April Wiita, VP of Operations, Sets the Tone
On a frigid January day in northern Wisconsin, April Wiita snowshoed through the ice caves on a frozen-hard Lake Superior. Despite the cold, she finds these hikes therapeutic. “It’s hard to think of a place that is more stunning and peaceful,” said April, Working Solutions Vice President of Operations. She and her husband kayak these same waters in the summer.
April makes her home in rural northern Wisconsin, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border and only two-and-a-half hours from Minneapolis. “We love this area. It is farm country with big-city amenities close by,” April said.
April easily could have been relocated early in her Working Solutions career. “I indicated to (chief executive) Kim Houlne that I didn’t want to work remotely.” Kim had different plans for April, however. “I’ve now been working remotely for the past 11 years, and I’ve never regretted it.”
Working Solutions Is People
April joined Working Solutions in 2010 from Advanced Data Comm, which later became WS Live. A little more than a decade later, she serves as the executive in charge of the company’s network of independent agents in the United States and Canada.
“I help put the resources and teams in place on contracts and ensure Working Solutions is delivering on its promises to clients,” she said.
“As I’m sure others have said, great people are the hallmark of Working Solutions. They’ve been differentiating us for the past 25 years, and they are the reason I’ve been successful.”
Energy and Enthusiasm Fuel Success
Early in her career at Working Solutions, Kim asked April to attend a session for agents. “I saw in the sessions and was ‘blown away’ by the levels of energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “It was clear that Kim’s philosophy of managing from both the head and heart permeates the company’s culture.”
Even for a passionate workforce, 2020 presented the company with more than its fair share of challenges. “When we were asked to shelter in place, some of our clients simply couldn’t survive. Others had to adapt to working from home.”
At the same time, one of its best clients, a leading tax-preparation firm, saw an uptick in business, not due to COVID-19 but because of regulatory changes. “And we helped get creative on ways to quickly solve staffing needs in their business,” April said. It was also the U.S.’s longest tax year ever due to the extended July filing deadline. “I’m proud to say our agents passed every test.”
The pandemic also directly impacted April, who typically spent much of the year traveling on business. “I had two trips in the first half of March alone,” she said. And just as she was getting into the groove, everything came to a halt.
“Last year was surreal. I can tell you I crave getting back together with clients and agents. We greet many with hugs, not handshakes. I miss that.” Twenty-five years since its founding, Working Solutions is still growing, fueled by its upbeat team of skilled “WooHoo! Crew” agents, as they’re known.
Thanking the Team
More than anything, April believes the company’s empathetic workplace forms a strong bond with workers. She recalled traveling prior to the pandemic last year to celebrate the achievements of agents who would be leaving the company. It proved to be a joyful event of everything Working Solutions had achieved with them. “Kim even made sure we had gifts (blue and green jewelry in the corporate colors) for our agents there.”
Unfortunately, one of our most successful and beloved agents couldn’t make it to either a lunch or dinner. But that didn’t deter Kim or April. “We tried to arrange a meeting with her at a coffeehouse near her home, but even that didn’t work.”
To their surprise, the agent asked them to her house, where they reminisced and walked around the beautiful gardens in the backyard. “What a wonderful day,” said April. “I will remember it forever. I’ve never been more convinced what a special company we are. I love working here.”
A Loving Family
There is at least one thing April loves more than Working Solutions. That’s her family. She has been married for 20 years, with two daughters and a son in college. The Wiitas spend much of their time attending their kids’, volleyball, football and basketball games. One recent event was a five-hour basketball tournament, played entirely in protective COVID masks. “I can tell you those kids were resilient,” April said.
So, whether she’s trekking through ice caves or conferring virtually with clients, April radiates all that is good about Working Solutions—propelling its growth for the next 25 years.
Working Solutions is, and always has been, in the business of people.
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Director of Communications
Published on April 20, 2021
Published on April 20, 2021