Kelly Renz, President & CEO, The Novo Group
Years in staffing: 21
Fun fact: Kelly says her foray into the staffing/human capital space was a “fantastic mishap”. As an English and communications major in college, she secured an internal communications role for her internship and, upon arriving the first day, was told that headcount had shifted and she’d now be in recruiting. “They said they figured I’d do just fine in recruiting because of my communications background,” Kelly recalls. Once she got a taste of the recruiting and human capital space, she was hooked.
I was personally excited to interview Kelly for this week’s #womenINstaffing feature as she and I worked together years ago at Cielo (then known as Pinstripe), an industry leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) company based in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Kelly became President and CEO of The Novo Group in August of 2015 when her HR consulting firm, inVantage, joined forces with The Novo Group.
How important have mentors been in your career?
I’ve been fortunate to have had, and still have, multiple mentors throughout my life, with each mentor bringing a unique perspective to my career. In fact, my mentor from my very first job is now part of the executive team at The Novo Group. I tap different mentors based on a specific need or challenge I’m facing. It’s great to have multiple people who can challenge me, hold me accountable and encourage me to take risks. I think it’s important to have people outside of your industry to tap into which is why I have a diverse network of mentors who bring a lens outside of the recruiting and HR space.
Speaking of mentors, what’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given?
Learn swiftly from mistakes, and linger a bit longer on successes. We move so fast in our business that we sometimes forget to celebrate our successes. One of my mentors once said to me, “You are so quick to focus on how to fix things, have you stopped to recognize what is working?” That was such an eye-opener for me and something I’m working hard to instill with everyone I work with.
What piece of advice would you give you your younger self?
I’d tell my younger leader self to know your personal brand and know it well. Be keenly aware of your strengths and sharply honest about your weaknesses. Then be vulnerable enough to be open with others about both. Surround yourself with people that complement your strengths and neutralize your weaknesses. No one is perfect and if you are honest about who you are, if your team gets to know the real you, they will be more authentic themselves and the team will be stronger for it.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in this industry?
I’d tell them to take a breadth of roles and opportunities to learn about the industry more broadly. Become a master of a lot of information and don’t be afraid about starting out as a generalist vs setting your eyes on one particular practice area too early in your career. True leadership comes from understanding the broad knowledge of business. Remember that there may not be a straight line to the top. Enjoy the curves and the winding road along the 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.
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.