Today marks a day for the history books here at Parker! Our Vice President of Operations, Leslie Haines, is retiring after more than 35 years at Parker! Leslie has the longest tenure of anyone who has ever worked at Parker, starting only a couple of years after Parker’s creation. So in honor of her last day, we present a very special Q&A with Leslie Haines.
When did you start at Parker?
September 1981, as a temp on assignment, actually. I remember it was for Sea First Bank on the 31st floor of the 5th Avenue Plaza building (which is still there, by the way). I had never been that high up before in my life, and I remember that at that time, women were not allowed to wear slacks in the office – it was all skirts and high heels. And though I never did, this was a time where people could and did smoke at their desks! It was a very different time.
How did you transition from temp on assignment to internal employee?
I got a call from the Parker recruiter that placed me on assignment. She asked me, “Do you want to interview for Diane’s job?” I immediately said yes and hung up… then I had to call back and say “Wait, what is Diane’s job?”
Funny isn’t it? But all in all, I ended up really enjoying my time working in an office!
Are there any stand-out moments in your time at Parker?
Hmm… I can’t really think of any one particular moment. There were so many eras at Parker, so it actually feels like I’ve worked for 10 different companies! It’s difficult to pick out just one stand-out moment.
Who do you think was the biggest impact on your tenure here?
Debbie Crandall, absolutely. Though, I will say, I’ve been fortune enough to have good bosses over the years, and many that I’ve learned things from, including Elizabeth Parker [Parker’s founder]. I’ve always managed to learn something from every person who’s walked through these doors.
You’ve interviewed a lot of people who have come to work for us, and I think that’s because your tenure makes it easy for you to identify the quintessential Parker person. What do you think are the qualities of that “Parker person?”
Curiosity and definitely flexibility. I’d also say emotional intelligence (EQ). I know that’s a bit of a buzzword, but it’s so important here. You have to suss out what to do with different people and situations on the fly – no matter your department. Introverted, extroverted – doesn’t matter – you should have EQ because you’re always interacting with people here every day.
What do you think you’ll miss the most about working?
The people – I mean, you’re my people.
What’s next for Leslie Haines?
I mean, I’ve been in the workforce since I was 16 years old, so it’s going to be a transition. I think I have to see what the retired lifestyle is like before I answer that question. I will say, I do get more time to do what I already do with my volunteer work, so that will be great.
What would you say is the mark you’ve left on Parker?
What I hope I’ve left can be tied into something I’ve always said: “Don’t worry until the last minute, and the last minute won’t come.” I’ve always been the person to inquisitively think though things, to ask questions, and to figure things out… but I like to think I’ve also left my mark with my positive “it’s not over until it’s over” attitude.
I want to make sure I add value to the organization every day.
Do you have any parting words?
Do your best.
Words can’t express how much we’re going to miss Leslie, but we are so thankful for everything she’s done for this organization. The work she has done for Parker (and her wisdom) will have an impact on Parker for years to come! Thank you, Leslie, for your years of service and your wisdom. We are so excited for you as you start this next chapter!