Featured Story






Leadership Development Training Program and Succession Plan
Provides Opportunity and Security


Company Profile:
Sunstar Americas Inc., (formerly John O. Butler Company) designs, manufactures and distributes world-class oral health and dental care products. Sunstar Americas Inc. (SUNSTAR) is headquartered in Schaumburg, IL and employs over 550 people in North and South America.

Sunstar’s Senior Manager of Manufacturing identified a need to develop high-potential employees to fill their current as well as future Operations Team Leadership roles. He mentioned: “I want to make sure that I have given them the tools to succeed and that Sunstar continues to grow with them after I have retired.” He worked with the Human Resources Department to identify potential candidates recommended by Sunstar Managers, then reached out to long-time training partner, Illinois Business Innovation Services (BIS), to design an extensive training program and succession plan.

Sunstar and Illinois BIS worked together to develop a customized Leadership Development Program for high-potential employees. This Leadership Development program was designed to prepare well-rounded employees to become future leaders in the organization. The program included training in the following areas:

  • Managing Self and Relationships with Others
    • Understanding the Role of a Leader
    • Developing a Leadership Brand
    • Inspiring and Influencing Others
    • Respectful Communication
    • Building Trust and Commitment
    • Effective Conflict Resolution
    • Dealing with Difficult People
    • Coaching
    • Performance Management
    • Building High-Performance Teams
    • Creating a Culture of Respect

  • Business Acumen
    • Presentation Skills
    • Effective Business Writing
    • Creating a Culture of Safety
    • Project Management
    • Problem Solving
    • Lean
    • Six Sigma
    • Innovation
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Train-the-Trainer
    • Writing Work Instructions
    • Winning Strategies for Customer Service

The program included an extensive “learning by doing” approach. Each participant was assigned a SUNSTAR mentor and a group project. The program consisted of classroom training, personal assessments, case studies, group work, simulations, homework and mentoring. Francene Pelmon, Senior Consultant with Illinois BIS, served as the primary instructor and program mentor for the participants. Francene, along with Illinois BIS experts Steve Gilbert and Michael McCauley, led the technical training, and Bruce Vojak, BIS’ expert on the science and process of innovation, also instructed portions of the training.

As a result of this program, Sunstar has successfully filled the Operations Team Leadership Pipeline. Approximately 20 employees received certificates from the program. Participants also completed group projects that increased productivity and reduced costs, identifying thousands of dollars in cost savings. Sunstar senior leaders were thoroughly impressed by the project presentations as the project results exceeded their expectations. The Senior Manager, Manufacturing, said “Looking at the skill levels of our high-potential employees in 2017 and what those skills are today, I feel like a proud parent.”

So far, 25% of the participants have been promoted and/or given more responsibility. At the graduation ceremony, each participant talked about the positive impact of the training, both at work and in their personal lives. They said that they greatly appreciated the support from management, and that the relationships that they formed with their peers continue to be invaluable. Whenever they experience a problem, they seek advice and help from their peers to quickly resolve the issue. The participants were a mix of ages and genders, from 15 different original countries, and many talked about gaining understanding and teamwork as a result of learning together. They are clearly committed to continuing to learn and excel, and to leading Sunstar into the future.

Contact us to find out how Illinois BIS can help your organization at: (630) 505-0500 or info@illinoisbis.org.