Chameleon Group President and CEO Dana Lariviere believes everyone should have a second chance. “Our mistakes do not define us,” he says. This is the philosophy behind the sales and business development company’s decision to hire over two dozen people in drug and alcohol recovery this past year.
It all started with one of Chameleon’s own employees. “We had a woman working for us who was in all respects a good employee, but she was frequently late or absent,” Lariviere explains. “We couldn’t count on her, so we had to regretfully let her go,” he adds. The employee asked to be reconsidered for her former position a couple years later. After meeting with her, Lariviere learned she’d been unreliable because she was using drugs. The former employee had since been through recovery and was even helping others as a recovery coach. “I didn’t know anything about her addiction. I just thought she was unreliable,” Lariviere said.
“I’m a big proponent of second chances so we hired her back. This employee was hardworking and very good at her job. She eventually became a manager.”
“We believe in giving people an opportunity to change and grow. We wanted to help other people like her,” Lariviere says. The woman put him in touch with Bonfire Recovery Services in Dover, New Hampshire. “It really was a win-win situation. These people needed work and we needed employees,” he says.
As part of the hiring program, Lariviere works closely with probation officers and the state’s Department of Corrections. To qualify for the program, workers must be 60 days sober/drug-free, and in compliance with all state probationary conditions. People with a violent past are not eligible. In addition, anyone is permanently released from the program who shows up for work while “using”.
Lariviere says these new hires receive the same rigorous training and support other Chameleon employees do, and are making valuable contributions to the company, which helps businesses around the globe increase their sales.
“This is one the best training grounds that I’ve had to be able to bring the principles that I have to use to stay sober and be well in life,” says Lucas Scarsciotti, one of four recovery program employees recently interviewed by Seacoastonline.com.
Chameleon is working with other local recovery programs to help additional people find meaningful work. “The past is the past. This is about looking forward. If you’re willing to work, we’re happy to have you.”
Lariviere says it’s a calculated risk he’s willing to take at a time when finding quality, trainable employees is so difficult in New Hampshire. “It provides Chameleon with a unique talent source to pull from,” he notes. He hopes to spread more awareness about the program, which will be highlighted at a job fair on November 17 at St John’s Episcopal Church, 100 Chapel Street Portsmouth NH.
To learn more about the hiring program, contact Chameleon.
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