Sally Mainquist, a veteran accountant and small business owner, recently learned through an informal employee survey that seven of her 39 workers have a parent or in-law suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“A fellow business owner I know was asking, ‘What’s next?’” she said last week. “He’s a friend and competitor. Three young kids and now his mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”
Mainquist has a clue. Her mother, Jo Ann Sullivan, died in 2009 at age 76, after 13 years with the disease.
Mainquist considers herself fortunate because she and her five siblings were able to help their dad care for their mom for years.
“We kept her at home for as long as possible,” Mainquist said. “And nursing homes are so expensive.
“It gets to be so emotional,” said Mainquist, recalling with a tear the cheery, smart mom who was the heart of her big Iowa family. “It can be overwhelming, emotionally. It gets so that their bodies are there but not their minds. Of the top 10 diseases, this is the only one without a cure.”
Jo Ann Sullivan, Sally Mainquist’s mother, died in 2009 after 13 years with Alzheimer’s.
I believe Alzheimer’s robbed my Grandma Josie of her warm personality. In the early 1960s, when I was 9 or 10, my parents took in dad’s ailing folks. I was confused by grandma’s increasingly disheveled state, her confusion and the harsh words she spewed, on occasion, at my mom.
Dad told me to ignore it, that she had “hardening of the arteries.”
I saw the World War II sergeant break down a few times over his mom’s worsening confusion, anxiety and anger.
Alzheimer’s is a growing issue for families, employers and government, which today pays much of the health care tab for the elderly through Medicare and Medicaid.
“I’m not a big one for more laws, but I’m for employers being more empathetic toward employees facing these issues; listening, support groups, education,” said Mainquist, co-owner of Veritae Group, which provides companies with contract financial professionals.
Co-owner Kris Larson also lost a grandmother to Alzheimer’s.
Two years ago, Mainquist went on the board of the Minnesota chapter of the Alzheimer’s Impact Group (alzimpact.org), which raises funds, shares information, works with employers and more.
The two owners tell their people to take the time they need to deal with family issues. However, even though Veritae pays salary and benefits and payroll taxes, its employees technically are contractors who take assignments at their discretion. Not every employee or employer has that luxury.
Regardless, Mainquist and other employers have found it’s smart to support employees and help them tap Alzheimer’s-related resources.
A few years ago, I wrote about Tom Allen, then 61, who quit his job as executive director of a small nonprofit to care for his wife, Julie.
Allen worked part-time as a janitor and joined a caregivers support network that helped him navigate the health care system. He sold the family home and moved with Julie to a senior citizen building.
Allen found help through ACT on Alzheimer’s (actonalz.org), a volunteer-driven Minnesota organization that studies related issues and explores economical and innovative initiatives to help caregivers, affected families and taxpayers. By keeping patients living independently as long as possible, ACT on Alzheimer’s says that we can avoid some of the huge family and public costs of institutional living, which can easily run $10,000 monthly at private or public expense.
ACT on Alzheimer’s is supported by businesses, community groups, the Alzheimer’s Association and concerned individuals. It seeks to make Minnesota communities more sensitive to those suffering from dementia and their families.
It’s likely that each of us will be affected in some way by Alzheimer’s during our careers. Resources are increasingly available to help along the journey.
The Business Journal's 18th annual Best Places to Work awards honor 65 Minnesota employers for creating and maintaining engaged workforces.
Aug 26, 2016, 5:00am CDT
No. 1 Small: Veritae Group
Top local executive: Sally Mainquist
Minnesota employees: 38
Business: Provides accounting and finance professionals for interim executive staffing and project services
City: St. Louis Park
WE ASKED CO-FOUNDERS SALLY MAINQUIST AND KRIS LARSON:
Will you be hiring to increase your staff in the next six months? Yes, we expect a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in the next six months.
What’s a question you ask every job candidate, and what do you want to hear? “What do you most enjoy doing?” There is no wrong answer to this question, as it helps us make an excellent fit for our clients!
What are three reasons your employees love coming to work in the morning? Flexibility, variety, valued
How do you plan to raise your BPTW score next year? More frequent feedback from our employees and continued increase in community involvement opportunities
What’s the hardest part about being a BPTW, while also focusing on keeping the business growing and profitable? It’s not hard! It’s the right thing to do and easy when you have good people. Our motto is: Work hard. Be nice. Earn trust. So fits right in!
FROM THE QUANTUM SURVEY:
What specific programs or actions has your company implemented to make it a BPTW? At Veritae we enjoy a work environment aligned to our skills and schedules: Some partners enjoy the summers off to spend time with their family, others prefer to work a full-time schedule — individual needs come first. Veritae’s loyalty bonus of [about] 10 percent of pretax earnings goes back to qualified employees at the end of each fiscal year as a way of saying thank you. Community involvement, such as the upcoming event with the Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital where Veritae is hosting a movie night with kids at the hospital so they can feel like normal kids for a while. We have been asked to bring family members if we want, as well, making it extra special for everyone!
