The Success Academy Featured Company – Express Employment Professionals

By: Lisa Breedt

Meet Carolyn Diaz, Managing Director of Express Employment Professionals South Africa, who joined Express as a franchisee in 2006. She had 15 years staffing industry experience and owned a very successful independent staffing firm when she decided to team up with Express. Express Employment Professionals is proud to continue its 31 year legacy of helping businesses and job seekers succeed globally.Express Employment - Carolyn Diaz


Q: How would you be introduced by a close friend at a social event? i.e. Name, age, company, title, interesting fact etc.
A: I would like to introduce Carolyn, the big Chief at Express SA Headquarters and the only South African to receive the prestigious Gordon Blair Heritage Award in the company.

Q: Tell us something that not many others know about you. This could be anything related to your family, children, their achievements, hobbies, interests etc.
A: I have two children, my daughter Charell (30 years old), got married two years ago in Thailand and we are expecting our first grandchild in December. My son, Carlos, is 23 years old and has just qualified as a Patisserie Chef from Prue Leith Chefs Academy. After completing his PR Diploma at Varsity College, he decided to follow his passion for cooking and baking! My husband is a Fire and Safety trainer with nearly 30 years’ experience in Fire and Emergency services, and is an iron man and fitness fanatic

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you want to get away from it all?
A: Pilates, Yoga, travelling, reading.

Q: Which book had the biggest impact on you and why?
A: Probably too many to mention, however, the most recent is a book written by the founder of Express Employment Professionals Inc, Bob Funk. “The Doctor of Hope” is based on Bob Funk’s life story. He wanted to become a preacher – to help people. Instead, he found another way to assist people in need – finding them jobs. In the past quarter century, he has led Express Employment Professionals to become the largest franchised, privately-held staffing company and has put millions of people to work through his efforts to grow his franchise network. His amazing story is filled with exciting experiences such as ventures to seminary in Scotland, driving trips behind the Iron Curtain and to the Holy Land, and building one of the nation’s most successful businesses from the ashes of another company. Through it all, Bob has stayed true to his mission to help others. Based upon a life of integrity and hard work, Bob is truly a “Doctor of Hope”.

Q: Who is/has been the most important mentor in your life and why? 
A: My dad. He always had an entrepreneurial mind. Even though he worked for the municipality as an artisan, that did not stop him from finding opportunities. He re-built and fixed cars in his spare time (I helped in this process) and re-built our council house and turned it into a beautiful “owner-built” home with additional rooms and outbuilding for my grandparents. We often went on caravanning adventures as a family which would not have been possible on his salary if he did not apply his mind to alternative sources of income.

Q: If you could invite any three South Africans to a dinner party, who would you invite?
A: Engineering Whizz-kid Siyabulela Xusa. Clem Sunter. Gareth Cliff or Desmond Tutu…

Q: Which gadgets do you personally use on a day-to-day basis and if you had to pick a single gadget you could not live without, which would it be?
A: Samsung notebook



Q: When was Express Employment Professionals founded?
A: The company was founded in 1983 in the US and brought to South Africa in 1998.

Q: What do you specialise in?
A: Staffing and Human Resources

Q: How do you find and retain a great team of employees?
A: By getting team leaders involved in the recruitment process and ensuring a great culture fit besides necessary skills required.

Q: What has been the single biggest reason for your success?
A: Hard work, Strategic thinking and Passion for what I do.

Q: What relationship building tips do you have for other business owners?
A: Ensure you have a team of people who are subject-matter experts and specialists in what they are employed to do. Always keep your finger on the pulse, by working with your team, meeting with them regularly! Teamwork; pick the right talent and reward them.


Q: What do you most enjoy about living in Johannesburg?
A: The Openness, the wonderful “vibe” I live in Johannesburg and work in Centurion, so get the best of both worlds.

Q: Favorite restaurant for a business lunch?
A: Hemingways is always good for a business lunch.

Q: What do you enjoy most about having your offices in Oxford Office Park?
A: Great sense of security. Professional and corporate look, and of course electricity backup

Any additional comments you’d like to provide
A: Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. Don’t be intimidated by people or their overpowering actions. Stay true to your course and continue to empower yourself with knowledge. Stay passionate about what you believe in. Never underestimate your intelligence. Have a vision, a plan, a mentor, and be a mentor to others. Nothing or no task is too menial for you to complete. Just ensure you complete it with finesse!

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