oor, New York, NY 10017
Specialties: Negotiation, Strategic Sourcing, Marketing, Public Relations, Metrics/ SLAs, Website Optimization, & Branding
I had the unique pleasure of meeting Erica Jayne Walsh at ONREC this past September. She catches your eye for many reasons, some by the merits of mother nature and others ... the more lasting impressions ... for reasons of a personality you can't help forget. She is a force of nature; charming, a pervasive wit and when you think she couldn't do more to compel you to send her a follow-up email - she impresses you with substantive intellect and a thorough understanding of business models within our industry. She may be young but not impressionable - she leaves you with impressions and all of them remarkable.
I could make it all sound so simple, however, and simply tell you that of all my meals at ONREC, I recall most fondly sharing a deep dish pizza in Chicago with my new friend, Erica Jayne.
Q&A with Erica Jayne Walsh
Erica Jayne: My home life is interesting; I am a single twenty-something living in Midtown Manhattan. I bet that everyone is immediately thinking “Sex & the City” and though I do enjoy the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife lately my home life has been lacking because I am always working… so the TV show “The Apprentice” is far more relatable.
To best answer this question and avoid seemly like a totally dull human, it probably makes sense to divide my life into two phases … “The Pre-BountyJobs Era” and “The BountyJobs Era”.
Up until 6 months ago, I was living in downtown Indianapolis, working as a Sourcing Associate (paper-pusher, strategist, and spend analyst) for Eli Lilly and Company in the Procurement function.
I had a robust life that would be much more interesting to your readers than my current home life… I raced sailboats competitively at the Indianapolis Sailing Club, was a Naturalist & Conservationist at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Mascot (Walrus, Reindeer, Rhinoceros, and Meerkat) at collegiate sporting events, parades, and around the zoo campus.
[I wasn’t the best mascot… on one horrific day in December while dressed as Sparky the Reindeer (Rudolph is trademarked) I broke the two cardinal rules of mascoting. I not only spoke in costume but also was tackled by a 3 year old girl with pigtails and my reindeer head fell off… ruining the illusion of Christmas for hundreds of Indianapolis children forever].
I owned a beautiful condo on a lake and harassed the neighbors by attracting geese with food only to then sick my West Highlight White terrier, Lexi or “The Lexinator”, on the geese and the rest of the neighborhood.
Aside from Lexi, sailing, and volunteering the other joy of my life was pro-bono business consulting. I have always been quite passionate about entrepreneurship, while in college I was president of the Society of Entrepreneurs and didn’t want to betray my fellow classmates by wasting away in the Corporate World, so I started and ran my own consulting practice and spent my evenings and weekends working with retailers, restaurants, and technology companies in the Indianapolis area.
THE BOUNTYJOBS ERA
In April of this year, I underwent a major life change and dropped everything for the opportunity a lifetime. When I say everything, I mean everything… I am no longer the proud owner of a beautiful condo on the lake, but instead squeeze myself into a 250 sq. ft. apartment in Manhattan that costs three times my mortgage.
[The view from my apartment is spectacular; you actually can see “everything” going on in the apartments in the building just behind me. Actually, if you are willing to risk the guillotine of a window and stick your head out 5 inches, you can see the Empire State Building.]
Lexi has moved to Ohio to spend quality time with my Mom and her dog “Belle”… and I am no longer sailing, volunteering, or working on my Masters. Instead, I have opted to work 16 hours a day, every day of the week.
Now before you think I am crazy or start to feel sorry for the lack of luster in this era of my life… I’d like to mention that right now… I am living my ultimate dream. Actually, if we could decrease my city apartment rent by about 50% I’d be living the ultimate dream… right now we should stick with “dream” for the sake of realism.
Six Degrees: Any other interests/ hobbies or surprising facts?
Erica Jayne: Aside from everything I’ve already mentioned… my biggest interest is learning. I love finding out that I am an idiot… my grandpa always use to say “the more we learn, the more we learn we don’t know”. I wish I could specialize in everything, speak every language, relate to every culture, design buildings, engineer cities… essentially I want to be superwoman… but who doesn’t?
