Why I Decided to Help My Competitors Build their Teams

Why I Decided to Help My Competitors Build their Teams

Posted on November 3, 2017

Refine Recruitment would like to officially introduce our new VP, Recruitment Services, Patricia Whitney. A previous VP in Display, Search and Media, here’s her own take on why she left the agency environment to become a headhunter in digital marketing and creative.

I love what I do; I’ve always loved what I do. I’m a marketer at heart and when I was first introduced to digital marketing early on in my career, I was hooked.  There’s something about technology combined with consumer behaviour and impact that has always appealed to me, made me excited to work hard to get the results I was after. I was driven to make a change and digital was the catalyst to this.

As I progressed in my career, I quickly learned many things that seemed so cliché at the time but became my modus operandi:

Over time, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with successful digital teams comprised of intelligent, hard-working members with the right attitude and potential to achieve…they were hungry to drive results; their experience was icing on the cake.

The Proof is in the Pudding

This past summer, I had a moment of career reflection that would alter my seemingly straightforward path. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make an impact on the digital industry I was so passionate about. I wanted to help the incredibly skilled and talented team members I’ve worked with (and those I have yet to meet), connect with the companies that needed and deserved them. And in turn, help digital teams and businesses succeed (my clients and competitors) and continue to re-invest in people – customers and team members alike.

In this moment of career reflection, I identified that one of the major reasons I loved what I did was because I worked with colleagues, friends who inspired me to be the best marketer, leader, mentor I could be. Several years ago, I was in the process of expanding my media team and met a media planner candidate.  He was smart, had media operations experience and was incredibly passionate…about everything. His energy was infectious. I HAD to have him on my team. He had loads of potential to make an impact on the business and I was determined not to let him slip away. I was fortunate enough to hire him and we worked together to achieve some pretty ambitious goals. We had our moments; big wins, some disappointing losses, lots of candid feedback (which went both ways), and tons of personal and professional development (again, on both sides). Over the years, he continued to show me what he was capable of, and pushed me to be the best manager I could be. I, in turn, continued to encourage and support him, provide him with opportunities to develop and shine. He has since moved on to become the Head of Programmatic at a well-known media agency in Asia and I couldn’t be more thrilled for him.

Why am I telling you all of this? This individual, like so many I have worked with, taught me some of the greatest lessons in my career:

  1. Hire those you see potential in. Dig deep and learn about what drives them, where they’ve been and where they want to go. I always loved hearing about what team members did outside the office because it helped me see the bigger picture, the potential each person had to make an impact.
  2. You only get out what you put in, so invest in team members. Put the time in to help them identify their strengths and spend even more time and attention on areas for growth and development. The return on that investment will be greater than you can imagine.
  3. Provide opportunities where you can. Empower teams to utilize their strengths, trust that they will make the best decisions for all parties involved and you will all benefit.
  4. There is so much talent in the industry working at organizations that don’t give them the opportunity to reach their full potential.
  5. On the flip side, there are organizations operating at sub-par because they lack the talent they need to take them to the next level.

With these lessons in mind, I knew it was time for me to do something more. I made the leap and decided it was time for me to take action; even if it meant helping my competitors build their digital teams to succeed.  The way I see it, competitor or otherwise, it’s important and rewarding to see our industry flourish with great talent that results in delighted customers.

Making a Difference

I have officially committed myself to helping candidates and organizations connect with one another, to refine recruitment in digital marketing and creative.  Why recruiting?

  • DIGITAL. I love digital marketing. I’m passionate about tech and the people who leverage tech to make great things happen. I want to continue to help the industry grow.
  • PEOPLE/TALENT. As a manager, I really enjoyed bringing the best individuals together to collaborate. It’s a bit of an art to take a collection of talented, hard-working team members and identify what each can bring to the table to achieve a common goal. When I was able to do this, it felt like we could conquer anything together.
  • CHANGE. I want to instill change. Now, more than ever, we should embrace the changes that are taking place in employment. I strive to reach that point where we don’t have to think about equality in the workplace because companies are hiring purely for skills and talent. Think: The Voice, except instead of singers, it’s the best candidates who are passionate about what they do, and instead of Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, it’s small, medium-size and large businesses all over the world, giving candidates the opportunity to make an impact.

Onward and Upward

I am ready and inspired. I’ve packed my [digital] toolkit and moved over to Refine Recruitment to work with some of the best in the industry (check out our CEO, Jennifer van Amerom, who is a master of her craft and has been helping companies and candidates internationally for over 15 years). I’m looking forward to making a difference and I hope you’ll join me for the ride (check back for posts on how the transition is going!). I’m extremely excited to continue working in digital, in a new capacity, and looking forward to helping individuals and businesses build the best and brightest teams.

Patricia Whitney, VP, Recruitment Services

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