2016 Women in Business Kick Off Luncheon
TOP 10 LESSONS LEARNED
My Top Take-Aways from 40 Years in Business
by keynote: Linda Rosanio, COO Vsblty
10 Things Every Business Leader Should Know
The following are excerpts from a speech by Linda Rosanio, Chief Operating Officer of Vsblty and former CEO of The Star Group, at the Greater Northeast Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Luncheon on September 29 at the Pen Ryn Estate. The luncheon was the kickoff for the Chamber’s Women in Business Conference to be held April 27, 2017.
Along with two partners, I started my own ad agency in 1985(?) and we eventually grew to be one of the largest woman-owned marketing communications firms in America. Thinking back over those exciting, even adventurous years, I learned a great deal from many people and many experiences. I would like to share 10 key things I learned and that every business leader should know.
1. Build a Strong & Ownable Culture. In our business, people have always worked long hours. It is the nature of the beast. Staff does so because they love what they do, and an important part of that love is the company’s culture.
A culture that includes two-way communication, being generous with an encouraging word and with deserved praise, and recognizing and rewarding achievement and, especially advancing people from within.
We were the most successful when we were true to our culture and we protected it. That became increasingly more difficult the larger we became. So, beware of the new hires that can crush your culture.
I also learned that culture can be a moving target. In my working lifetime, I have worked with Baby Boomers, who thought they would own the world…GenXers, who knew they would own the world…and Millennials, who wonder what the heck is happening to the world.
2016 Kick Off Luncheon Presenting Sponsor:
2016 Kick Off Luncheon Executive Sponsor
Wesley Enhanced Living
In 1985, as a 12-year veteran of the media and advertising agency world, Linda Rosanio co-founded what would become the Star Group. Over thirty years, Star grew to be one of the regions largest privately held marketing communications firms with almost 300 people and offices in five states with a roster of Fortune 500 companies. Star Group was one of the largest Woman Owned businesses in marketing nationwide.
Linda always believed in giving back to the community. She and her staff contributed great work to dozens of philanthropic groups over the years such as the PA Ballet, The American Red Cross, United Way, Eagles Fly for Leukemia, to name a few.
Star’s entrepreneurial culture incubated, over the years, business units and start-ups that grew the company’s vertical areas of expertise, and in some cases, created great companies in their own rite. Star’s proximity to Atlantic City gaming spurred the creation of a company within the company that focused on casino and lottery gaming both regionally and then nationally as gaming spread throughout the U.S. Branded as Media and Marketing Group, it became the top agency in the U.S. in this industry.
Floorgraphics, the company that invented decals on supermarket floors, was incubated within Star and went on to become an 80-million dollar company. Margaritaville Shrimp was an idea born out of a conference room brainstorm that Linda and her team helped launch into what has become Margaritaville Foods today. In 2014 Linda decided to evolve the company and prepare for a succession plan by splitting the company into it’s Entertainment, Life Sciences, and Shopper-Marketing and Retail. Linda signed a term sheet with an Atlanta based private equity firm to sell off a portion of the gaming part of the company. In the midst of the final stage of this carve out, her commercial bank of 9 years took questionable actions that ultimately killed the deal, forcing Star to close within days of its 30-year anniversary.
Since then, Linda has had to rebuild, and is involved in 4 start-up companies, including two with both her daughter and son that have a marketing and music company respectively.
She also serves as Chief Operating Officer of VSBLTY™, a cutting edge technology that provides motion graphics in glass surfaces such as supermarket coolers and retail displays. This technology deploys cloud based FacialAnalytics™, capturing data such as gender, age, ethnicity, dwell time and mood state to better inform CMO’s in today’s hyper competitive point-of-sale wars.
Linda has seen it all, but is most proud of the success she sees today among the hundreds of “students” that started or built their careers from these various businesses that allowed them to learn and advance professionally.