Executive Director for St. Vincent De Paul Inspires Other Employers

Jeff Conroy, executive director for St. Vincent De Paul, encourages all of his employees to have a voice in how the company is run.

Jeff shared his principles of operation at the February Partners in Business event in Post Falls. A record number of attendees came to hear him discuss his Vinny University.

Jeff Conroy

Jeff Conroy

New employees at St. Vincent DePaul attend Vinny University which includes a 12-week course inspired by the book, ‘The Disney Way’ by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson. Jeff shared some of the original success principles in the book including ‘having fun.’

After employees complete that course, they move to an 8-week class called “Creating Magic” taken from a book with the same name written by Lee Cockerell. Jeff’s motto is “Don’t be acceptable, be exceptional!”

Jeff’s employees are called ‘team members’ and they have a voice in the operational improvement of the organization. In addition, they have developed their own incentive plans. When problems occur, the issues are brought to the ‘Breakfast Club’ (think tank) for ‘story boarding.’

Janet Brock, executive administrative assistant for St. Vincent De Paul, said, “The ‘Disney Way’ is about the rules and regulations, codes of conduct and team building principals. The ‘Creating Magic’ training discusses how to make it work.”

Janet Brock

Janet Brock

When asked what she liked about working for St. Vincent, Janet said, “Even though I don’t work directly with the guests, I know that I make a difference. No matter what department you work in, we are a family and it takes everyone to make it work.”

Janet is a member of the ‘Breakfast Club.’ The eight club members each represent a team of employees. “When a concern or problem arises, it is brought to the Breakfast Club member. All concerns are confidential. We as a team come up with the great ideas to solve the problem.”

St Vincent DePaul has helped a growing number of homeless and near homeless people and Jeff insists that they should always be treated like guests, not clients or customers.

St. Vincent refers their “guests” to the Department of Labor for job search, resume guidance and one-on-one assistance.

For more information about Kootenai County Partners in Business, contact Stacey Hanlon at 208-457-8789 ext. 3947.

— Vicki Kunz, Kootenai County workforce consultant