FAPEO is saying farewell, but not good-bye, to long-time FAPEO member Midge Seltzer, who recently retired from Engage and is making her home—for now—in Portland, Oregon. She and her husband plan to resume a nomadic lifestyle they enjoyed in the early part of their marriage, taking extended visits to countries around the world.
“We were in our early 30s, and we literally traveled the world,” Midge says. “We stayed one to two months in different cities. I would pick a place in the world, and then he would pick a place, and we eventually ended up settling in Seychelles for a few years. This time around we plan to stay three to six months in each location. So after Portland, we’re looking forward to travel, travel, travel!”
A recognized leader in the PEO industry, Seltzer cofounded Engage in 2011 after serving for 12 years as president and chief operating officer of Modern Business Associates, Inc., a PEO and HRO company. She also has served in a number of leadership roles of distinction within the PEO community including: past chairperson of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO); current NAPEO board member and chair of the Federal Government Affairs Committee; past chairperson of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Board of Employee Leasing Companies; former vice president of the Florida Association of Professional Employer Organizations (FAPEO); and several other leadership positions.
A frequent author and speaker on human resources and employment issues, Seltzer began her career practicing international law as a litigator and transactional attorney in Miami, Florida, and has extensive experience in corporate, regulatory and employment law. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law.
As she reflects on her career in the PEO industry, Seltzer says she is struck by how unique an industry it is.
“We have very unique leaders who will be extremely competitive on individual deals, but who also will assist their competitors in navigating PEO strategy,” Midge says. “On a weekly basis, chief competitors call each other and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this complex issue,’ and the competing PEO may say, ‘I saw that in 2014 and this is how I worked through it.’ So it has consistently been this collaborative effort.”
Seltzer says that this team approach has extended to FAPEO’s and NAPEO’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry.
“We consistently came together and we continue to come together to lobby state and federal Congress members to achieve the best results for the industry as a whole,” Midge declares. “We’re not just looking at an issue from the perspective of ‘Oh, what’s good for our individual PEO?’ It really is about what’s best for the industry in the long run. I think Florida PEOs especially have been consistently great at working collaboratively, and I always say we’re unique because we have Mike Miller. He’s a game changer. The industry would not be where it is without Mike. While I have been so fortunate to have had numerous mentors, I consider Mike my chief mentor.”
Seltzer will continue to serve Engage in a consultative role, but as she leaves the day-to-day work of running a PEO, she has insight to offer to her colleagues in the industry.
“My mantra to PEOs for years has been to get involved and stay involved because we need new leaders,” Midge says. “The industry needs new PEOs to get involved at the state and federal levels.
Politics is local. We need PEOs making those phone calls to their members of Congress, getting involved and bringing their new ideas of how to continue the growth of this dynamic industry. Also, seek out your mentors; don’t wait for them to choose you.”
While Seltzer says she won’t miss working, she will miss her colleagues at Engage and her many friends in FAPEO and NAPEO. But make no mistake, she will still be busy! In addition to traveling, she and her husband are active with several charities, and retirement will give them more time to volunteer and spearhead special projects.
“My charity work revolves around helping women in need better their lives. That’s been my focus for, goodness, 19 years,” Midge says. “I’m passionate about my family and friends, the PEO industry and my charities.”
Everyone at FAPEO wishes Midge well, and we hope to hear about her many adventures around the world!