IFA Honors Nikki Sells Of Express Personnel Services

Nikki Sells has just been recognized as the 2005 recipient of the IFA's distinguished Bonnie Levine Award. The annual award honors individuals who further the cause of women in franchising. Sells, who is vice president of franchising for Express Personnel Services, in Oklahoma City, was presented the award during the recent IFA 45th annual franchise convention.

"It's all about the journey," said Sells, a former school teacher, who has been vice president of franchising since January 2004 after being a longtime franchisee in the Express system. "To me, there's no such thing as a destination and this is where my journey has fortunately taken me. I've had a lot of wonderful opportunities and mentors along the way."

Sells attributed the success of the Express office run by her and husband Robert to simply fulfilling the Express philosophy "to help as many people as possible find good jobs by helping as many clients as possible find good people."

"We like to help people. We like to see other people succeed," Sells said. "Our franchisees are very success-oriented people by nature. We all believe in what we are doing and I think that makes all the difference."

Sells said Express has a strong record of women playing key roles in its operations.
"We have a lot of women in leadership," she said. "Almost half of our vice presidents are female. How many companies can you say that about? I don't perceive us to have any type of glass ceiling. Being a female has never been a detriment in this company."

Express Personnel Services is one of the nation's largest companies with $1.3 billion in sales in last year and nearly 500 franchised offices in four countries. The company has ambitious growth plans as Sells settles into her second year as vice president of franchising. Express expects to award 120 new territories in 2005 and the company is looking to double in size by 2009, growing to 900 locations and $4 billion in revenue.

Nearly 300,000 people are employed each year by Express and the organization has a client roster of more than 75,000 companies. About 70 percent of Express associates are eventually hired as full-time employees.

"The staffing industry is a growth industry and Express is leading the way," Sells said. "We have a focus on sales, service and growth and believing we can do it."

Sells has simple advice for other women looking to aspire to the goals she has attained.

"Look at every opportunity. You have to be a risk taker," she said. "Every time a door closes, a window opens. You have to be in position to take advantage of that opportunity."

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