Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Minority Entrepreneur of the Year, 2009

Floriza Genautis Named Minority Entrepreneur of the Year

by
Shandra Martinez
The Grand Rapids Press
Published: October 26, 2009

 

Floriza Genautis started Management Business Solutions just three years ago, and she’s already won a slew of awards for promoting diversity and
inclusiveness.

The latest is the Minority Entrepreneur of the Year handed out by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

“We are a big torch-carrier of diversity. I believe it’s an essential part of business,” said
Genautis, whose firm provides professional staffing for several companies including Steelcase
Inc., Meijer Inc., and Magna Mirrors, an operating unit of Magna International Inc.

Tonight, she’ll be honored with Alice Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Management Resources Inc., and Erhardt Construction at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s annual Minority Business Celebration. Andrea Harris, a national expert on developing minority, woman-owned and small businesses, will give the keynote address at the dinner, held at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining on 28th Street SE.

Commerce’s Minority
Business Awards winners

2009 Minority Business of the Year: Kennedy
Management Resources, Inc.

2009 Minority Entrepreneur of the Year:
Floriza Genautis of
Management Business
Solutions

2009 Minority Business
Advocate of the Year:

Erhardt Construction

Selected as the Minority Business of the Year, Kennedy Management Resources offers diversity training that uses interactive theater to illustrate situations and spark dialogue.

“It’s a honor and privilege to be recognized by my peers and those in the community who feel strongly about what I do,” said Kennedy, a recipient of many awards herself.

Her 12-year-old “unconventional business” has grown in this tough economy because she has expanded beyond her backyard of West Michigan into the Chicago and Detroit markets. Kennedy was surprised that even in bigger cities, her business model is unique from the competition. She not only writes and stages the presentations with actors, but leads the employee discussions at the end — something that isn’t offered by her competitors.

“I like to do it all from start to finish,” said Kennedy. “It’s my stuff, so I know what is passionate for (the clients) and what is close to their hearts, and I think I’m able to bring that out as a facilitator.”

Erhardt Construction’s use of minority contractors within the construction industry is one of the reasons the company was named Minority Business Advocate of the Year.

“We are committed to working with minority contractors in the construction industry and appreciate the recognition of our efforts,” said President Joe Erhardt. “Our commitment doesn’t end with the signing of a contract. It is important that the employees of our subcontractors find a welcoming and inclusive environment on our jobsites.”

Last year, the advocacy award went to Genautis for her work with the state’s minority-owned and woman-owned business enterprise certification process. It was one of three awards she received last year.

“I didn’t set out to be the voice of diversity, it just happened,” Genautis said.

Born in the Philippines, she migrated to California after college. She moved to her husband Rob’s hometown of Grand Rapids six years ago with their daughter Isabel.

“West Michigan mirrors the culture of what I grew up with in the Philippines,” said Genautis. The business grew out of her desire to be able to balance work and home life.

 

Defying The Odds Spurs Entrepreneur

by
Jake Himmelspach
Grand Rapids Business Journal
Published: October 12, 2009

Last year‟s advocate is today‟s entrepreneur: Floriza Genautis, founder of Management Business Solutions Inc., a customized professional staffing solutions company, has been awarded Minority Business Entrepreneur of the Year by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. Last year, Genautis was awarded the Advocate of the Year award.

“It means a ton. It means a lot. We must be doing something right, I guess,” said Genautis. “It‟s wonderful to be in a position that we could continue to advocate for what we do. It helps a lot when we‟re in a position to advertise for it, support it and advocate for it. I guess sometimes you‟re just speechless.”

Genautis said much of her inspiration comes from the nominations she receives: She said they are a humbling experience.

“My nomination last year came from somebody from supplier diversity at Magna Mirrors. She believed in our passion and our advocacy, and that really inspired me to continue to do what I‟m doing,” she said.

“I sit on an advisory board for BLEND (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Direction). This (year) was a nomination from the whole board. They later on forwarded the nomination form over to me, and I was going, “Who are they talking about?‟ I was truly honored with what they said and how they viewed me.”

Genautis was quick to point to her staff as an integral part of her success.

“We do a lot — the whole group here at Management Business Solutions. The entire team certainly supports what I do. I am not going to be anywhere without them,” she said. “They allow me to do what I need to do to be a big supporter of diversity and inclusion. Obviously, my husband and daughter are right behind me, continually cheering.”

Despite the tough economy, Management Business Solutions has experienced growth.

“We‟ve sort of defied some odds. We‟re a staffing company in this economy where unemployment is at 15 percent. Certainly, we‟re not placing two to three individuals on a daily basis; we want to be, but it‟s simply not there,” she said.

“Our business plan is a little different; we‟ve actually just added staff internally, because we‟ve been incredibly busy.”

Part of the reason for the company‟s success is its emphasis on relationships, said Genautis.

“We‟re now getting a lot more attention from our clients who we‟ve continually, consistently serviced, as well as partnered with,” she said.

“We also didn‟t delineate from what we said we were going to deliver. We want to make sure it‟s all about the relationship. Just because you don‟t have a job order from us right now doesn‟t mean we‟re not going to talk to you.

“This is actually the time we focus a lot of our efforts in making sure we support a lot of different types of opportunities to be rooted in the community. We don‟t advertise — we don‟t put any of our dollars there — but we make sure we are involved.”