Michael Pulley’s biography, A Vision Fulfilled, describes the journey of an entrepreneur, Patti Penny, whose staffing agency, Penmac, changed the landscape of contract work.
Penny was an infant during World War II. As she grew up, she witnessed the harrowing effects of alcoholism through familial marriages and the uncontrollable ups and downs of life. Nonetheless, she was a fairly jovial child.
Later in life, her husband convinces Penny to start a staffing agency, using experience she obtained while working in the personnel department at St. John’s Hospital for years prior. He helps to find her first client, which falls through but motivates Penny to continue, leading to the birth of Penmac Staffing Services. The service was transformative by allowing workers flexibility, offering entrepreneurial opportunities to women, and sharing ownership of the company through an employee stock program in her hometown of Springfield Missouri and later in eight other states.
In all, the biography depicts a life worthy of the accolades detailed in the last 20 pages of the book, where Penny’s achievements are laid out.
Unfortunately, the biography is replete with irrelevant details, such as when the author describes an evening when Penny makes fried chicken for husband. Descriptions of the floor surface of her first job as a file clerk, the first time Penny’s family got a television in 1951 and other minutiae disrupt the narrative flow. Readers might also find the pace of the biography too slow as Penny makes the transition from child to entrepreneur.
Still, Penny’s journey is inspiring, especially after Penmac overcomes its first failed employment agreement and goes on to make millions per year, or when Penny helps offer GED classes to employees in Ava, Missouri, when the local school superintendent refuses.
The narrative’s verbosity will likely deter some readers. Nonetheless, A Vision Fulfilled offers a candid depiction of Penny’s journey and may also provoke an entrepreneurial spirit in its readers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.