PAT CLEARY: A LEADER, A FRIEND, AND THE VOICE OF NAPEO

BY Steve Politis, Esq.

CEO
Alcott HR

December 2023/January 2024

As we approach the festive holiday season, it is a time of reflection, gratitude, and celebration. While December typically invokes thoughts of warmth, togetherness, and cheer, this year’s season holds significance for the PEO industry. It’s a season that marks the culmination of an era.

In this issue, the NAPEO community would like to share a tribute to someone who has been a light, friend, and advocate for our industry – Pat Cleary. As we bid farewell to Pat, who is retiring from his role as President and CEO of NAPEO, it is only fitting to acknowledge his journey and impact on NAPEO and the PEO industry as a whole.

We have worked with Pat for the last 12 or so years. Our paths first crossed in an unassuming setting at the infamous “haunted” Argonaut Hotel at the Wharf in San Francisco during a NAPEO board meeting. Pat’s tenure as the head of NAPEO has been marked by transformative change. The organization has grown immensely under his leadership, and a significant part of this growth can be attributed to his decision to increase the marketing budget tenfold from where it was when he took over at NAPEO. This bold move expanded our reach, enabling us to educate and connect with more PEOs, professionals, advocates, prospective clients, regulators and legislators.

It is not just the organizational achievements that define Pat; it is the impact he has had on bridging the gap between PEOs by size and region. When Pat first arrived, it was a challenging time for our industry. He navigated those waters, recognizing the importance of unity and collaboration, regardless of type, size or location of the PEO. His efforts have led to a more inclusive and supportive PEO community, where we work hand in hand to overcome common challenges.

As Pat insists, we call his retirement a “wake;” it is a demonstration of his sense of humor. He’s not one to rest on his laurels or bask in the limelight…although Pat has never touched a microphone he hasn’t held for at least 60 minutes. Instead, he prefers to celebrate life’s milestones with a touch of levity and by reminding anyone willing to listen, or not, of his Jersey roots.

As Pat prepares to leave his role, he leaves NAPEO in a very good place. But more importantly, he’s leaving us personally, in a good place. He is not just an industry colleague – he is a friend. We have shared triumphs, faced challenges, and laughed together along the way. That is the mark of a true leader – someone who not only achieves remarkable milestones for the organization but also leaves a mark on the hearts of those who worked alongside him.

In closing, I would like to express gratitude to Pat. We are going to miss him. Pat Cleary’s legacy at NAPEO is a testament to the power of collaboration, strength of friendship, and the impact that one person can have on an entire industry.

As we bid farewell to Pat, we also welcome the promise of new beginnings and the exciting future that awaits NAPEO. Pat’s legacy will continue to move us forward, united and stronger than before.

Thank you, Pat, for being a leader, a friend, and the voice of NAPEO. We all know you will be around the industry in some capacity but want to wish you luck in the next stage of your journey.

All the best to you, Patrick J. Cleary.

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