Meet Anna Brekka, "The Most Powerful Woman In the Staffing Industry Builds Community"

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cyberslueth, Affiliate Partner, Job Machine, Inc.
Author of

Anna Brekka is unique for several key reasons, not least of which she is by far the tallest woman in the industry, if not, she may well have the most infectious laugh within it - but I would dare argue, that she is also the most powerful woman in our industry. I can think of only few who has shown more commitment to, and capability of, building community by utilizing one of the most powerful media publishing companies in the recruitment industry to collaborate alliances, friendships, and spotlighting influentials and the power of ideas overall

Hear Her Roar - Behind the Scenes

A lofty claim you may say, but I can handily make a powerful argument for a powerful personality behind the scenes a fortunate few are aware of, but today, as only a Six Degree enthusiast can - I break the story by pulling the drapes and shouting behold - a roar of influence:

... From a Lofty Position of Influence

Anna serves as Senior Director Talent Management Services on behalf of Kennedy Information. Within the Staffing Industry, she is known as one of the leading organizers of Thought Leadership distribution, with a broad portfolio of media outlets in the form of conferences, webinars, audios seminars, primary research, advisory, and newsletters.

"Kennedy Information" leverages its 35+ years of analyzing the recruiting profession to bring corporate, non-profit, and third-party recruiting experts together with the latest strategies and technologies. Thousands of recruiting and the world’s leading companies rely on Kennedy to ensure successful souring, recruiting, hiring, and retention processes.

... Admired

In addition to her dynamic organizational capabilities, extensive intellectual capabilities, Anna stands out within the Conference and multi media circuit for a very rare quality of substance - she listens. You leave the room and a day later she initiates a call with “I thought about our discussion …I have a few ideas on how to implement them.” She is invaluable to Kennedy as the corporate ear to Web 2.0 chatter and creates relationships by bonding with peers in our industry. Anna exudes authority in so many subject areas, and she is one of the classiest women I’ve met. Anna Brekka is a dear friend, someone I can count on for advice, sharing input, and who cares passionately about our industry.

... Collaborating with The Back End of The Business

Anna's reputation exceeds my own kind words. You may recall the "Happy Slouch" aka Jason Davis, Founder of RecruitingBlogs singing his own praises of her uniquely observant and keen eye for collaborative partnerships. To illustrate the point, Anna made headlines recently by announcing several key developments at Kennedy Information which further enhances its undisputed level of commitment to building Community within the Recruitment Industry:

1) - will promote as the back-end social network for regular readers and visitors to KennedyInfo's online magazine. There will be a logo on its page and readers will be encouraged to visit and to join.

2) Kennedy Expo Conference, Las Vegas 2008 - This year, Kennedy Expo will designate a significant area of its floor plan as the " Lounge". Kennedy Expo will promote the community area with signs in the middle of the exhibit hall, with comfy couches and computers with wireless access.

3) Kennedy Info will sponsor and collaborate on branding its conference next month a

4) Kennedy Info has even developed a customized landing page designed for members of and will extend a discount to its membership.


Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Anna: I live in the woods on a 6 Acre lot, not far from the quintessential New England village of Francestown. Incorporated in 1772 it includes a white steeple church, a meeting house, a general store, the post office and a little red brick library. That is it. The house that my husband John built sits on this lot in the woods, on the east side of Crotchet Mountain close to the local ski resort. We live a quiet life now, compared to just a few years ago when the house was full of kids. John and I have somehow managed to raise the kids and eventually get them out of the house! We have a total of 8 children, some his, some mine and they are now scattered all over this great country from Seattle to Savannah to Boston, but luckily a few of them did stay or return to New Hampshire. Right now the 3 youngest are in collage, 2 of them are just about to graduate this May, and the “baby” (a 6”5” redheaded Viking-type) is finishing his second year at UNH. We also are blessed with 4 grand children, age 2-10, whom we absolutely adore, and with whom we spend as much time as possible.

Does having kids count as a hobby? It must. They can be great fun you know. Somehow they still end up taking a lot of our time, even after they left home…. The great thing about kids and grandchildren is there is always something to celebrate and with so many of them we get to plan one dinner party after another, and that includes cooking and baking, something I really enjoy. Naturally, there is more time now for traditional hobbies such as knitting, gardening, hanging out with friends and travelling. And to that end, our next big trip is to Egypt this fall; a gift from my father to all his children and grandchildren.

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the industry?

Anna: I have evolved into a “speaker recruiter.” I have an incredible job which allows me the opportunity to offer forums for some of the best speakers to share their sourcing, recruiting and retention ideas and best practices. I started to recruit speakers for the Kennedy conferences in 2004 and quickly realized I really enjoy networking with some of the most interesting people in the world.

Six Degrees: How did you get started in the recruitment industry?

Anna: Well, how does a a 15-year career as textile technician and commercial aircraft designer end up as a speaker recruiter? I’m not quite sure, but somehow textiles led to aircraft interior design, then to nutrition care, then to publishing, then to marketing and presto! You become a conference speaker recruiting! There is a “red thread” running through this career path, I am sure, I just can’t see it right now.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your career?

Anna: …. I do not think there is a single event that I would consider the turning point for me. Kennedy gave me an opportunity to support their conference effort through marketing, cross-marketing and content development. And I noticed that finding speakers and good content was the thing I enjoy the most. Along the way, great people like Dave, Shally, Peter, Jason, Dennis, Gerry, John and many others became sources I have come to trust and appreciate.

But this I know: Only once I realized and understood that the best recruiter listens more then she talks, did I have a chance finding the best talent. Most of us have a story to tell and if you give a prospect your full attention, they often open up and share what they know and who they are. If you listen carefully, you’ll quite possibly be able to identify a good candidate – and from time to time, a great one.

Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?

Anna: I admire so many people, all for very different reasons. But the two mentors I always fall back on are neither recruiters nor “rock stars”; they are my parents. I’m lucky, they are still with us, and between their individual strengths, knowledge, love and support, one couldn’t ask for better mentors. It may sound a bit corny but between Nurse Johnson (mom) and Dr. Ebbesen (dad) I really lucked out. At work too I find myself surrounded by extraordinary people whose knowledge I try to take advantage of, and after whom I model my career.

Six Degrees: Detail your position, responsibilities, size of your staffing organization:

Anna: A few months ago I was offered the awesome responsibility of leading the Talent Management Services Team here at Kennedy. We are responsible for our recruiting and retention conferences, webinars, newsletter, directories, resume distributions and job boards – all services and products designed for the executive, as well as the corporate, recruiter. The group I work with is an outstanding group of 15 smart people; people that show up every day to do what they do best, be that sales, customer service, editorial or administrative. Some of them have been with Kennedy for more than 20 years, talk about recruiting to retain! My days are full and challenging, but also fun. I try to be supportive of the individual, the team and the company. But speaker recruiting is still something I will keep doing and with the help of my colleague Laura Tremblay, we are always networking and searching for the next great presenter.

Six Degrees: Have you had an opportunity to be on the spotlight yourself stepping outside your behind the scenes magic Anna?

Anna: As you know, I do not do much speaking. I’m one of many behind the scenes, including the Recruiting Conference scene!

Anna Trivia: Anna Brekka was born in Sweden, is a citizen of Denmark and a resident of the US since 1982. I can only assume her multi-national exposure has a significant influence in her "old World" charming personae, - but the end result is to be globally appreciated my friends, and we have much to learn from her.

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