We had the good fortune of connecting with Irma Parone and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Irma, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My thoughts on work-life balance have changed tremendously. I was always so focused on work that a lot of life slipped by me (including a marriage). Although I loved my family very much, I know now that I didn’t do enough to enjoy our time together. My life also changed dramatically when my mother was diagnosed with Dementia. When we moved her to Florida to be near me, I was still traveling. Mom became very confused, which is when I gave my notice to resign from my 15 year career. I was not sure how I would handle “retirement,” but spending the last years of mom’s life by her side was the best. Yes, it was heartbreaking to see her suffer through that terrible disease; at least I did what I could to comfort her. I did soon after start my business, and when mom passed, I was at full speed again until I was diagnosed with cancer. During my treatments, I had no choice but to slow down. Work-life balance happens if you choose it or not, and my suggestion is not to wait too long to choose it, because you deserve it, and will enjoy every minute.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Irma Parone is a consultant, best-selling author, and speaker. She earned her certification in organizational development and is a graduate of the Industrial Relations Studies Program at Cornell University. For 15 years immediately before forming the PARONE GROUP, Irma held the position of Senior Regional Vice President for a large regional security company consisting of 4,000 employees within four regions. She served as the senior vice president overseeing the southeast region, including six (6) branches, 1,200 employees, and hundreds of customers. Of the 23 company branches, Irma’s team held six of the top seven awards for staffing excellence and captured the company’s best customer retention percentages. Her team also reduced employee turnover by 27%. Irma left her position as vice president when her mother, as mentioned above became ill.  Earlier in her career, Irma was asked to assume responsibility for a troubled location suffering a 51.8% customer retention rate. In slightly over 12 months, Parone and her team turned that customer retention percentage to an impressive 93%. This troubled location was at a large national security company with a workforce of over 50,000 employees. More about Irma’s personal story can be found in the international bestselling book that can be purchased at https://paronegroup.com/voices-of-the-21st-centuryIrma’s chapter, ‘Life Happens”, is an inspiring outline of what to do when life serves you lemons. Since then, Irma has undergone surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy (including baldness) for breast cancer and remains as vibrant as she ever was, never losing positivity, determination, and love of work and life. Of course, Irma said, “I have the absolute best family and friends in the world who never left my side. They certainly make a big difference. They always have, and I would guess always will.” . Irma is also very active as a member of the Coral Springs Coconut Creek Regional Chamber of Commerce; volunteers for Kindness Shared Happiness Squared and Atlantic Technical College, and speaks for JMI (Jim Moran Institute).

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Miami (city) at night, and Miami Beach during the day. And yes, there are some favorites.  She and her husband enjoy Blue Fin in Parkland, Florida, and Prime in Delray Beach, Florida.  A little south of her, they enjoy Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami, and right in their neighborhood Big Bear Brewing Co. and Irma’s favorite specialty coffee shop Lady & The Mug in Coral Springs, Florida.  The truth is, Irma said, she would probably also invite them to a big party to meet her amazing friends. The food or coffee cannot compare, but the people – well untouchable!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people helped me grow! Of course, my parents demonstrated kindness and to always do the right thing, even if difficult. If I could be half the person they were, that is all I could ask. Although undereducated, they were the wisest people I have ever known. The boss I worked the most for, Jack Collins, demonstrated how to treat and respect employees and clients. He also showed kindness and how little things made a big difference. My last boss, Len Kline, taught me the power of measuring performance and data. As for learning about life and giving of time to those that need you, my brother and sister-in-law Jerry and Colleen Parone, my cousins Roland Pacella, Michael Nan, Peggy, Frankie, and Barbara Parone!. They spent so much of their time caring for my parents before dad passed and I moved mom to Florida. Without question Suzanne Lambert and Carol and Jay Stringer, and my husband Wayne Fritzsche helped me celebrate every holiday and birthday for mom – and so much more. I have learned so much from them all, by watching these role models demonstrate their giving, kindness, and/or knowledge that made an impact on my life.  And then my enthusiast and supporter Sunny Simon, Author of Life on the Sunny Side, and writing and speaking coach Akash Karia, speaker and best-selling author of many books!  Everyone mentioned here had more impact on me than I could ever express in this short paragraph.

Website: ParoneGroup.com and IrmaParone.com
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paronegroup/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=irma+parone

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.