Many of you knew Donna Pearson very well. This is most likely because Donna was truly a “hands on” owner and one of the hardest working owners around. She was passionate about her business. She loved her staff dearly. She loved interacting with clients and temporary employees alike. She thrived on the challenges of owning a business and thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the staffing industry. Donna made a lasting impression on all who knew her and she inspired and motivated many. Her life story is one which will leave me forever in awe.
Donna was born in 1941 at the end of the 2nd World War. She was one of four children. Throughout her school years she established herself as a leader and became Secretary of her class during her freshman and sophomore years at Cabrini College. Donna left college at age 21, married and began raising a famliy. During her time as a full time mother she was involved with numerous volunteer activities including PTA. Little League, Boy Scouts and she acted as Director of the CCD program for her church.
After 16 years of marriage Donna was faced with a divorce which left her 100% responsible for the rearing of five children, the youngest being four years old. She had to enter the workforce at age 41 with slim to no work experience. She was the sole provider for the family. She was dangerously close to welfare’s door. Her skills were limited but her confidence never wavered. She was fired from her first position for speaking her mind when she was asked to do something she felt was unethical. She obtained a position as Customer Service Representative, and her natural ability to lead moved her into a management position within 6 months. She oversaw 6 employees and developed the skills necessary to move into a placement counselor position with a national staffing firm in 1981. Donna was responsible for sales, placements, servicing, recruiting and formulating business strategies for the company. She increased sales 600% in 10 years and proceeded to take the office to rank of number one within the national corporation. She worked hard and she worked long hours. A college degree was mandatory for her children and she was determined to send all five – and did.
In 1992, Donna realized she had achieved success in her career but had very little retirement options with her current employer. She then decided to enter into a partnership with a co-worker and open a staffing firm of her own. She used her home as collateral for a loan in order to cover the first year of business. In her first year she achieved $2M in sales in temporary placements with a staff of two-herself and a receptionist. By the end of 1994, she had ten employees in the temporary division and she was able to negotiate with the bank to use her receivables as a line of credit and remove her home from the note.
In 1994, Donna realized that the partnership of the current company was not compatible and she proceeded to open her own office under the name of Contemporary Staffing Solutions. The additional four offices were opened in order to strategically serve the Delaware Valley and her children entered the business at this time. Each child was required to open and run an office learning the industry from the ground up. Each was given a budget and quota. The struggles Donna overcame as a family unit with her children truly laid the foundation for the business team they became. Donna often said that the hardest business decision she ever made was to bring her children into her company. Donna loved working with her children, she was so very proud of each of them. She enjoyed working side by side with them, sharing successes and working through challenges together. She sought to achieve and reach for the top in her own career and encouraged her children to have goals and always seek to achieve them. She would tell them, each year ‘do better than the year before each month do better than the month before, each day do better than the day before.” Donna’s confidence in herself and her children was unfailing. She truly believed anyone can do whatever they wanted as long as they planned for it and were willing to work hard. As many of you know, Donna achieved numerous awards and honors as owner of Contemporary Staffing Solutions for her business successes as well as her commitment to community service.
Donna’s remarkable life was ended much too soon after an 11 month battle with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Her legacy will live on through her children whom she taught so well in lessons of life and business. The principles that Donna founded this company on will always be the basis of this organization. Hard work, sincere relationships, ethical business practices… exceeding expectations. We will continue to stand out as an independent staffing firm among our competitors and provide the higher level of service you are accustomed to from our organization.
At Donna’s funeral her children were deeply moved to see literally hundreds of clients, temporary employees, vendors, business partners and competitors pay their respects. It seemed as though each of them had a unique story to tell about Donna. Thank you for sharing these kind words and personal stories, and for your expressions of sympathy to our family. Thank you again to all who became bone marrow donors as a result of the Friends of Donna Pearson Bone Marrow Drive. Contemporary Staffing Solutions is committed to continue our support for finding a cure for Leukemia and other blood related diseases through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We recently co-sponsored the annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Ball of Philadelphia. We are also proud to announce that Mike and Dave Pearson will be running in marathons for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the name of Donna this year.