This #womenINstaffing spotlight features Jane Hamner and Megan McCann, two staffing industry veterans who alongside Leslie Vickrey, ClearEdge’s Founder & CEO, formed ARA in 2013. ARA aims to attract, retain and advance women in technology and is now active in 5 U.S. cities with over 2,000 women involved in regular events and mentoring.
Jane Hamner, VP of Business Development, Harvey Nash
Years in staffing: 27
Fun fact: Jane’s introduction to staffing was being put in her place by a recruiter! Leading up to that point, Jane had been focused solely on applying for roles within medical device sales. When the recruiting firm offered her an interview, Jane politely declined. The recruiter gave Jane a reality check, explaining that she had very limited chances of getting a job in medical device sales with no sales experience and it was a mistake denying opportunities like this. Jane went to the interview with her tail between her legs and was energized by the people and culture. Twenty-four hours later, she accepted a role as a recruiter at that firm and has been in the staffing industry since.
Megan McCann, President & Founder, McCann Partners
Years in staffing: 18
Fun fact: Megan learned that persistence pays off very early in her staffing career: it contributed to her getting her first staffing role! After applying to a newspaper ad the size of a quarter in the Chicago Tribune, Megan faxed, mailed and called the staffing firm to secure an informational interview. She later learned that the hiring manager had thrown away both of the resumes she sent, and she only secured the interview after reaching his colleague while he was on vacation. In this case, it truly ended better than expected. Years later, Megan and her former boss built and sold a staffing company together, and he now works for Megan at McCann Partners.
What’s the best advice you’ve received recently?
Jane: Having young children, I am always asking advice from other working professionals. The best advice I continue to get is that you can’t do it all – it is okay to say no to be home or at an activity for my kids.
Megan: The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure—and not taking ACTION. We must believe to achieve, as corny as it might sound.
You recently founded ARA (with Leslie) to attract, retain and advance women in technology. Why? What keeps you excited about ARA?
Jane: We saw an opportunity to provide mentorship and a platform for women in technology. We had no idea it would catch on as fast as it did, which really shows the need in this industry. It is so amazing to hear some of the success stories already from ARA and the excitement people have when they attend one of our events. It makes it all worthwhile!
Megan: My parents instilled in me the necessity of giving back. This mantra guides a lot of what I do professionally and personally. I think ARA is a testament to that fact. However, there are many days when I am exhausted because balancing it all is difficult, maybe even impossible at times (and I am not a defeatist). Then you hear from someone whose career journey has been positively impacted by the work you are doing with women you admire, respect, trust, and love—a.k.a. my ARA co-founders, Leslie and Jane. It is all the inspiration I need to keep going. I am so fortune to do what I do and to have this ability to impact women, companies, and communities. It is an amazing responsibility I don’t take lightly.
If you could go back to earlier in your career, what would you have done differently?
Jane: Although I didn’t envision myself in technical staffing, I wouldn’t change anything. The experiences I’ve had and opportunities to grow personally and professionally have brought me great joy over the years – from lasting friendships to rewarding professional accomplishments. I even met my husband through my connection to the industry!
Megan: My older self would tell my younger self to have more confidence. Part of my passion around supporting women in tech is related to the fact there is a talent gap and we, as people, staffing experts, a community, daughters, mothers, sisters, friends, etc., need to do all we can to address it. Research supports that diverse teams often produce higher quality of work just by the diversity of thought and experience present. I often wonder if this gap is related to women not having enough confidence. There is a lot of data to support this notion. I certainly see it day-in-and-day-out as I work with and support diversity hiring, and in particular, women. McCann Partners and ARA are vehicles which allow me to help instill this confidence in others.
Are you an industry veteran that’s excited to share your lessons with the next generation of staffing leaders? Share your insights 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.