Dear StratExians… a letter from Adam

My fellow StratExians,

As I slowly come out of the fog of the surprise election results, I awake with a new vigor that a vote without action is not good enough.

skyline-office-viewWhen I sit in my office, looking out at beautiful views of the city we call home, Chicago, I am left with a strong conviction that being a citizen of this amazing city has certain civic responsibilities. As I read that the murder rate has gone from a sad number to an unconscionable one, I realize that reading about it, watching it on TV and talking about it while we shake our heads in disbelief is NOT ENOUGH. This is not a West Side or South Side problem, this is a Chicago problem.

We are left with a few hard choices: pack up our bags and move away from the violence around us, complain about it and hope somebody will do something, or get involved, speak up and give back.

When we started StratEx Serves, it was under the guise of action through volunteerism. One of the many things I love about StratEx is our sense of community and our desire to make a difference, not only in the product and service we deliver to our clients, but by giving back in our community.

I honestly don’t know what to do; however, I know that we all need to get involved and do something.

One thought that has remained persistent for me is that with hope and belief that one’s life has value, a person is probably less likely to be involved in gangs or gun related activities. When opportunities are afforded to each person that allows them to have a slice of the American dream, that is one way to break the cycle.

I believe there is a strong parallel between the hopelessness that a suicide bomber feels in the Middle East that allows them to come to the decision to strap explosives on their body, and the despair and lack of opportunity that some of our inner-city youth feel that takes them to the point where they engage in gun-related vendettas.

When that hopelessness and despair become overwhelming, one might feel their life has no value — so they engage in reckless activity. Perhaps, my fellow StratExians, one answer is providing more opportunities to those who don’t see any. Perhaps this means getting more involved in after-school programs, mentoring teenagers, becoming involved in a Big Brother/Big Sister program while at the same time insisting that our city and nation make it harder to have access to assault rifles and other weapons of destruction.

I am open to your ideas. And I will lead by example. I will stand up and be heard. We can and must do our part to make our city safe for all of us. Otherwise, the alternative is to talk and complain or pack up and move. I don’t know about you, but I don’t quit and I don’t give up. Those are words that are not in my vocabulary and lessons I do not want to teach my children…

Humbly submitted,

StratEx: A Best Place to Work in Illinois 2015

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to head into the office on a Monday morning after being on vacation with my family for a week. As I wished my kids a good day at school, they expressed how depressed they were to go back. I asked “Why?”, and my daughter bemoaned, “What do you mean? Don’t you hate going back to work?” I laughed and said, “Actually, I am excited and I missed work very much. I missed everybody and am looking forward to seeing everybody.” She quickly responded “Yeah, that’s because you get to choose where you work and you don’t have to go.”

It’s true. We each make a choice about where to work, and I am grateful for every person that makes the choice to work at StratEx; the choice to be a part of our unique culture, by adding to the overall fabric of what makes our company what it is. This is what excites me to show up every day.award1

So, it’s gratifying that the rest of Illinois is finally starting to get to know what we already know: The Daily Herald Business Ledger and HRMA selected StratEx as an honoree of the Best Places to Work in Illinois award in the small business category. Out of hundreds of small business nominees, we were selected as the 9th best place to work in the state.

We are honored by the award and look forward to continuing our mission of bringing Friction Free service to the masses.
StratExians (l to r): Andrea Ljevar, Mackenzie Malloy, Dave Banaszak, Libby Hagemeyer and Madeline Skaggs

Press Release: StratEx Named a 2015 Best Place to Work in Illinois

March Madness at the Office… Embrace it!

(Expanded from Adam’s interview on WBBM Noon Business Hour)

Each year when the NCAA Tournament kicks off, figures emerge about March Madness and the huge productivity losses it causes for employers.

This statistic comes out every year, and every year I laugh because, whether it’s social media sites or NCAA Basketball, employees are going to find anything to be non-productive if they don’t want to be productive. At StratEx, we embrace it. We’re in the heart of Big10 country where there’s seven teams participating in the tournament this year. Since it is such a pull for our employees, we may as well demystify it, make it fun.

It’s only two days out of the work year, why not make it fun? We have employees that went to different colleges competing in the tournament and they can compete with one another while’s it’s on in the background of the office. They’re going to get work done that they need to get done and they’re going to have fun if they want to have fun.

In our office, employees can wear their alma mater colors, we have an office pool and TVs are around the office showing the games. They can even stream it on their computers—no need to use one of those ‘safe buttons’ to pull up a spreadsheet when a manager walks by.

The heat of the madness only lasts two days and employees are going to watch it anyway, so you might as well have fun and build company morale while you’re at it.