The thing that would probably most surprise all of your readers is that I am a high-school dropout. I dropped out of an esteemed college prep school after 10th grade to pursue my career as an international fashion model. I moved on my own at 16 to Barcelona Spain to work the fashion circuit. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, September 11th occurred causing my mother to rethink the independent teenager strategy and pull me back home. The NY fashion industry took a major hit, causing the other US fashion markets to become flooded with top NYC models… eliminating my chances of breaking in. I worked for 2 years making minimum wage, doing strange jobs (gift basket arranger, greenhouse foliage caretaker, freelance event planner, hostess/ waitress, and freelance photographer).
I spent most of my time during those two years helping better fashion models launch their careers, working with reporters in the Detroit area to identify modeling scams, and trying to convince whatever business owner currently suffering through my employment that there was a better way to run their business. By the time I turned 18, I realized that I would never make a difference if I wasn’t taken seriously, so I got my GED… applied to college… got in… attended… and graduated 3 years later Summa Cum Laude, with a BS in Business Administration.
Six Degrees: How’d you end up at BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: While I was working in Indianapolis for Lilly, I became increasingly frustrated. Prior to joining, I had no idea that big business was so inefficient… for example, it took Lilly 3 years to move forward on a project that was projected to save the company 30 million dollars with almost no risk.
One of my responsibilities at Lilly was to work with the Recruitment component to determine better ways to do business. This included a variety of projects such as redesigning how we orchestrated background checks, on-boarding a new recruitment advertising firm, organizing and resourcing our temporary labor division, streamlining contingency search vendors, forming strategic partnerships with executive search consultants, and outsourcing parts of the sourcing function.
Just to give you a sample, one of my projects was to eliminate the number of search firms under contract from a number in the hundreds to a number in the low teens. This project seemed impossible. We had little record of who had made placements, where the relationships stood, how these firms came to be under contract, what functional roles they supported and who really was valuable. It seemed that each internal recruiter operated in their own silo, and this applied just to the corporate recruiters sitting together on one floor within our corporate headquarters… completing disregarding the chaos at the Lilly subsidiaries and international entities.
We became so frustrated with the lack of organization within our internal recruitment arm that we decided to outsource a part of the function to an RPO.
Then one day, I got a call from Jeremy Lappin, the CEO of BountyJobs to discuss a standard search firm contract that had been given to his firm when they called into pitch Lilly the BountyJobs solution. After going bountyjobs.com, I realized that BountyJobs was not a search firm and in fact eliminated all of the contingency search problems and inefficiencies that I had just spent two years complaining about and suffering through.
BountyJobs had been in business less than 16 months when I first was exposed to it, was doubling every quarter and already had 20% of the Fortune 500 as clients. Jeremy then explained to me his plan to create a global solution that every recruiter (internal and third-party) used everyday.
Then I pretty much begged and harassed Jeremy for weeks until he agreed to be my mentor by bringing me onboard and teaching my how to launch and run a company.
Six Degrees: Tell us about BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: As a company, BountyJobs is refreshing… we are energized, agile, and always customer focused. Our product has been designed to help an old industry (contingency search) take advantage of the scale and reach of the internet and the efficiencies that technology provides.
I joined the team long after the rocket was designed and launched, but the founders and core team realized that having each internal recruiter operate in isolation and without a strong technology system prevented companies from analyzing performance, sharing knowledge, and continuously improving. The team also realized that organizations were forced to limit the search firms they worked with because of the administrative hassles of on-boarding and managing the firms. When you think of global companies like Lilly, it is a little ridiculous to think that one RPO firm or 30 search firms can fill thousands of jobs all over the world in every specialty (Sales Reps from Anchorage to Dubai, PhD Research Scientists, Regulatory Advisors) … but when you have tens of thousands of professional search firms and headhunters that cover ever region of the globe and every specialty… the likelihood of filling the job dramatically increases.
So BountyJobs took the concept of a marketplace and applied it to a technological platform that streamlines all of the inefficiencies, eliminates administrative burdens, and enables employers to take control of the search process and stay in control with real time information and detailed reporting.
I’ll spare your readers the pitch, but if they are interesting in learning more they should check out our website (www.bountyjobs.com) and request a live demo… and we’ll walk them through it in about 5 minutes… it is really intuitive and there isn’t any cost to use the technology.
