Floriza Genautis is a scuba diver, she’s scaled the Great Wall of China, and admits to a fear of needles. Floriza is the Principal and Founder of Management Business Solutions in Grand Rapids. This powerful woman joins us to share her recommendations for a balanced life and her reasons to give back to your community.
>> Produced by women about women, ‘Powerful Women, Let's Talk’ is a series of interviews with women who have helped shape our community and transform who we are and how we live.
>>I’m Shelley Irwin. Today's powerful woman Floriza Genautis, she's the principal and founder of management business solutions for over 30 years of specialization in the professional staffing industry having earned her many local awards and nominations for community involvement very noteworthy much of her work dedicated to serving in the niche of diversity and inclusion of course she does leave the office to scuba dive, climb The Great Wall of China and we’ll get into why not meals that include peanut butter so welcome to this edition of ‘Powerful Women, Let’s Talk’ Floriza. Hello to you Floriza.
>> Well, hello Shelley, thanks so much for having me here this is amazing and wonderful.
>>Yes, what was it like to climb the Great Wall of China?
>>Wow, amazing tall hard I guess, I was in Beijing when I was in California, I was working with this firm a staffing company and I said you know one of my rules to join the firm is in the summer time I get to take time off so I alternate Europe and Asia and one of my trips was to go to China for 5 weeks and really enjoyed it and one of my big stop because I you know you could call it bucket list was great Wall of China.
And so I was in Beijing and my guide was going like you know I was a couple of us and saying where do you go left to go to that easy part or right to go to the hard climb and I'm like well, if I'm going to be in the Great Wall China, I'm going to climb the right side, well the right side really just doesn't have as many people and the steps were smaller in its steep and I'm afraid of heights so a certain point I’m like trying to climb there with my butt and to if I could say that to go up to that.
Amazing views and very narrow and there's segments of when you're allowed to walk that is actually like grueling like because you know over time and so you could just see things that you know, there's no safety guards in there there's no safety net so make sure you don't fall but it was amazing it was gosh it’s like a lifetime experience to to actually do that then there are certain parts of the country where you can climb that I just did that in Beijing and it was it was great back home.
>>Congratulations on your recent success.
So let's ask you first Floriza would you describe your career journey, because I know you took your first job seriously you've come a long way baby what mopping floors at KFC?
>>Yes, yes, I ah was like you know just growing up in the Philippines and coming to you know as an immigrant in in California, it was just really hard I have this awesome degree math and computer application.
One of the top schools in the Philippines, De La Salle University and I came here, you know I I knew English but it's different, you know learning versus you know having to do the application and now you know you have no safety net that I could throw in English and Tagalog into there it's all straight English and the only job I could find because nobody would hire me was mopping floors at K.F.C.
I mean I wasn't there for a long time, it's like you know it’s just that, that was the only job I could find and then of course after that I graduated to hey I got a mall job, you know. I was working at the Shoe stores, I did everything that everyone did in high school after college from a top school.
So challenges it was great it was you know it kind of builds character is what my husband always tells me but do I want to trade it probably no, but I grew up with maids in the Philippines.
I had someone doing this for me and just coming here, you just have to start from the beginning and here I am I guess since after lots of hard work.
>>Much of the upbringing the Philippines, California but we've got to get you back to why West Michigan? Fill in the blank for me here.
>>Well the snow brought me.
>>Just kidding, I actually you know, Philippines then California Silicon Valley, I was actually in Portland, my pit stop where I actually had got married, had my daughter and got engaged and so my husband and.
>>Wait you got engaged before you got married right?
>>Oh yeah. So yeah so we were our pit stop was Oregon and when we were pregnant for my daughter, I'm going my gosh our closest families 12 hours drive to California our plane ride or my husband who was born and raised in Michigan, he is a West michigander um born and raised in the Northwest side of a Grand Rapids so went to West Catholic so he's true and true Grand Rapidian and so I one day I told him I was pregnant.
I think it's probably about 5 months pregnant, I said hey, umlet's who moved to Michigan and he's like what what did you do with my wife and I'm going oh you know our closest family is just so far away and the values in West Michigan, pretty much a line to what my values were growing up when I first met his parents, his parents actually told me wow you found the one Catholic in Silicon Valley, it was it was just really funny love his parents.
They passed on a few years ago and but they lived in Sand Lake, Michigan and all his families are here in Grand Rapids and so.
>>And did you hit the ground running career-wise then?
>>No, I actually wanted to be that that was the reason we wanted to move to Grand Rapids for my daughter, so I could be a stay at home mom and first year was horrible because it snowed, it was February it snowed every day and I think the snow never melted and it keeps on climbing and climbing and climbing and we just moved here and my husbands like I think she she's going to move back to California.
So no we stayed we we stayed, we loved it here and my daughters now 17, so it’s amazing.