Star Tribune – Sunday November 8, 2015
Kris Larson and Sally Mainquist, founders of Veritae Group, are on pace for $4 million in revenue this year.
Investing "in people" propels Veritae Group
Sally Mainquist and Kris Larson, veteran accountants and placement-firm executives, really meant business when they started their Veritae Group last year, after leaving Certes Financial Pros in 2013 after many years of executive service.
It also helps to be veteran head hunters in a growing economy.
"Veritae is headed for revenue of $4 million this year," Mainquist said, well above expectations.
“I always say, ‘We are just helping our friends out and every now and then we get paid,’ ” Mainquist said. “Our boutique business focuses on leadership-level accounting and finance professionals. So, we never know when a person will be a client or a contractor. It’s the same pool of people. And our business model allows us to share more of our bill rate with our contractors.
“We invest in people, not brick-and-mortar. Our people are outstanding, and we have nearly a 90 percent ‘fill rate’ when a client calls looking for help; this is unheard of … with all the competition out there.”
Mainquist added that some clients also appreciate that the partners donate 10 percent of profits to local charities and discount their placements for nonprofits such as Greater Twin Cities United Way and St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development.
Veritae Group today announced additional investments in the Twin Cities market. First, recruiting veteran Rhonda Wirtz has joined their team as V.P. of Recruiting. Wirtz will lead the execution of the company’s talent sourcing strategy and build Veritae’s consulting partner relationships, ensuring clients have access to highly skilled interim accounting and finance leadership. Wirtz says that she is “excited to offer consultants best of class opportunities with Veritae Group."
Wirtz joins Veritae following ten years leading local recruiting initiatives for a national staffing firm. Prior to that, Wirtz has held accounting leadership roles at United Sugars Corporation and Arthur Andersen.
"We are thrilled to have Rhonda leading our sourcing strategies. Her philosophy around putting employees first, treating consultants like family, and making time to enjoy work and life, is completely aligned with our culture,” said Veritae CEO, Sally Mainquist. “Her reputation for being a driven recruiting professional who understands the market and the needs of our clients is going to be an exciting step forward as we continue to grow our presence in the Twin Cities.”
Veritae has also hired experienced staffing industry talent, Sabine Emmen and Shelly LaLiberte, Senior Staffing Coordinators; Monika Lampe, Manager of HR; Michele Dietz, Corporate Controller; and Jamie Larson, Marketing Intern. “Our back office is fully operational and poised for expansion,” according to Kris Larson, Veritae Group CFO.
Veritae Group was founded in 2013 by Sally Mainquist, CPA, and Kris Larson, CPA (Inactive), long-time leaders in the accounting and finance professional services industry who were looking to offer clients and employees a values-based culture and service model centered on high integrity and trust. With offices in St. Cloud and Minneapolis, Veritae offers accounting and finance leadership solutions, providing organizations with interim CFOs, Controllers and Project Executives.
Work Hard. Be Nice. Earn Trust.
Veritae was founded by Sally Mainquist and Kris Larson, seasoned corporate executives who have partnered in serving the accounting & finance staffing industry for the past 12 years. Both CPAs, their mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their accounting and finance peers. This includes clients and consultants, collectively Veritae’s partners.
Veritae offers interim accounting & finance leadership, providing organizations with interim CFOs, Controllers and Project Executives. “Clients utilize Veritae consultants to bridge resource and knowledge gaps in executive level project and financial leadership roles, allowing the organization time for a thoughtful hire or the opportunity to balance work-load among the executive team. Consultants, in turn, enjoy a quality lifestyle with flexible, challenging projects.”
Local support and good advice inspired the launch of Veritae in the St. Cloud market earlier this year. Mainquist and Larson’s passion for putting employees first, treating clients especially well, and giving more to others prompted them to make a career change in 2013, allowing them flexibility to be different and adopt business philosophies more closely aligned with their values. Giving is a significant part of their culture: “I’m just helping out my friends and every now and again I get paid”, Mainquist says!
Even while ensuring balance in their own lives, community involvement is at an all-time high. Mainquist sits on the Board for Center for Ethical Businesses, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota and Financial Executives International. Larson continues her support of W.I.N.G.S. for Widows, a service she founded to provide support to young widows in need of financial advice, and is a recent addition to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota’s Corporate Sponsorship Committee for The Stir.
Mainquist and Larson have received numerous accolades recognizing their dedication and success: “Top Woman in Finance - Circle of Excellence” - Finance and Commerce; “Business & Industry Award”- MN Society of CPAs; “Women in Business - Women to Watch” - Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; “40 Minnesotans on the Move” - Finance and Commerce; “Women of Achievement” - National Associate of Woman Owned Business Owners and others.
Veritae is the Latin derivative of the word “truth” which directly speaks to their business philosophy. Veritae offers a “values-based culture in which we all share. One centered on high integrity and trust.” They earn loyalty through building authentic relationships, treating people exceptionally well and focusing on the sustainability of their profession.
Sally Mainquist, Co-Founder & CEO | 763-244-8030 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kris Larson, C0-Founder & CFO | 763-244-8040 | email@example.com