Six Degrees: What do you do for BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: Jeremy has been kind enough to let me dabble in a bit everything. My two main focuses are marketing and business development. On the marketing side, I do brand management and positioning, develop and orchestra events, manage PR, build sales collateral, develop & execute the marketing plan, and form partnerships with industry thought leaders. Then on the biz dev side I analyze data to drive business development decisions and I work to close deals with other providers. This past week, my main focus has been on overhauling the front pages of the BountyJobs website, which we hope to be launching before the months end. Also, I should have another surprise for you in early Q1 of 2009.
Six Degrees: What most excites you about working for BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: I love seeing the fills come through… we are doing thousands of fills in 2008. This is exciting, because each time I see another fill I realize… a candidate just found a way to improve their life, a headhunter just made money, and an employer just found the talent that is going to help their company achieve its objectives. It is really fun to be a part of something that is a win for everyone. I especially love seeing BountyJobs grow so quickly and knowing that I am a part of that growth. This week we just moved into a new office that is more than 5x our previous space… based on the constant stream of positive feedback and the rate at which we are growing domestically and internationally… I would be shocked if Jeremy’s projection [‘Every recruiter using BountyJobs every day’] didn’t come true.
Six Degrees: How does BountyJobs fit into your life plan?
Erica Jayne: Through this on-going experience, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I know who I am as a person and as a professional. Ultimately, I have the confidence and the where with all to know that I can provide BountyJobs with the right strategic insight, pursue an MBA at a top school, launch my own company, and ultimately build the life and world that I dream of. Everyone always asks entrepreneurs and people involved in entrepreneurial enterprises about their exit strategy. Honestly, when you are growing fast, living your dream, traveling the world, and making friends with amazing people… an exit strategy is the last thing on the mind.
Six Degrees: Any final comments?
Erica Jayne: Thanks so much for letting me be a part of sixdegreesfromdave. As I indicated I love learning from people and forming partnerships. If anyone wants to chat more with me about entrepreneurship, life, and/or workaholism, please reach out to me… I’d be glad to help however I can.…
une 500 – Cupertino – 10 years EA, C level, Tech ideally.
3. Executive Assistant- Executive Search 70-75k – San Francisco & Menlo Park – Degree preferred, 5-7 years of EA support
4. Compliance Associate – Hedge Fund – 80-100k – San Francisco – Market Hours – 5+ years financial services, compliance background
5. HR Business Partner – Fortune 500 – 110-120k – San Francisco - Dynamic personality, great blue chip company experience, startups, 7-8 years HR
6. Executive Assistant – Software Company - 75k - San Francisco – 5-7 years experience as an EA supporting senior VP’s in technology and/or media
7. Trading Operations Assistant- Mutual Fund Company & Asset Management Co.– San Francisco 50- 70k DOE
8. Private Client Associate- Asset Management Company – 50-60k + bonus– SF & Palo Alto – 1-3 years in financial services as an analyst or associate
9. Office Coordinator/Reception– Management Consulting Firm – 38-45k bonus and generous vacation– SF – l new grad ok, ideally some hospitality exp;
10. Office Manager – Economic/Political Consulting Firm – 45-55k – San Francisco – Temp to perm
11. Shipping/Operations Coordinator- Startup Fitness/Health Company – 40k – SF - someone passionate about health/sports with shipping& logistics experience
12. LOS ANGELES- Investment BANK – Executive ASSISTANT – 50-60k – Direct Hire – 3-5 years in finance as an EA preferred
13. HR DIRECTOR: Startup well funded and amazing leadership team – 100k +/- : entrepreneurial spirited candidate but strategic.
14. Business Development Coordinator:: 50-55k – 2-3 years experience as an admin in a tech/internet company
MEDIA/TECH INDUSTRY ROLES:
A. Customer Advocacy Manager – 70-90k – Cupertino – Experience in media companies dealing with customer facing, advocacy, FAQ’s. 2-6 years experience.
B. VP of Advertising Operations – 130k + equity – SF - Mobile experience a plus, online ad network, 10 years experience, management exp mandatory.
C. Entry level Sales Positions– 35-65k base - SF and Peninsula 1-4 years in media, tech, software.
Jaimie Lynn Craig, Managing Director
Premier| Experts in Search & Placement - Operations/Administration Division
111 Sutter Street | Suite 550 | San Francisco, CA 94104
to her presentations, or heard of fellow colleagues speak glowingly of her capabilities – needless to say I have been impressed consistently with her public figure. I can also say with pleasure that we all share our admiration for Susan’s consistent weekly live chat contributions to RecruitingBlogs.com, the Recruiting Roadshow and her upcoming session at RecruitFest in Toronto.
