My First Job: Olga Placeres

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Olga Placeres [PHOTO BY: Brian Tietz]

“I was still in high school and worked part-time at a health insurance company in Miami, typing claim checks back in 1976. The gentleman who owned that company was very caring. He traveled a lot, but every time he came to the office, he made it a point to come to me and ask about my day and what my plans for the future were.

He would come in after he had been traveling for a while and just say, ‘OK, time to stop and go for an ice cream break,’ and he’d take the six of us next door to the counter at Howard Johnson’s and treat us to ice cream in the afternoon. He would say, ‘we’re taking 20 minutes just to have fun and chat.’ That stuck with me for so many years.

I learned a lot from him, including what I would like to instill in my staff: work hard but also have fun. It just takes a few minutes to take your work hat off and have a laugh. 

It was a very responsible job and I was the youngest one on staff. I stayed with the company for four years until they moved out of town. I learned a lot there because they were open and cared to give me an opportunity, which was nice. When I left there, I was office manager and leading a team of 12 employees—all of whom were much older than I was—so I had to kick into a very responsible mode as a leader right away. But, I don’t look at it as leading. I look at it as working together to accomplish a common goal, and that’s what [the owner of the company] taught me from the very beginning: We work together, we work hard, and we have fun in a very responsible environment.

By the way, on Fridays, the ice cream outings have translated into an adult version. On Friday afternoons, [the team at Preferred Travel] has a glass of wine.”

GET SOUTHWEST FLORIDA'S BEST VIEW OF BUSINESS STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.

You May Also Like

CALL FOR DIVERSITY
With 28.2 million immigrants in the workplace, 90% of board chairs are Caucasian, and 95% of CEOs are white men.

Bridging the Gap

CALL FOR DIVERSITY: With 28.2 million immigrants in the workplace, 90% of board chairs are Caucasian, and 95% of CEOs are white men. When Nirupa...

LEADING ROLE: Leadership must be fostered, improved and empowered, says FGCU President Michael Martin.

Strategy and Tactics

LEADING ROLE: Leadership must be fostered, improved and empowered, says FGCU President Michael Martin. James MacGregor Burns, in his 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Leadership, distinguishes...

Guiding Lights

JoAnn Elardo Founder and CEO of Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery—Cape Spirits Inc. As mid-level Communist politburo leaders across eastern Europe grabbed incriminating documents from their...

“IT’S NOT JUST GOOD FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY, BUT REALLY OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY.”
—Callhan Soldavini

Bridging the Gap

"It's not just good for the LGBTQ community, but really our entire community." —Callhan Soldavini There’s a profitable demographic businesses may be missing in their...

Scott Fischer

Know When to Get Out

BEST PRACTICES: One of Scott Fischer’s fundamental business philosophies has always been to surround himself with a strong team.   Scott Fischer For almost 50...