Getting a big promotion, requiring a relocation, is a major life experience. While a big promotion is great, the relocation can be quite stressful. Luckily, for individuals relocating for work, there is ARC Relocation, a full-service company that takes on the consultation of all relocation services, supporting the relocating family every step of the way.
ARC specializes in assisting individuals with selling their old homes, buying or renting a new one, shipping their household goods, finding schools for children, expense administration, on the ground area acclimation, and much more. In the words of President and CEO Michele Brescia, ARC does it all.
Totalprestige Magazine recently caught up with Brescia to learn more about the services provided by ARC Relocation.
Michele, can you start out by telling us about ARC Relocation and the service it provides companies?
ARC is a full service global relocation management company, servicing many Fortune 500 and government clients. When a company wants to move someone from one location to another, ARC is there to support it all – from assistance with selling the old home to buying or renting a new one, to household goods shipments, children’s schooling, expense administration, to on the ground area acclimation, ARC does it all.
How does the relocation services provided by ARC Relocation work exactly?
ARC’s clients provide us with an authorization to move their employee from one location to another, the policy and benefits that they are eligible for and the timeframe. From there, we support the employee and their family with every single one of their needs.
How in-depth does ARC go when a person is relocating due to work?
Our services are vast, but we specialize in concierge/white glove level service. Whatever an employee needs, we are there to help them navigate the process and provide support. A sample of our services offerings are:
- Home Purchase & Home Sale Services (both buyer value option and guaranteed buyout programs)
- Affinity Rebate Program
- Mortgage Services
- Shipment and Storage of Household Goods
- Expense Reimbursements
- Payroll Tax Reporting
- Lease Breakage
- Temporary Housing
- Settling-In Services
- Concierge Services
- Rental Assistance
- Car Rental Assistance
- Property Management
- Benefit & Policy Counseling
- Spousal Employment Assistance
- Cost of Living Reports
What are the benefits companies have working with ARC for the relocation of employees?
There are many benefits that companies have working with ARC for the relocation of their employees, from tax benefits to administrative relief. ARC handles all the cost, payroll and compliance reporting to relieve some of the administrative burden on our clients. Additionally, as the face of the client, ARC provides a different level of administrative support to both the client and their employees, allowing our clients to focus on the remainder of their role (which is predominantly HR/Procurement/Finance). Our main goal at ARC is to become an extension of our clients, integrating their culture into our interactions with their employees and allowing for seamless connection between us and our client, in support of their employees.
How difficult is it for a company to relocate an employee without using a third-party relocation company for the move?
Most companies that manage relocation themselves, give their employees a flat lump sum amount and have them manage the process on their own. While this works for some employees, typically new hires with smaller apartments, it presents quite a challenge for homeowners and families. The coordination of every aspect of a move is a tremendous amount of work and most employees find it quite overwhelming, while trying to navigate moving to a new location, and learning a new job. Utilizing a relocation management company, allows the employee to rely on the experts to hire the suppliers best suited for each aspect of their move, to coordinate the dates, to pay the suppliers and act as an overall advocate and support for the employee during their move.
What are some of the challenges you have when companies need to relocate their employees?
Relocating to a new location is listed as one of the top three most stressful situations in someone’s life – right behind grieving a lost loved one and divorce. As you can imagine, there are many challenges that arise during this process, from particular employee circumstances, to supply chain challenges, to funding of the move. Each relocation is different, because each family dynamic is different, and I continue to learn something new every day. Having the ability to be flexible and source solutions is critical to our success as an organization.
You joined ARC Relocation in March 2021. What led you to the company as its new President and CEO?
A client of mine, from my prior employer, reached out and shared the opportunity with me. She advised that she had spoken with the owner of the company and thought, based on what ARC was looking for, that I might be the perfect match. This led to many interviews and discussions with the owner of ARC, Bill Mulholland, as we determined if I would be a fit for ARC’s needs, where the company was looking to go in the future, and if it would be a fit for me personally.
ARC Relocation has been in business for nearly two decades. Was it difficult to begin work at a company with a long history?
The relocation industry has many companies with long tenures, some upwards of 60 years. ARC, at almost 20 years, is right in the sweet spot of – sufficient tenure to understand the industry – but still new, fresh and disruptive. What I love about ARC is their approach to staying relevant. Our focus on technology, as a supplement to amazing customer service, is impressive and industry leading.
Prior to joining ARC, you worked for Cartus for 24 years. You started as a director and moved up to Vice-president before leaving. What led to your departure from Cartus and how did working with the company prepare you for your current role at ARC Relocation?