It must be said, that having walked the streets of Amsterdam past midnight or dined, commiserated, and having corresponded with Susan Burns, “the person,” that my admiration is far more substantial in the compelling impact she makes as both a colleague and a dear friend. Her multi-faceted personality, conviction, and brilliance as a candid, thought-provoking, socially conscious friend and colleague are ever present. She is passionate in all things in life, and it is omnipresent when she evangelizes architecture aspects of Strategic Talent Planning, employment branding, and metrics that we as an industry excel through her contributions and it is in her valued friendship, that her gifts never cease to bring value.
I applaud all her contributions in our industry – she lives and breathes “pay it forward” and it is a pleasure to know that the RecruitingBlogs Community have an opportunity to share the many value propositions Susan offers so selflessly and with such passion that Jason Davis and I so often witness on a personal level. Susan Burns is the “real deal” – and the community is richer for all she contributes. Susan, today as a friend, an advisor to SixDegreesfromDave.com, a personal mentor, and a thought leader we salute you, and it is ever so well deserved.
Q&A with Susan Burns
Six Degrees: Tell us of your Home World Susan
Susan: I find a nice balance between taking on challenging physical activities and challenging career endeavors. Yoga, hiking and travel are among my deepest passions outside of work and when I can bring them all together its ideal. Two of my favorite hikes included a 100-mile trek through Torres Del Paine National Park in Southern Chile and a trip to Peru that included hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I’ve traveled to Mexico, Costa Rica and British Columbia for yoga retreats and find the week long immersions an incredible rebalancing to the stresses of life – even though the retreats often include 5 to 6 hours of physical yoga each day. Yoga is also part of my everyday life and an area of growing interest and commitment. In fact, I’m about to undertake a 200-hour, 3 week teacher training in the Berkshires this July. There are also many areas in which yoga philosophy and practice can carry over into enhancing business practices. The very act of being “present”, focusing on the mind-body connection, and building a sense of community are just a few areas that could add value to the business world. I’m planning on exploring these further through my yoga studies and practice.
Six Degrees: How did you get started in talent management?
Susan: When I began my career I was in general management. I managed specialty stores and then made the transition into department stores. I loved the hum and buzz of the business and, over time, as I took on assignments of increasing volume and scope the challenges of creating community within a store environment were quite enticing. In my last store manager assignment I was responsible for over $40 million in annual revenue, an employee population of over 350 and a management team of about 16. But, one thing was missing – the company invested little in development efforts and I was intellectually bored. So, I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical and go to graduate school. I actually thought I would leave retail but found I liked the interconnectedness of strategy, product and tangible results. There is something very unique about this within a retail environment and when you’re playing in high volume you can see these three come together quite quickly.
After graduate school I joined Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s Inc.). At the time Federated owned Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and generated about $15 billion in annual sales. Initially, my role was to lead the development of a centralized college recruitment and relations strategy. Federated hired about 550 college graduates each year and another 300 as summer interns. The year was 1998 and there was a lot of change occurring because of the Internet. One of the first things I had the opportunity to do was secure support to develop a website. I think there were about 6 people on the original development team and together we mapped out the strategy for what was to become Retailology.com. The timing was right and I was fortunate to have a really talented group to work with. We saw the impact and growing value of the site in a relatively short period of time, and could demonstrate to the organization the value of being online. One of the coolest things about Retailology is that it not only benefited Federated but it also became a tool to teach students about the retail industry.
A couple of years later as Internet recruiting was growing quickly in popularity and the task of sourcing/hiring via the job boards was overwhelming, I had the opportunity to present Retailology as a strategic solution for hiring across Federated – which included hourly, management positions across every function, and college recruiting. We won the support of the divisions and quickly undertook the challenge of building 12 recruitment sites on the Retailology platform. The company had an autonomous culture and the structure and branding strategy at the time required individual branded sites. As a whole, the company hired about 110,000 people annually so this was a very cool opportunity. The change implications for this were huge – we would be moving from 100% paper-based processes to taking everything online. There were several key events that created tipping points along this journey and by the time I left Federated in January, 2006, the Retailology corporate strategy had generated over 38% of the company’s total hires and touched just about every functional area and position up to director/VP. Taking on a broader role also advanced my position with the company and allowed me to take on a greater scope of work that included employment initiatives, employment branding, recruitment technology – both selection and development, change management initiatives, recruiter education and development. The role became that of an internal consultant and over the 7+ years I was with Federated I had the opportunity to work with a number of very talented and committed colleagues.
