Like most things, hiring looked a lot different 40 years ago. “When we started, the goal was to place somebody in an hour,” recalled Gail Molari, founder, President and CEO of MOLARI Employment and HealthCare Services. “Nobody looked at resumes. They just trusted our judgment.”
But things have changed in the four decades since Gail and her husband, Richard Molari, first opened their Pittsfield-based employment agency: the nature of the jobs to be filled and the skills needed to fill them, the makeup of the local workforce, the avenues available to connect employers with would-be employees. For all the external changes, though, the guiding ethos of MOLARI stays the same.
“The environment in which we work, that’s changed a great deal,” Gail said. “But I’ve tried very hard to keep the same culture.”
This year will see another big change: after helming the company from its launch in 1983, and with her 80th birthday approaching, Gail Molari has finally decided to take a step back.
Not too big of a step, of course — Gail and her children, Susan Molari Foscaldo and Rick Molari, will continue to represent the family as members of the Board of Directors. Day to day operations, however, will fall to the company’s existing staff of executives, many of whom have been with the organization for decades themselves.
Under their experienced leadership, Gail and her family are confident that MOLARI’s tradition of excellence will endure for years to come.
Prior to taking the reins of their own employment agency, Gail and Richard Molari had never worked in the hiring industry. “My mother was a librarian. This was a whole new world to her,” Susan Molari Foscaldo said. “My father worked at GE as a chemical engineer. He knew how to manage, but neither one of them came from a staffing background, or even an HR background for that matter.”
Richard left GE in the early 80s when the company told him he would need to move out of Pittsfield to advance his career, and the couple began looking for a new source of income that would keep them in their beloved Berkshires where they could continue to raise their family. After dabbling in business brokerage, they became a licensee with Olsten, a national staffing agency, in 1983.
In 1984, a state agency contacted the company with a contract offer to provide home healthcare, and the service has been a major part of their operations ever since.
The company went independent in 1992, when Olsten purchased a competitor in Pittsfield and decided it didn’t want to maintain a licensee and corporate office in the same town. “We closed down as Olsten one day and opened as MOLARI the next,” Gail said in a 2020 interview with The Eagle.
While they weren’t experienced in the staffing industry, the Molaris made up for it with excellent people sense and carefully cultivated connections in the business community. Richard’s time at GE gave him an insider perspective on the hiring needs of what would prove to be one of MOLARI’s biggest clients. And as a librarian at Crosby (then a junior high) in Pittsfield, Gail delighted in forming connections with people. “I can usually remember people, so that usually helps,” she said. Particularly in MOLARI’s early years, it wasn’t uncommon for former students to come in looking for work.
Gail’s son and daughter, Rick and Susan, have both played a significant role in MOLARIs continued success. “Susan started working with us when she was in 10th grade,” Gail said. “She went out on jobs, and some people tried to hire her. But I’d say, ‘No, she’s going to college.’ It was good for both of us.”
Rick, the younger of the siblings, grew up alongside the company. The office became a home away from home for him, and the MOLARI team is his extended family.
Richard Molari passed away in 1996, at which point Gail took on full leadership of the company, and Susan returned to the Berkshires to work alongside her mother. Together, they saw MOLARI certified as a Women Owned Business (now called a Women Business Enterprise) in 2003.
Currently, Rick serves as a Director for the family business; Susan, as a Director and Consultant. Both will maintain positions on the Board to oversee the continuing MOLARI legacy.
“They keep me in line,” Gail said with a laugh. “And we talk a lot more than we would otherwise.”
It’s about the people
Hiring is, ultimately, a people business, reliant on building lasting relationships within diverse communities to match qualified candidates with the businesses who need them.
Gail Molari’s love of people, however, isn’t just a matter of good business — it’s personal, too.
“People come up to me on the street and say, ‘You got me this job, and this is where I am now because of it.,’” Gail said. “I like feeling like I’ve helped people, that I am a part of their community as well as the larger community.”
Through MOLARI’s home healthcare services, Gail is proud to provide for the elderly and others in need of skilled, compassionate home care.
In addition to her work with MOLARI, Gail has volunteered extensively over the years for a variety of causes. She has been a Rotary Club of Pittsfield member since 2000, serving as both President and Assistant District Governor. She helps feed the community with the Feed My Sheep program at First Baptist Church and supports Rotary Benevolence for Food Pantries, as well as local food and warm clothing drives.
Additional organizations and events Gail has worked with over the years include the Pittsfield Airport Commission, Catholic Youth Center, Relay for Life, Junior League of Berkshire County, Pittsfield Youth Hockey, Babe Ruth Baseball, Shakespeare & Company, Western Mass. Girls Scouts, Zonta Club of Berkshire County, the Central Berkshire Chamber of Commerce (now 1Berkshire) and various parent volunteer positions within Pittsfield Public Schools.
Gail is especially devoted to making education accessible to all. Through the Rotary Club, she helps make AP tests available to high school seniors, and provides free dictionaries to every third grader in Pittsfield and Richmond. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Berkshire Athenaeum for, as she puts it, “longer than I can remember.”
In 1997, she and her family created the R.E.M. Jr. Memorial Scholarship in memory of Richard Molari, awarded each year to a Taconic High School senior pursuing an interest in engineering, business or life sciences. The scholarship is sponsored by The Molari Family Charitable Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization that was established by the Molari family in order to support charitable causes in the community. The charitable fund has since expanded the scholarship to provide an additional award to a student pursuing a career in healthcare. In addition, the fund will be matching 40% of all donations made this year, in celebration of MOLARI’s 40th anniversary. More information about the Charitable Fund and the R.E.M. Jr. Memorial Scholarship is available at molariinc.com/molari-family-charitable-fund.
Looking back, thinking forward
“I just enjoyed it,” Gail said, when asked what has kept her at the helm of MOLARI for so many years. “My son wanted me to retire years ago, and he was always on my back about it, but I couldn’t give him an answer. Finally, one day it occurred to me that this is who I am. I like being here. So why not stay here, because this is where I feel most comfortable?”
40 years in, Gail has finally decided it’s time to hand over the reins to her trusted staff. To mark the occasion, the company is planning a combination 40th anniversary/80th birthday picnic for employees this September.
Members of the community will have an opportunity to celebrate MOLARI and Gail, and get a peek at the company’s future plans, at a 1Berkshire social on June 14 at Balderdash Cellars in Richmond. Susan hopes the event will both highlight her mother’s accomplishments, and emphasize MOLARI’s continuing commitment to the Berkshires. “We want to make sure the message is out there that MOLARI’s not leaving,” she said.
“The future of MOLARI is Gail stepping back and us relying on a management team that has been in place for a long time,” she said. “The Director of Healthcare Services has worked at MOLARI for 21 years. The Director of Employment Services has been in the industry for over 20 years.” The company’s COO/CFO has been a part of MOLARI for 3 years, but his personal connection with Gail goes back over 30 years, and he has been in the fields of healthcare and finance for his entire career.
Gail is confident the company she and her husband worked so hard to build is in safe, capable hands, still committed to their guiding mantra: “Putting People First.”
“I want people to know that MOLARI is continuing, the same way it has for the last 40 years,” she said. “The management team that we put in place will continue to Put People First by working to find people meaningful jobs at area employers and provide high quality, compassionate in-home care to our clients.”