HR Divas Celebrate Two Milestone Anniversaries

By Cindy McKellar and Sandra Dickerson
Co-CEOs of Your People Professionals

Hard to believe it, but we are celebrating two big anniversaries this year. Thirty years ago, in 1987, we both started working for Your People Professionals. Ten years later, in 1997, we purchased the company. So, 2017 is our 30 year anniversary with YPP and our 20 year anniversary of owning and running the company. It honestly seems like just yesterday. Until, of course, we unearthed these photos of our early days with YPP!

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1987 Timecapsule

1987 saw its share of strife and turmoil. The current events of the time included an Amtrak train crash, the Iran-Contra affair, the Unabomber bombing Salt Lake City and the Black Monday stock market crash on October 19th. Add in a typhoon in the Philippines and two different plane crashes and it’s no wonder that this was also the year that Prozac hit the market for the first time. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. Aretha Franklin finally got the respect she deserved by being the first woman to be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. The Bangles had us all Walking like an Egyptian while Bon Jovi has us Living on a Prayer. We got introduced to Johnny Depp as 21 Jump Street hit the small screen and Patrick Dempsey as he tried to buy love on the big screen. We lost the talents of Andy Warhol and Jackie Gleason as both Zac Efron and Hilary Duff were born. Source:

1997 Timecapsule

1997 brought us a couple of firsts. The US appointed its first female Secretary of State, Dolly the sheep became the first cloned animal, and golf phenom Tiger Woods climbed to No. 1 faster than any of his predecessors. Unfortunately, 1997 had a bittersweet symphony of life undertone to it. People contracted Mad Cow disease, the arrival of Hale-Bop prompted the Heaven’s Gate cult to commit suicide, and the world mourned the loss of its beloved princess when Diana Spencer is killed in a car crash while trying to flee paparazzi. Thankfully we had the entertainment industry to cheer us up. TV gave us vampire slayers, a dancing baby and wormhole travel through a ring-shaped device called a stargate. At the movies we went to our best friend’s wedding, discussed what we did last summer, became kings (and queens) of the world, and got our memories wiped by neuralyzers. Oh yeah, we also witnessed the Full Monty as we boogied the nights away. Source:

Just think, in 1987 when we started with YPP, the California Minimum Wage was $3.35/hour. In 1997 when we bought the company, it was $5.15. Now, in 2017, the California Minimum Wage is $10.50 with a path to $15/hour in 2022 or 2023, depending on the size of your business. In many ways, a lot has changed in 30 years; but so much has stayed the same as well.

Running a business in California has gotten much more complex and regulated from an HR perspective. What used to be called “Personnel” had a primary job of planning the company picnic in the summer and the Holiday party in December. Now, “Human Resources” is a critical function to the success of all businesses large and small, with a much larger focus on compliance and risk management. And while some of the strategies to achieve the results have changed, the core responsibility of hiring, motivating, and retaining the best employees to serve the needs of customers hasn’t changed. Today, as in 1987 and 1997, our people are our most important asset as business owners. And whether you call it “Personnel” or “HR”, the first priority is to be sure that our employees are well trained, motivated, productive, and rewarded in alignment with the goals of the company and the customer.

It has been such a rewarding experience for us to call YPP our home for 30 years and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. And then, in 2014, we had the pleasure of adding the staff of EW Business Partners in the San Francisco Bay Area to our work family via our acquisition of EW Partners in Pleasanton. Along the way we have made so many good friends, among both our staff and our clients. Not sure we can keep doing this for another 30 years, but we certainly have no intention of slowing down anytime soon. And so, as we reflect back, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful people we have met along the way and express our gratitude for the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people.

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