While it was a difficult decision to leave Federated I was at a point in my career where I wanted to take on a broader challenge. I had a hunger to experience another industry, immerse myself in a global business and take on a more holistic role in talent management. I was recruited to head up global staffing for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE). WE is the second largest independent PR agency. They are the PR agency of record for Microsoft and also have growing practice areas in public affairs, healthcare, and consumer. Once again, I was fortunate to work with a very talented team of recruiters. While I only stayed with WE for about 18 months, great headway was made with advising the Board on workforce/talent planning initiatives, sourcing strategies, recruiting structure and processes, and introducing CRM technology.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Susan: There wasn’t a single event or mentor but a string of events and experiences that have influenced how I think about talent management. First, my role in store management. In retail you are uniquely dependent on talent. Whether it be the product design, assortment selection by the buyer, distribution by the planner, merchandising in-store, leading a department/selling team, or the last “12 inches” between the sales associate and the customer – its talent that makes the ultimate difference. Retail is also a business environment where you can see people’s careers move quickly. Seeing a sales associate promoted to sales manager or an assistant buyer promoted to divisional merchandise manager and eventually on to roles of increasing scope and responsibility is very rewarding!
Second, coming out of graduate school I heard the same thing time and time again from my classmates – getting through to anyone in recruiting/hr was incredibly frustrating - whether callbacks, email responses, or just answering their phones. Many of my classmates were looking to make a career transition and getting a recruiter to look at their past experience and future potential was insanely challenging. The same thing would happen on informational interviews – hiring managers only wanted people who had done the job. Well, there’s evidence that indicates taking people with the potential and placing them in new environments leads to more creative thinking, innovation, personal growth and……better business results. And, while I couldn’t impact thinking across every aspect of an organization I could make a difference in how job seekers felt about their experience.
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors during my career. Mostly in the earlier days but that’s when I also think its most important. As I was “growing up” in retail it was at a time when mentor relationships developed more naturally. They not only helped me to understand the business at a more strategic level but to think broadly and creatively about building partnerships and getting results. Both of them were also terrific leaders and had their own unique way of building teams and camaraderie. Two of these mentors are still my closest friends today and are still the first people I turn to for guidance.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATIONS
“Susan is smart, analytical and a great client. She knew what she wanted and was able to communicate that in an effective way. She brings original thinking and a wide network of information to any project she is part of. I have worked with Susan for several years including when she was at Macy's, Waggner and now at Talent Synchronicity. We have worked together on projects that involved selling concepts to senior management that were forward looking and not necessarily easy to get approved. Her combination of influencing skill, persistence and intelligence have led each project to a successful conclusion. She gets things done efficiently and effectively and is a good partner.” March 26, 2008
Kevin Wheeler, President/Founder, Global Learning Resources, Inc.
