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Business: A Family Tradition

An Employee’s Perspective

By: Kati Jo Barber, Regional Account Executive

Tradition has always been very important to me. The day I was born, I was given the name Kati Jo; named for both my maternal great grandmother, Katie, and my maternal grandmother, Josie. Although I’ve never met her, my house is filled with Great Grandmother Katie’s old furniture. I’ve spent countless hours in the kitchen with Granny (Josie), and we’ve even written a cookbook together. I love feeling connected to my family roots, history and tradition.


Image from The Fricassee 1947

Some of my favorite stories about Granny revolve around how much she hated school. We often joke with her about how she disliked sewing class so much that she brought her project home and had Great Grandmother Katie sew it for her. She avoided getting involved, but the one club she did join was the Distributors’ Club. She said she joined because she got to leave school early, but that meant she had to spend the second half of her day at a job. The club helped her get a job at Goudchaux’s. She worked in the sports wear department, and still remembers buying her graduation dress from the store for $17. She recently pulled out her yearbook and pointed to the Goudchaux’s ad in the back, which read, “Baton Rouge’s Most Popular Department Store.” Granny said that was a very true statement.


Photo from The Advocate

My dad was one of eight children; 6 of whom were boys. I can only imagine how much trouble they used to get into when they were growing up. Every year, my grandmother would take them to Goudchaux’s to get their school uniforms. My dad and uncles still tell stories about hiding in the racks, and poking each other with straight pins they would find in the cracks of the floors. My favorite story is when the oldest three boys, my dad included, went into the store for the first time with their new baby sister, Evelyn. Mr. Erich Sternberg offered each of the boys their very own pony as a trade if they would give him their new baby sister. The Barber boys left very disappointed that day when their mother wouldn’t agree to the trade. Years later, my dad went back to Goudchaux’s to work in the young men’s department. He still loves to give advice on clothing, so I am sure he was a great salesman at the store for his 3 years there. He was excited to tell me that within 6 months of working, he was a manager. And, his department had the second highest increase in sales after he took over. His secret to success was getting to work early every day to organize his department before opening.


When I began the interview process at Highflyer HR, I had no idea that I was interviewing at a Sternberg company. I was so excited to later find out, because I know and appreciate the impact they have had on my family, the business community, and the city of Baton Rouge. I was thrilled to accept the job as Highflyer HR’s Regional Account Executive. Every day I get to work with business owners and HR professionals to improve their human capital management processes. My background as a custom software project manager helps me to guide my clients from the decision making process through implementation of the Highflyer HR software.


It is truly an honor to work for the Sternbergs. I’ve already learned so much about business, hard work, customer service and leadership from them, and to get to work early! I am proud to be a third generation Sternberg employee. I will work hard to make not only my family proud, but the Sternbergs, too!


Active Shooter in the Workplace

Active Shooter in the Workplace

Beau Bowman, Highflyer H.R., National Director of Sales

Retired USAF Security Specialist.

Louisiana State Constable, St Bernard Parish, Chalmette La.

Louisiana State Emergency Chaplain.

Recently I attended a First Person Active Shooter Training, for the Archdiocese where I am a member. I was then asked to develop a plan for the Church Parish & School, on how to prevent and defend against this scenario. This exercise naturally sparked some thought on the issue in our workplaces. When asking clients about the issue I was surprised by how many have not planned or trained beyond calling 911. This just will not suffice, so we took some time to put some resources together to assist you in your own business plan from sources like DHS.

In many cases, there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims by an active shooter. These situations are, by their very nature, unpredictable and evolve quickly. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers free courses, materials, and workshops to better prepare businesses, schools, places of faith and any type of organization to deal with an active shooter situation and to raise awareness of behaviors that represent pre-incident indicators and characteristics of active shooters. Below are useful resources for planning and developing your training program:

Active Shooter: What You Can Do?

The 2013 Report on the National Summit on Multiple Casualty Shootings, identified five non-linear components of mass casualty violence prevention:

•       Identifying a person posing a potential threat of violence;

•       Notifying the appropriate authorities with this information;

•       Evaluating the threat credibility;

•       Intervening to prevent the threat; and

•       Documenting the intervention and disseminating the information within applicable laws and regulations

Our focus should be on the five topics above to develop a plan for active shooters.

Threat Assessment Teams

Research shows that perpetrators of targeted acts of violence engage in both covert and overt behaviors prior to the attacks. Another resource most agencies can use to identify, evaluate, and The Threat Assessment Team’s objective is to use internal agency specialists (which could include personnel from the internal security office, Office of the Inspector General, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, Office of General Counsel, etc.) to prevent violence from occurring. Members are responsible for addressing threats, confronting violent behavior, and assisting in assessing potential for violence. TAT members consider, plan, prepare, share, and, in some cases, move on to action. The TAT serves as a central convening body that ensures that warning signs observed by multiple people are not considered isolated incidents and do not slip through the cracks, as they actually may represent escalating behavior that is a serious concern.

Know the Warning Indicators

Some people commit violence because of revenge, robbery or ideology – with or without a component of mental illness. While there is no way to predict an attack, you can be aware of behaviors in coworkers that might signal future violence:

·      Excessive use of alcohol or drugs

·      Unexplained absenteeism, change in behavior or decline in job performance

·      Depression, withdrawal or suicidal comments

·      Resistance to changes at work or persistent complaining about unfair treatment

·      Violation of company policies.

·      Emotional responses to criticism, mood swings

·      Paranoia

Plan & Train

Homeland Security has developed an independent study course entitled Active Shooter: What You Can Do. This course was developed to provide the public with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations.

Upon completion of Active Shooter: What You Can Do, employees and managers will be able to:

§ Describe the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials

§ Recognize potential workplace violence indicators

§ Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents; and

§ Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident

The online training is available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Management Institute.

Available Materials for Download to assist you in planning.

§ Active Shooter Preparedness Program Fact Sheet

§ Active Shooter Booklet

§ Active Shooter Pamphlet

§ Active Shooter Poster

§ Active Shooter Poster (Spanish)

§ Active Shooter Pocket Card

§ Active Shooter Pocket Card (Spanish)

Planning and Response to an Active Shooter: An Interagency Security Committee Policy and Best Practices Guide

Are you prepared? For more information on how to develop a plan to prevent and defend against an active shooter scenario, please give us a call at (844) 398-7800 or click here to fill out a form and we will contact you!