operations Manager leading a team of 250 people.

In the 90’s I went to seminary and I was ordained a Deacon in 1996. In 2002 I was ordained as a Priest and I currently serve locally at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. I had been fortunate to experience very little conflict between my faith and the values and beliefs of my work life at JC Penny. The corporate culture of JC Penny was values led and family orientated. Mr. Penny was a family man and a man of faith. His original store, opened in 1902, was called “The Golden Rule Store.” The name was based on the value of treating everyone the way you want to be treated. The culture that we are creating at RESOLVE Staffing is very similar. It’s a culture where people experience being treated with honor and respect. 

What are your goals for RESOLVE staffing? Our aim is to provide our business clients with an excellent service. Through our values and leadership style our aim is to build a work culture that helps people to develop. We want to find ways to help people reach their own goals and to thrive. Work gives people a sense of self respect and when they honor that work they are honoring their themselves. So, we hold people accountable to standards and performance levels in a positive, caring and nourishing culture.

Who have been the major influences in your life? Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of General Electric - his visionary leadership informed me. Steven Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People People,” was transformational for me regarding process. I’ve taken pieces from other influential sources here and there, but it is really my priestly life that informs my practice.

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Story: Lyn Morse-Brown
Photos: Tom Morse-Brown