“Susan puts recruitment process vision to work with quantifiable results. She tackled workforce planning, recruitment process and brand issues at Federated Department Stores by developing and implementing one of the first uniquely branded recruitment websites for the retail industry which resulted in tens of thousands of hires. Susan is top notch and I would use her to handle any workforce opportunity." February 22, 2008
Hank Stringer, Principal, QTalent Partners
“Susan is a professional with a deep understanding of all three legs of the corporate HR platform: business strategy, HR process and leading-edge technology. Her depth of insight into ways to make HR a strategic business asset are both unique and extraordinary. It has been a real pleasure working with (and learning from) her.” January 7, 2005
Jeff Hunter, Senior Director, EA University at Electronic Arts
“I've worked with Susan Burns for a little over a year now and I can say that she has the most strategic, forward-thinking and fresh approach to talent acquisition out of any leader that I've worked with in the industry. I've always said that I wanted to work with someone who I could learn from, who wasn't just pushing old ideas and who would challenge me in new ways. Susan has always managed to challenge me. She has a unique way of getting you to think about things differently. Susan is also amazingly connected in the industry and the relationships she has helped me form with thought leaders has been invaluable. She is an avid reader and spots trends and innovations before most people have adopted the known innovations. The talent acquisition community has mostly agreed that finding people with passion for their field is a key performance indicator. I've met few people with as much passion for our industry as Susan. She thinks way outside the box, outside the organization and outside the industry to come up with advances in our field that are truly innovating the way organizations acquire talent. Most notable is her work with retailology.com prior to joining Waggener Edstrom and the workforce planning work she is currently designing at our organization. If you work in our industry I hope you have an opportunity to meet Susan, collaborate with her, brainstorm, have her tell you to put on your kid glasses or just have a quick brainstorm with her. I think you will find that you walk away feeling like you have learned something new.” May 16, 2007
Steve Fogarty, Talent Manager, Adidas
"Susan is a talented staffing and recruiting professional who brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the acquisition of talent and workforce planning. In her role with Waggener Edstrom, she was responsible for the global acquisition of talent and her work had a significant impact. Her passion and commitment were clearly evident and the results she guided were notable. A reduction in time-to-fill, a broad portfolio of sourcing vehicles, and several new creative staffing strategies and initiatives were all part of what Susan contributed to. Additionally, her leadership in guiding the Agency's Advisory Board through a workforce planning strategy advanced our staffing capability to positively impact the business. As a staffing industry leader she is broadly recognized for leading edge thinking and the perspective she offers to organizations and clients. Susan is smart, strategic and results-oriented. I see her as flourishing in an environment that has the management of talent as a critical business priority and where Susan can freely demonstrate her entrepreneurial and results-oriented talent."
Daniele Joudene, SVP, People Services, Waggener Edstrom
“Susan Burns is one of the most talented leaders in the talent management industry today -- smart, innovative, passionate, dedicated, and able to see and create solutions where most people can only identify challenges. Quite simply, she helped to make us better and more innovative as a company/partner, every step of the way. Our partnership in developing WetFeet Recruiter's Enterprise Interview Scheduling system, which delivered industry-first innovations in many areas, is just one example of one of her strongest personal assets: Susan gets results. The passion, energy, focus and commitment she brings to her work is simply extraordinary. What a joy to recommend her!” October 11, 2007
Gary Alpert, CEO, WetFeet Inc.…
ortant, and sometimes lonely job. I know because I’ve had the job more than a few times in my career."
"Central to an organization’s talent acquisition success is: an engaged executive and management team; a creative, competent and accountable recruiting organization; and a relentless focus on the candidate as the customer."
"A good 85% of recruiters hate a structured process imposed on them. If your tool also imposes a process, the likelihood of universal adoption is low. You can beat them mercilessly but they will evade you at every turn. It’s not always “user error” or poor configuration decisions that make a tool bad. Sometimes the tool is slow; or the search capability is uneven; or it simply does not work."
Carol Valenti Mahoney
Consultant, Talent Acquisition On Demand
A division of Live and Leap, Inc.
• RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Business Website: "Professional TA"; F5 and Live And Leap
• Personal Blog: http://www.liveandleap.com/blog
Carol Mahoney has always been an early adopter. In 2010 we find the vernacular passe' but in the 1990's she co-founded "Guerrilla Recruiting” tactics, a hands-on workshop geared at helping high-growth companies compete. She was one of the first to recognize the significance "e-cruiting," and was innovative in recognizing the value of hiring sourcers to use the internet to produce passive candidates.
What makes Carol unique however is how she treats people. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Yahoo! campus on two separate occasions, and I was immediately aware that a special culture had been fostered under her leadership. A Margarita machine, balloons, and schwag galore were within my peripheral vision and employees were ... happy. It was downright festive as it was hectic; a bee hive swarm of activity with a common vision. When you walk the halls with her, take an elevator - it's never quiet, the pulse of the organization followed Carol and it was contagious. It was the only campus I have ever walked into where you had the pervasive feeling this staffing organization was a family not simply a team. Talking to her, you have the sense that she is one of the most elite of subject matter experts in her field, and yet she has a familiar, approachable air around her that is filled with a bellowing laugh.
To make the point sink in, when I first visited Yahoo! my ears had popped on the plane upon landing and I could barely hear a thing. It was her laughter catching fire within the cubicles assembled throughout her floor that resonated that this was the place to be. It was obvious that her recruiting org had enlisted enthusiastically on behalf of her War for Talent. She was the boisterous thinker overseeing the battle plans in all things.
