something I was taught to do by my father and grandfather.
They were such wonderful role models and stewards in their
community, involved in countless boards and nonpro;ts, and
they are generous in their charitable contributions and participation in several larger capital campaigns. We want our
local communities to thrive. In fact, if employees volunteer
during business hours, we comp them for their time. We believe it’s that important!
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
I see sta;ng and talent development as an ongoing challenge for us in the next ;ve to 10 years. The average age of
the workforce in our industry is 55, so our strategy will be to
make sta;ng a year-round process instead of only tackling it
on an as-needed basis. We need to be proactive about getting
more young professionals into insurance. It’s a great career,
and there are so many job opportunities within the industry.
HER FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK
Find Your Why (Portfolio, 2017) by Simon Sinek. It’s a quick
read that talks about how we are all entitled to wake up in
the morning inspired to go to work, feel safe when we’re
there and return home ful;lled at the end of the day. Find
Your Why is a step-by-step guide to help you identify your
purpose and put you on a path to long-term success and ful-;llment.
Desda Moss is managing editor of HR Magazine.
increase Retention, which will ultimately grow the bottom
In a leadership role, it is so important to continuously
coach, reward and be clear with employees about the big
picture. If I do those things well, motivation will remain
high, and that’s exciting to me as a business leader.
LEARNING AND GROWING
For the past three years, I’ve worked with an executive coach who has helped me become a better
leader. I’ve learned about the importance of positive reinforcement [and] how to build commitment, set clear expectations, capitalize on coaching moments and practice “humble inquiry.” I’ve
also stayed on top of trends in HR. For example,
gone are the days of the annual performance review. Today, it’s all about having individualized
development plans and providing continuous
I am an active member of the Greater Portland
Institute of Family Owned Business (IFOB)—a
wonderful nonprofit created for the benefit of
Maine family-owned businesses. Through that
association, I’m also active in its a;liate chapters,
NextGen and Women in Family Owned Business,
and I serve on the program committee and help
the IFOB select more than 40 educational classes
to o;er to its members. I love to share knowledge and help
inspire people from other family-owned businesses.
ā Hire for attitude, train on aptitude. Aptitude can be
taught, but you can’t change a person’s attitude.
ā Be transparent. Employees want to hear from the lead-
ership team as often as possible, so ;nd ways to engage
and communicate with others often.
ā Do more listening and less talking. The art of the hum-
ble inquiry is a skill. Ask questions of genuine interest to
get a better understanding of your co-workers as people.
Be empathetic and have a good listening ear. You don’t
need to solve every problem, but try to understand others’
feelings and perspectives. Let them know that you know
where they’re coming from.
ā Never doubt the power of the handwritten thank you
note. Recently, I’ve made it a personal
goal to do more to recognize my co-work-
ers, clients and carrier partners for
One of our core values
is giving back to our
community. It is
Dottie Chalmers Cutter and her cousin Jim are the fourth
generation to run their family’s insurance business.