>>30 years of a specialization in the professional staffing industry so how do you lead Floriza?
>>How do I lead? Uh I always say by example and really just being genuinely caring as well as innovating so those are 3 things I always think off you know, we're at teaching environment and management business solutions we like to make sure that at any given point there is a teaching moment that everybody could learn from it and so that's how I
always lead by example, giving them examples of how I've done it before and I've I always said you cannot ask somebody to do something without you doing it yourself and it could be bringing down the trash and cleaning the toilet in my building, so it's you know, and and I just I think we have pictures when we bought our building of me trying to make sure it's ready for open House and either I'm painting the bar that we have on our had in our training room or I actually learned how to do the ceiling tiles just because when my contractor took the wall out they left this big gap in my ceiling tiles and they said that wasn't in the contract for you to do and I'm like I have a big gaping hole so I now need to learn how to go ahead and put ceiling tiles.
>>What’s a leadership trait you like to see in your leaders?
>>Same thing I like to see individuals that would innovate and who's also going to teach by example, and also genuinely care and I found that with you know one of my key leaders and now my business partner, Amy Marshall, who is pretty much leading by example who's such an innovative individual and truly truly you can see she cares about everybody and she as you would say emulate me and I think that was the greatest form of flattery is that you know it's not that she's imitating me but she actually picked up on a lot of the things that I did.
>>And let’s stay on that topic of building up other women how do we make that happen?
>>I think it's just very important to take a look at the individual if you connect being able to take them under your wing and at times people want to wait until they are asked and it's good to actually just reach out to them and help them out I think through the years in Grand Rapids and owning my business it's been amazing to see a lot of individuals succeed and grow in their career that you know, I've seen them when they started out and it's just amazing to to be able to serve as a mentor and serve as someone that could be there that they could reach out to you and you know, and sometimes it's just doing coffees, I’ve done so many coffees, in my day.
>>Do you take cream with your coffee?
>>Well, I wanted to but I actually just switched to tea not to long ago so I say having tea now, but I drank a lot of coffee with everybody and so it's nice I our office used to be in downtown we're right on Monroe center and uh I remember when Mad Cap opened and that use to be one of my stamp stomping ground, it's just sad to see a lot of the changes as the new normal or you know things that's happened recently in in our little neck of the woods in our area in Grand Rapids but you know we’ll rebound for a very strong.
>>And yet your business has purposefully, recently expanded.
How do you know when it's time to take a leap, maybe even a risk?
>>But that was actually something end of year or around fall we always do our strategic plan and we always talk about what's next and we've had thought of probably a couple years ago of another venture and had thought about that that our strategic plan didn't quite work out.
And this year or last year I could say is we we thought about you know we always have individuals coming to us saying could you help me out with this and the next thing is like how can we pay you for this because you're giving a lot of your time and it's helping them with their resume or career path or just helping negotiate other things or could you speak on leadership for my organization or but it's always a lot of time involved with that and so
I guess it's a way that as innovation comes we thought of this is the next step you know, we've become experts in our field and we want to make sure that we get to the next step and so during around January time frame we're thinking OK how do we launch this how do we go through the whole process and COVID hit.
And all of this time we’re going what do we do we've now pivoted everybody's working from home, we have some time because I we can't have face to face communications with our clients there's no networking which is the bulk of what I do for MBS and that's really how crossroads were, was born we were already before COIVD going through the process of designing our logo and trying to figure out how to do this and so we were able to actually pivot during that time frame and innovate how we could align and structure crossroads and MBS crossroads, a division of management, business solutions was born.
And uh we actually created the new website are actually not we refresh our Web site and then folded in crossroads with that so it was it worked out it was careful planning I think I haven't you know I talk to is Amy my business partner for a long long time when we were doing our Web site we said, let's set aside half an hour, 45 minutes and 3 hours later we’re still on the phone and so and she has 2 little kids so it's just balancing this and with my daughter being in you know 17.
She is you know home trying to get out with the whole COVID and my husband has been working from home, so just juggling and trying to figure that out and it's been very very well received and I think it launched very well and we've gotten a lot of support with like individuals like you thank you so much for that.
>> Balance, we are on a role, I want to stay on your focus, Floriza.
Uh I'm going to ask how balance plays its role in your life but having climbed the Great Wall in China, having scuba dived in Bonn air to celebrate the turn of the century, I have a feeling you might be an expert on a work hard, play hard.
>> Yes, yes, it's I think it's just growing up that's what they told you to do and especially work ethic was just really pretty much instilled and everybody my mom, my dad that's it, you know you need to really work hard and you have no choice I think when you come to a new country where English is your second language you can't find a job because you're you have a degree but you're too young all of this odds stacked against you you just really just have to work hard and I would just say I am not afraid to do what it takes to do that to get the work done.
I remember building my career in California that I needed to be at work.