Today, Carol Mahoney is the leading the way with "Live and Leap, Inc." The company, founded in June 2009, is comprised of two separate ventures: F5, Forums for Females Focused on a Fabulous Future; and a consulting arm dedicated to providing on-demand Talent Acquisition capability and support for high-tech companies – most recently Juniper Networks.
Prior to founding Live and Leap, Carol was Vice-President of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo, Inc., where she built a formidable global talent acquisition machine that produced thousands of high-profile hires to fuel Yahoo’s hyper-growth. In her 20 year HR career, Carol has held a variety of leadership and consulting roles for high-technology companies including Intuit Inc., Apple Computer, Synopsys Inc., Digital Equipment Corporation, and Advanced Micro Devices. Carol graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Q&A with Carol Valenti Mahoney
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Carol.
CAROL: I’ve been married to Frank for 22 years. We have a 21 year old son, Douglas, and a beloved labradoodle, Luke. I live on the ocean in Pacific Grove, CA and I enjoy the gorgeous seaside as much as I can. I walk along the trail daily and often take the laptop down to the bench across the street to bring the concept of “working at home” to another level. I’m absolutely passionate about using my energy, connections and sense of humor to inspire women to create a “fulfilling, fabulous future”. To that end I produce a blog and have sponsored 2 forums for females.
Six Degrees: How did you get started in the recruitment industry?
CAROL: A hiring freeze at AMD took me away from my dream – a marcom job. The dream job that went “on-hold” gave way to an interim job as recruiter. I never looked back. I loved the recruiting game and quickly found that I loved to manage recruiting and HR. I was one of the youngest Recruiting Managers when I put the management career on hold to spend more time with my one and only son! The result was that I began contract recruiting – a job I thought would allow me to balance my role as mom more easily than a corporate manager role. The rest is history. I re-entered the work world as head of TA at Synopsys and continued along that path (with one notable detour – more later) until I left Yahoo! last year as Vice-President of Talent Acquisition. The exception? A brief detour in charge of Recruiting Operations with ProQuest (now Duran HCP) that also included developing and delivering Guerrilla Recruiting™ in partnership with at Gardner Consulting.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
CAROL: The biggest impact to my recruitment management career came in 1999 when the rolodex gave way to what, at the time, I dubbed “e-cruiting” I knew that sourcing would never be the same and had to trick my employer into hiring sourcers who would use the internet to produce candidates. It was a resounding success and today I’m blown away by the frontiers yet-to-be conquered, as social networking bulldozes onto the recruiting scene.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
CAROL: I have many mentors – mostly women – who have taught me about great leadership. I believe at the heart of any great organization, are great leaders. This applies to talent acquisition organizations as well. So I continually strive to hone my management skills, my strategic mind and my ability to connect with others in the pursuit of a meaningful, successful career. Mentors include:
Cheryl Van, ex-VP of Talent at Yahoo! – she taught me that engaging your heart is as important as engaging your head. Great leadership means bringing the whole woman to work – and that means bringing compassion and respect too! Every night she walked the halls to encourage people to go home – work-life balance actually meant something to her.
Libby Sartain, ex-Chief People Officer, Yahoo! – the woman laughs louder than I do…a feat I thought was impossible! She taught me that a successful woman doesn’t need to button up so tight that she doesn’t even recognize herself. Libby allowed her personality to color her leadership and she was best when she was unadulterated and un-cut!
Sherry Whiteley, SVP of HR at Intuit – some of us suspected that she was a fortune teller on the side. She had an uncanny “gut” and her intuition complimented her intellect allowing her to achieve near-miracles on a frequent basis. I thought my intuition was something to keep quite about, even embarrassing, until I met Sherry. Now I wish it was as honed as hers.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your current projects.
CAROL: While I’m currently a one-person show, I intend to grow this year. I am president, the number one consultant, the bookkeeper and web master. Offerings Include:
• For larger companies or ones with an established TA function:
o Assemble, deploy and manage outsourced SWAT team (recruiters, sourcers, program owners, etc.) to address specialized or unplanned recruiting needs.
o Best Year Yet™ for Talent Acquisition: Partner with Talent Acquisition head to customize and facilitate a team-building and goal setting process that will ensure maximum performance of team. (I did this for 2 years and I am a huge proponent of the process!)
o Deftly manage key projects or initiatives that have no internal owner (e.g. branding campaign, social networking strategy, systems deployment, etc.).
