Jodi Hon, President of MDT Holdings
Years in staffing: 18
Fun fact: Jodi has held nearly every role in the staffing industry, from recruiter to sales to branch manager to VP to President. Jodi’s passion for this industry has only increased alongside her tenure, embracing opportunities to approach solutions and staffing differently. For instance, in Jodi’s role as President of iLabor, a platform to optimize secondary staffing suppliers, she’s challenging leaders at some of the largest staffing firms in the US to go beyond the status quo with their supplier networks to further monetize this channel.
Thinking back on your career in staffing, what’s one of your proudest moments?
One of my proudest moments came after taking a risk and leaving a large national staffing firm to enter the entrepreneurial world. I was scared to leave as I was in a good position, making good money, with a strong network and still having fun. However, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I was able to take an ownership position in a struggling staffing firm, turn it around in 2.5 years and sell it to an industry powerhouse. It was really empowering for me personally to take that step.
What would you tell your rookie self in staffing?
Never be afraid to fail, try new things or stretch the organization. There’s this stigma in staffing that you start in sales or recruiting, then keep working your way up and eventually end up as a VP without big opportunities to impact change along the way. Let your talents be heard regardless of what role you currently hold. You still need to be respectful, but I think I could have stretched the organization sooner. I was too afraid and in hindsight should have trusted my instincts. The most successful people in this industry are able to bring new ideas and work through the many setbacks (turnover, personal setbacks, losing clients, etc.) while getting stronger along the way.
From your perspective, what does it take to be a great leader in this industry?
I’ve been fortunate to have many great mentors in this industry that have helped shaped my outlook as a leader. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned:
- Roll up your sleeves and dig in – There is nothing worse than an ivory tower leader. I don’t go on every sales call but I understand the business and I have done the job. Ask your team: How are we going to do this together? What calls can we go on together?
- Don’t be afraid to tell on yourself – Admit when you’re wrong. Surround yourself with people that are better than you, and be willing to be self-deprecating sometimes. For example, I often tell my team to learn from my experiences both good and bad. Be okay with people that are better than you.
- Create a culture of high performance – I’m tough but fair. Reward bountifully for strong performance. Let your teams know that you’re going to hold them accountable but hard work and results will be rewarded.
- Be appreciative – I’m admittedly not great at some of the interpersonal aspects of leadership which is something I’ve been working on over time. It’s important to thank people and show appreciation for their contributions. When someone does something extra, make sure they know you appreciate it.
What keeps you in the staffing industry?
Once you get staffing in your blood, it’s in there. I really enjoy getting candidates to the market quickly. I like putting people to work and thinking about the opportunities still on the horizon in this industry. And there is nothing but opportunities to innovate in this space!
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.