I actually started at Cartus as a financial coordinator (an entry level role). Through my career at Cartus, I was promoted nine times, to my final role of Vice President, which I was in for five years. I was blessed to have had many opportunities during my almost 25 years there, most recently creating and leading their Center of Excellence, composed of nine different departments, centered around supporting their clients and customers. Having held various roles of increasing responsibility, having had a voice into the leadership team, and having the opportunity to lead many teams and projects, helped me to be prepared to bring a new level of leadership to ARC. As a younger company, in industry terms, ARC is growing very rapidly. Being able to infuse some of my experiences in the areas of strategic leadership, operational excellence and financial focus, coupled with operational efficiencies and talent management, has allowed me to make a quick impact in a short amount of time.
What are some of your plans for the future for ARC Relocation?
I’m really looking forward to keeping the momentum we are seeing in client growth and technology expansion. I’m focusing on upscaling our talent and offering them greater growth opportunities as we expand. I want to harness all the capabilities with our technology and use it to drive greater efficiencies, for our team, our customers, suppliers and clients.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the company?
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the relocation industry as a whole, with the inability to move people across borders. One of ARC’s strongest assets though is it’s US based realtor rebate program. This program allows anyone buying or selling a home in the US to get cash back at closing, just for using our realtors. Since the US housing market was so strong in 2020, ARC had an outstanding year.
You joined during the pandemic, so you would think working in a new role mustn’t have been easy.
I would tend to disagree. I think the pandemic has opened so many doors for people that wouldn’t have been opened before if remote work was not available. If this position had been created prior to the COVID pandemic, it would have been located in Virginia (a seven hour commute from my home in Connecticut). This would not have been a possibility for me, due to family commitments in the Northeast. I believe that companies have seen the strong performance of remote work, the flexibility it allows their employees (which in turn drives higher employee satisfaction), and have adapted well as it relates to the technology and tools needed to support a remote workforce.
Michele, what is a day in your life like?
Busy! My day starts somewhere between 5am and 6am. Depending on the morning, my husband or I get up to feed the dogs (we have four). From there, I check my emails, read the news, do my morning reflection to set my intentions for the day, I do some journaling and goal setting. At 6am, I get my youngest daughter up, make breakfast and lunch and then we’re out the door for the school bus at 7am. I come home, do what I need to do as a busy working mom, and officially start my workday at 8:30am. My day is filled with meetings, conference calls and project work. I break for lunch around noon and try to step away from my desk, or connect with friends, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Working from home is a blessing and a curse because it’s very easy to stay connected to your desk for long hours at a time, and quite socially isolating, so I try to force myself to step away from my desk for lunch. I resume my workday of meetings and calls and try to log off around 5:30pm or 6:00pm. At that time, I resume my job as mom – making dinner, checking homework, laying out clothes for the next day and taking care of my family. I try to relax as much as possible after dinner, watching tv, reading, scrolling social media, to reduce stress and have some down time, before laying down my head at night, typically around 9pm or 10pm.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I struggle with imposter syndrome. I believe this would surprise most people, because of my confidence level. In speaking with my friends and colleagues, I think many do, women in particular. In speaking with a friend recently, she told me she didn’t apply for a job because she wasn’t 100% qualified for it. She felt like she needed to check every single box in order to be considered for a role. I feel that so deeply in my soul. The external pressures to be a certain way, to present a certain persona, to be “on” constantly….they’re exhausting. When we focus on living up to someone else’s expectation of what we should be, how we should act, how we should speak, we are forcing ourselves to feel less than, or like an imposter, when we don’t. I constantly remind myself that I am where I am because of what I have accomplished in my career, and what I have to offer to the world, nothing can take that away.
What makes you smile?
I love giving back to others. Whether that’s volunteering, or helping a family in need, giving from my overflow makes me happy. When I see others genuinely caring for one another and going out of their way to do something nice for one another, it makes me smile. Every year I take one of my daughters to our local Walmart. We get $10 gift cards and pass them out to random strangers in the parking lot to spread Christmas joy, and practice random acts of kindness. Seeing the joy on her face when her gift is accepted and appreciated, brings me a huge smile.
What scares you?
I care deeply about how people feel. I want people to feel appreciated and supported. I want my teams to be treated with a level of kindness that isn’t always present in a work environment. I believe in being kinder than necessary, when it comes to your interactions at work. I would say my greatest fear is letting people down in this area. Having employees feel like they aren’t supported or appreciated, and that they weren’t treated with fairness and kindness, even when they made a mistake – that is a great fear of mine.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
Just one?! Empowering other women to be able to grow in their lives – personally and professionally, is very important to me. If I had the power to change something in the world, it would be ensuring all women, in every culture, had access to an education, to complete freedom, and to be able to earn a living for their families if they wanted to. It is my goal someday to open a charity that supports underprivileged pregnant women with the resources they need for housing, food, educational and career support, to help them get established in their lives for their families.
To learn more about Michele Brescia or to access the incredible services of ARC Relocation, please visit the company’s official website at https://arcrelocation.com
Journalist and author. Contributor