• For smaller companies or those without a TA function:
o Assess and recommend TA Strategy and Plan based on needs of company vs. TA capability. Implement plan if required.
o Interim recruiting leader - temporary, part-time and outsourced.
o Apply expertise and network to identify and select talent acquisition contractors, employees, vendors.
o RPO: Staff and manage outsourced teams of recruiting resources. Efficient and compliant.
Six Degrees: What speaking events, awards, publications, have you been featured to represent your company?
CAROL: I’ve had a number of speaking events in the last few years for organizations like Kennedy, SHRM, AustralAsian Talent Conference, HRTC, and many more.
When I headed at Yahoo! my branding efforts yielded several webby’s – for our careers site and our branding campaigns. In addition, under my reign, Yahoo’s revamped career site won best career site through ERE.
Six Degrees: Tell us about Your new venture, Carol
CAROL: I founded Live and Leap, Inc. in June, 2009. It is the umbrella company for two separate consulting ventures: Talent Acquisition On Demand – a Talent Acquisition management solutions company; and F5 (Forums for Females Focused on a Fabulous Future) – a venture dedicated to providing tools, inspiration and support to women compelled to transform their lives.
Today, I’m focused on getting the word out about my Talent Acquisition practice – what I’m doing and why.
Six Degrees: What is Your Company’s Value Proposition?
CAROL: I love leading Talent Acquisition. But instead of working “inside” running one organization at a time, I’m interested in broadening my reach and leveraging my extensive Talent Acquisition management background, experience and access to talented recruiting resources to benefit a host of organizations in a variety of industries. My solution offerings, though varied, are designed to help the leader in any organization who says, “the buck stops with me to ensure that talent acquisition efforts at my company result in producing the knowledge workers required to create marketplace advantage.” It’s a tough, important, and sometimes lonely job. I know because I’ve had the job more than a few times in my career.
When I was VP of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo, I often looked for consultants with recruiting expertise and management savvy to augment my leadership team during peak activity periods. While recruiting and talent experts were available in the consulting marketplace, I found that Talent Acquisition Management consultants and experts were in short supply. I’m a talent acquisition management veteran who has "been there and done that". I have the perfect background to help clients bridge TA management gaps through consulting, tools and coaching.
Six Degrees: What is the pricing structure for your services/products?
CAROL: Pricing will vary depending on the assignment. In general, I plan to offer my services on a retained basis for less than 1/3 of the cost of a contract recruiter.
Six Degrees: Do you blog?
CAROL: Right now I do a blog for F5 – focused on supporting women in transformation. I plan to start a TA blog on management as soon as I have a little more fodder.
“Watching Carol Mahoney in action was like seeing the leader at the World Series of recruiting. For nearly six years Carol successfully orchestrated the recruiting efforts that resulted in the hiring of thousands of exceptionally talented employees worldwide. The largest increase in Yahoo!’s history. Carol raised the standards and wrote the book on how to create a successful world class recruiting team (is the booking coming soon, Carol?). Without missing a beat she built & motivated a talented staffing team of over 250 people, she created a award winning career portal, nearly eliminated the use of outside agencies and she effectively brought executive recruiting inside. Her legacy included leading effective marketing campaigns over several years (& won numerous awards), and spiking the employee referrals to an all time high. No wonder that Carol is in demand on the speaker circuit and not just because of her superior reputation as a brilliant & innovative recruiting visionary but because she is also a rousing story teller with fabulous sense of humor. I would the welcome the opportunity to work for her again.”
Noelle Tardieu, Recruiter for Talent Acquisition, Yahoo!
“I have worked with and for Carol Mahoney for nearly 10 years and two companies. At Yahoo! Carol built a small and poorly organized staffing organization of 35 to nearly 250 at one point. Carol has an amazing strategic ability coupled with operational rigor to develop a high performing and (multiple) award winning organization. She brings humor, candor and an amazing ability to not only see the big picture but pull the right talent into the right jobs to achieve amazing results. I say today, what I've said before, "I'd work for Carol anywhere."”
Stephanie Prout, Sr. Manager, Talent Acquisition Programs, Yahoo!…