Vickie Anenberg, President of Cross Country Staffing, Inc.
Years in staffing: 25
Fun fact: Unlike many leaders in staffing, Vickie has been at the same company for 25 years! Cross Country is actually her second employer after she started her career at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. While she was at P&G, she was exposed to male-dominated leadership teams and knew that she wanted to break through and lead at the executive level. Her steady path to leadership came quickly after joining Cross Country upon moving to Florida after 4 years at P&G. She wasn’t finding many large companies and decided to try out staffing after interviewing and gravitating toward the people and culture at Cross Country. With no previous staffing experience, she eventually worked her way up to President – twice!
How do you balance your demanding career and family life?
We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best at everything. As women we can have it all, but there’s a time for everything. And everything isn’t always at the exact same time! While my most cherished role is being a mother, I have always felt a strong drive to fulfill my career goals outside the home. I am lucky to work for an organization that truly values flexibility, and was honored to be recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the first Presidents of a publicly traded company to work a 4-day workweek. But, after a terminal case of mother’s guilt, I decided to step down as President of Cross Country and serve as an EVP while mentoring someone to take over the role. After some time and internal changes within the organization, I accepted the role of President for a second time. I stepped down because I wanted more time with my kids at that age, but then I stepped back up when they grew a bit older. One of the best dynamics of the staffing industry is that it is incredibly mobile. A career in the staffing industry is a perfect fit for working mothers looking to maximize their earnings and enjoy flexibility. My advice is to find the solution that works best for you and your family.
What’s your secret sauce to moving up so quickly?
I came from a powerhouse company and I may have been mildly obnoxious when I started at Cross Country! I’ll never forget the piece of humble pie I was served when I was the last person to get a deal out of the 20 recruiters that started together. Staffing is a service industry and you have to build relationships and stay humble. I learned early on in leadership that the way to success is not through yourself, but through other people. We as leaders need to conceptually understand what needs to be done and then draw on people’s strengths and passions to help achieve those goals. It really doesn’t matter how many initials there are after your name; if you cannot lead and inspire your teams to give their best, you won’t stay at the top long term. It’s my experience that women have a unique skill-set as leaders, including the ability to multi-task to manage high amounts of work and be an influencer at the same time.
What keeps you excited and motivated?
We have a new CEO who has many years of staffing industry experience, but is fairly new to Healthcare staffing. He has a really exciting vision of what we can become as an organization and I’m enthused and excited about those challenges. I also recognize that I won’t always be able to work at this pace and think about how I can make an impact in the future. I find it satisfying to help younger people achieve their goals and succeed. I feed my need as an achiever by helping others achieve. When you get to a position of influence and power, you can help women lift each other up to their potential. Recently I promoted a woman to a position that involved a significant expansion of responsibility for her. I took the leap because I saw potential in her. I’m pleased to share that she is blossoming in her new role and is rising to the occasion. With someone to teach and encourage her, she can take risks and grow. I think that we have a responsibility as women to support each other, reset the negative behaviors that women can sometimes show toward other women, and model a new way.
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.
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