Women's council recognizes
Peregrine Leadership Institute
Olin O. Oedekoven, Ph. D., president and CEO of Peregrine Leadership Institute
of Gillette, receives the Wyoming Council for Women's Issues Summit Award
for family-friendly business practices during Governor Matt Mead's Business
Forum in Cheyenne on Nov. 15.
CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Council for Women's Issues presented its second Summit Award of 2011 to Peregrine Leadership Institute of Gillette during Governor Matt Mead's Business Forum on Nov. 15 in Cheyenne. The forum was the 29th annual Wyoming Forum coordinated by the Wyoming Business Alliance and Wyoming Heritage Foundation.
Nominated by Melissa Noah and other employees for the company's family-friendly atmosphere and significant efforts to broaden, strengthen and support the workforce, Peregrine mentors, teaches and coaches leaders, including international clients in Tunisia and Canada. Olin Oedekoven, president and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the institute, including Clifford Knesel Jr., vice president, and Deborah Robbins, chief operating officer. "Cliff, Deb and I are honored and deeply humbled to be recognized by our great team for creating and sustaining a family friendly workplace environment," he said. "One of the core operating principles we teach during our leadership development workshops and personally strive to practice is to 'take care of your people.' Quality employees are the lifeblood of our organization and we focus daily on ensuring that their personal and professional goals are realized. A wise mentor once said that the visual must match the audio. At Peregrine Leadership, we strive to ensure that our actions to support our employees are aligned with our stated core values."
In making the presentation, WCWI Employment Opportunities Committee Chair Pamela Downing mentioned Peregrine's flexible scheduling, allowing employees to set work hours that meet the demand of their families; the ability to work at home as long as work commitments are met; the adjustment of work schedules over time for different seasons or needs in life; and even welcoming the children of employees in the office. "It is not uncommon to see toys and children around the office...Room has been made for port cribs and toddler toys in the different office spaces. The board room is just as often used for snacks, movies and coloring as it is for meetings. This enables employees to reduce child care and give their children the parental attention they need," Downing said, quoting from Noah's nomination.
During maternity leaves, employees are paid their full salaries, even though the company is small, and employees facing severe illnesses are offered the same flexibility as parents. Downing also quoted from a letter by employee George F. Haines III, whose previously diagnosed cancer metastasized, requiring 300-miles round trips every two weeks for chemotherapy, and then the same round trip "for 25 straight days for radiation." He wrote, she said, "that without the assistance of Olin Oedekoven and Cliff Knesel, I could not have addressed my health needs, continued to work and kept things at home as stable as possible during this trying time."
Also supportive of military families, Peregrine has implemented a variety of programs, hired military spouses, provided technology to facilitate communication and allowed communication during work hours if necessary. Jessica M. Johnson, who was employed by Peregrine in 2006 while her husband was deployed, wrote that she was able to bring her daughter to work, set up a bed for her nap, put toys in an empty office, be with her husband the entire length of a two-week holiday return, take a leave of absence when that first deployment ended and take another two weeks off to be with him prior to a second deployment to Iraq. This time, she brought two children to work, and Peregrine even paid for her to fly to California to surprise him upon his return. "The Peregrine Leadership Institute is one of the most amazing businesses I've ever worked for. The company has the attributes of being ethical, commitment to being a team and devotion to employees and their families," Johnson said. "It's nice to know that I don't have to choose between my career and my family...I can have the best of both worlds while employed with the Peregrine Leadership Institute."
Other Peregrine policies include providing laptops for employees, server technology that allows employees to remotely access Peregrine information, creative meetings, fun activities, support of causes important to employees through in-kind or monetary donations, opportunities for spouses or other family members to travel along on business trips and more.
According to Oedekoven, business leadership is about recruiting and retaining talented people. "If our workplace culture retains talent, all the better to make our company more successful. Creating and sustaining a workplace environment such as ours is not hard, nor costly. It's really just a matter of truly caring about our emplyees and ensuring that their needs are met so that they can meet the needs of the organization."
WCWI's Summit Ward recognition of Peregrine Leadership Institute follows its April Summit Award presentation to Andi Clifford, manager of human resources for Wind River Casino in Riverton. WCWI is supported by the Wyoming Business Council. For information about the Summit Ward, or for a 2012 application, contact Annie Wood at the Business Council at 307-777-2844 or email@example.com.