I was in finance at that point I just because see know during my progression I ended up in finance, and in accounting and I was actually working from is supposed to be an 8 to 5 job but during payroll was in charge of payroll of at least 2500 hourly 3 shift differential temporary employees, so we have annual time cards and during payroll days, you notice, everybody gets paid by Friday morning because they all line up to get their check.
So Thursday night well actually could be Friday morning.
I'm there so I'm I started work at 8 in the morning and I'm probably leaving around 11:00 to 01:00AM and your salaried, but the you were just expected to do that that was the work ethic that I came to be.
I had to learn something I have to figure out how to do that I have to learn publications and think I memorize IRS number at one point because I'm keeping calling for publication and anything that I could do to learn to do that because that's what my dad told me hey you're you're working for someone to give you a paycheck you need to get the work done until you're done with it.
But for some reason things never get done at work right.
>>Successful on the job and also successful in the community are you I know co-founding women in successful enterprises and board membership with Grand Rapids opportunities for women, too many to list, but you know, where I'm going with this talk about the community advocacy that is important to you.
>> I think when individuals look at community connections and developing that relationship so you really need to gravitate to what you really care about and what you're passionate about and I've always been passionate about diversity and inclusion and helping women get themselves elevated may be for business personal or career.
So for me I’ve always gravitated to what is that makes sense to to get them to help them to get to that next step. So WSE, Women’s Successful Enterprises, I co founded with Connie Sweet, we serve on the board for Alliance for women entrepreneurs AWE from a long time ago absorbed by growth eventually, but we were there and we just noticed that there was like a little gap of what we were not seeing in Grand Rapids.
I was very involved with a certification of women in business and getting that supplier diversity be able to level that playing field I was going in the East side of the stage just grabbing a lot of this information and learning how to do things to be a business owner and I’m noticing it was missing and I mean there is a lot of opportunities in Grand Rapids but during that time it was seems to be missing a in Grand Rapids.
So I said what can we do it and I also wanted to make it fun because if I'm taking away time from my family, I want to make it fun so we we wanted to always have this component of being able to network but help individuals be able to grow their business to the next level so my connection to the communities always like that it's like what are you passionate about?
How do you connect to what you're passionate about and how do you move that forward? And so just creating opportunities for the diverse population for women in business for women in their career change and so just being involved in the community like grow I was on the board for United way you know women's Resource Center.
I mean I I think the one hard thing about that this learning to say no because we have a plethora of awesome organizations, a nonprofit that we could all support and it's just that finding what connects you and what you're passionate about then it's easy it's not worked.
>>Tough question for you remind me of why peanut butter may not be on your shopping list today, what is up with that?
>>Oh gosh, peanut butter.
Well, number one Philippines, if you love fruit, you could have it my grandmother actually forced me, I guess is what I can say sorry Grandma um well I was I was told I was to eat bananas every day because it was healthy and it's good for you so I actually eat bananas and there's so many varieties of bananas in the Philippines.
But I just got tired of that and then peanut butter I always ate peanut butter with butter so get a piece of bread put butter put peanut butter it just really sounded weird for my daughter and my husband that you eat it that way and it’s just over time, it's not I'm not a big sweet person so I just never have it they always make fun of me because they will make smoothie but they'll have frozen bananas in there, and I said I like it except for the bananas.
>>I imagine one would dispel that you're not a sweet person. Floriza share a model or recommendation of a good book for me.
>>So good book I always gravitated to you know, and it's an easy read I actually am not a reader myself I read a lot of contracts and resumes is what I tell everybody but one of the books I love reading is ‘Who moved my cheese?’ and it's really an easy read, it’s all about change.
I think it's a book I was referred to to go back because things are always changing and how do you actually go after that cheese so that you could be in that you know with that in the changing time, you don’t want to just sit and complain and have everything that just be there and then I always tell everybody my motto is that if you don't ask the answer is no.
So I everybody always asks me they're like OK, what should I do with this should I ask them? I’m like well if you don't what is the answer so it's just something that I always tell my team and everybody so my motto is if you don't ask the answer is no so.
>> Well then I’m glad I asked you on this show. Well you are an inspiration not only for your own immediate family, but for a women locally regionally nationally internationally and more so thank you so much for your time and a would you go back to the Great Wall again?
>>Oh yes, definitely maybe I'll do the easy route this time because I don't think I would have the strength to do the hard part and gravity is harder now.
>>Floriza Genautis, principal and founder of management business solutions, thanks for joining us.
>>Thank you, this is amazing
>>That does it for this edition of powerful women, let's talk, I’m Shelley Irwin.
>> Produced by women about women these powerful podcast focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live want to hear more powerful women, let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU.org or wherever you get your podcasts please rate and subscribe powerful women, let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU, its underwriters, or Grand Valley State University.