This week’s spotlight will feature several women in staffing – because Staffmark is so progressive when it comes to women at executive levels in this industry, it was difficult to identify just one! I challenge you to find another national staffing firm that is not only led by a female CEO (Lesa Francis, incoming chair of the American Staffing Association), but also has more than 64% of their C-level and SVP positions occupied by women. Actually, I don’t know any other staffing firm with more than $1B in revenue that even comes close to this representation from women at the highest ranks.
This post spotlights the 5 SVPs that are running all of Staffmark’s nationwide staffing business, divided into 5 geographical regions. Collectively, they have over 100 years of experience in the staffing industry!
Kathleen Goebel, SVP, East
Years in Staffing: 30+
Stacey Lane, SVP, West
Years in Staffing: 23
Lisa Lillard, SVP, Midsouth
Years in Staffing: 20+
Carla McKelvey, SVP, Midwest
Years in Staffing: 36
Julie VanWormer, SVP, Central
Years in Staffing: 30
A few fun facts from the Staffmark team:
- Stacey: I’m actually a certified forklift driver, but I’m very expensive, have limited availability, and tend to be bossy!
- Carla: I began my career as a receptionist for an executive search business. Three weeks later I was asked to start the temporary staffing office for the company. The great thing about youth is you don’t know what you don’t know. It never occurred to me that I didn’t know the first thing about launching a temporary staffing business. Thirty-six years later, I realize that was the opportunity of a lifetime!
- Kathleen: I actually started my career running a diet center. It was in the same building as a staffing firm and the owner convinced me to give it a try. Both were people businesses so I made the change and have never looked back!
What’s your most memorable placement or hire?
Carla McKelvey: I had a temp-to-hire order for a high level administrative assistant. The position required the individual to relocate due to the company’s upcoming move. I had a long term employee, who I knew would be a great fit. She was selected and relocated for her new position. We continued to stay in touch for the next 20 years, sending Christmas cards to one another!
Stacey Lane: Last year, we placed a COO for an international company. It took almost 5 months, and included orchestrating a trip to Japan for our candidate to meet the executive board. And now we have placed our decision maker who will hire many people through us in the future as he opens the company in the United States!
Who do you turn to for advice? What is the best advice you’ve received recently?
Stacey Lane: I turn to my direct reports – the Regional Directors. Often times I want to help them but my ideas and solutions don’t necessarily solve their problems. I ask their advice on how I can best help them, and sometimes it’s just to listen. They also help me shape the strategy for the Business Unit because they have such diverse ideas and talents. Recently, I held a strategy planning session where I had a list of potential investments to make to bolster recruiting and sales activity. They liked some of the ideas but changed them to fit the needs of what will work in their local markets, and in some cases had better ideas than I had. As a leader, one of the best things you can do is just do a lot of listening!
Julie VanWormer: I have two or three people that I have known over the years that I rely on for advice and talking through different situations, both personal and professional. The best advice I received recently is to take a step back and look at the situation through the other person’s view and consider if or how that would change my approach to the situation.
If you could give advice to your rookie self, what would you say?
Kathleen Goebel: LEARN! I’d tell myself to be more focused on learning every aspect of my job, to hold myself accountable for my own education. Don’t wait for someone to teach you or give you information, you go get it. If you do that, you’ll be the next one tapped on the shoulder! And I’d also tell myself to speak up more often. Educating yourself means asking questions, telling people what you need to learn and letting them help you.
Lisa Lillard: Hire the best people and empower them to shine. Recognize the efforts of your team and celebrate the small things. Run your branch or district like it’s your own business. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals, both professionally and personally. And always be willing to dig in and do whatever it takes—whether that is going in to a busy office and sitting down to answer the phones or interview applicants—but do whatever it takes to show your team that you want to help them succeed.
Do you have more than 20 years of experience in the staffing industry? Share your stories as part of this #womenINstaffing Wednesday series. Contact me to learn more.
Confused on the hashtag (#) in the title of this series? Let me know if you’d like to join a virtual roundtable with a few other female staffing execs to discuss the power of Twitter to build your personal brand.