Diana Smith, Division Director, Brilliant™ Technology Staffing
Years in staffing: 23
Fun fact: Diana started on the other side of the table. She was working for IBM and often worked with a firm finding consultants for their projects. After getting to know the branch manager well, she then recruited Diana out of IBM to help that staffing firm expand their services. Diana considered it a “great move” and hasn’t looked back since!
Diana and I first connected at a local staffing event in Chicago where I was impressed by her obvious expertise, yet humble and open demeanor. She’s a mentor by nature and I’m lucky to have experienced some of her wisdom firsthand. Diana is also one of the few staffing leaders that embraces Twitter so it’s fun to get tweet-size bits of knowledge from her on a regular basis. I’m happy to share some of her lessons with you here, but encourage you to follow her on Twitter (@DianaLSmith) for more regular words of encouragement and tech insights.
As a leader training rookie salespeople, what are 2 critical skills that you focus on?
The first is the discipline and hard work it takes to build your client base: the planning and research, time, persistence, consistency, and tenacity that it takes do pay off. You also have to believe it and stay the course through your first couple of years. The second thing is to always focus on helping your client succeed, beyond just filling their staffing needs. How can you find ways to be what I call “professionally generous” and bring ideas, contacts, networking events, articles, etc. If you focus fully on being a valuable resource to them in many ways related to talent and what they are trying to accomplish, you will differentiate yourself and build really strong trusted relationships over time.
Can you share a pivotal moment in your career thus far? What lessons did you learn?
I have to share two. The first happened about 8 years into my career life when I met a woman who was a senior consultant at IBM. She had a unique ability to listen to clients and then make recommendations to them in a way that they really listened to. Clients counted on her and sought her out to help them with difficult challenges. As I watched her work, it really led me to see how I wanted to develop as a professional, own my own career and create personal value in my client relationships. Before that, I saw myself as working for a company, in a job. After watching her, I think I really began to evolve as a true professional.
The second moment came when I did not get a job I was striving for at a company I’d worked with for a long time. I took that very hard and it took time to recover from. But as they say, when one door closes, another one opens and that is exactly what happened. The opportunities that came to me after that were really exciting and I wouldn’t have been in a position to pursue them had I gotten that other job. From that experience, I learned to trust myself and continue to take risks and strive for goals, but to also know that there are many paths and exciting things can come if I stay positive and open to adventure.
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.