Teena Christel runs her boutique consulting firm from a 2nd floor office suite in Edmonds, Washington, with a stunning view of the Olympic mountain range within a stone’s throw of the Puget Sound. A visionary entrepreneur, Teena combined her 20-plus years’ experience in the staffing and marketing industries as well as her own personal commitment to excellence to establish MySource Consulting, a staffing firm focused on uniting consultants and employers for the best possible outcome.
Teena and her staff of four, three recruiters (Cathy, Sheila, and Eva) and an Office Manager/Recruiting Coordinator (Jeanette), firmly believe that to be successful they need to provide rich, focused, and personal care to their consultants and their clients. They understand that to be competitive, they have to go beyond just skills matching. They can’t just “plop” people in jobs or “fill a chair” for a manager with a job vacancy. They have to partner with their consultants and their clients, helping both with each element necessary to allow maximum success in a given project or role. Their boutique-based business model entailed taking the time to get to know each and every candidate personally. They invest time in understanding their clients’ business and culture. This knowledge and relationship proved to be a key formula in making the right fit, both for the talent and the client. They learned that if their consultants are happy and challenged in their work, then they produce the best results and their clients are pleased. They also realized that their most successful clients are the ones who invest time back to share their vision with MySource Consulting and treat them as a true business partner. That model provided MySource Consulting with a win/win/win situation for the firm, the consultants, and the clients…well, most of the time.
Lately, Teena has been looking out of her office window not to check out the beautiful islands across the bay or watch the comings of goings of the ferries, but to try to find some inspiration to solve some of the challenges her small business is experiencing. Most pressing:
- How do we keep the personalized interaction with our increasing pipeline of talents without spending so much time in traffic traveling to Seattle and nearby cities for meetings and interviews?
- How do we support our growing number of consultants without increasing the number of staff members and overhead?
- What is the best way for us to collaborate and communicate with our consultants and clients more efficiently and effectively?
- How do we position ourselves as a boutique yet cutting-edge staffing firm to attract talent?
- How do we convince prospective clients that even though we’re a small business, we are better than our big name competition because of our specialized skills approach and unique on-boarding process?
- What can we do to focus on growing our business without having to establish an IT department to deal with mind-boggling technical issues like privacy and security, file server maintenance, forgotten passwords, etc.?
- How do we leverage the business intelligence we’ve accumulated over the years to build projections and dashboards so we can make data-driven decisions?
While mulling over these and other challenges one day, Teena’s attention was suddenly diverted by the sight of a beautiful double-crested cormorant, a common winter visitor in the Edmonds Marina, diving expertly into the water to catch a small fish and then flying off with head held high towards the sky. She was struck by how perfectly suited these birds are for their challenge—great vision, quickness, agility, and even the ability to plunge into frigid waters without fear of hypothermia!
It suddenly occurred to Teena that she and the cormorant had a lot in common. She had survived and thrived in business because of her vision, quickness, and agility. And just as there was an abundant supply of food in the Puget Sound for the bird, there was an almost endless supply of possibilities in a technology she uses and takes for granted every day: the internet. She realized she had to draw inspiration from the cormorant and stop hesitating to take the plunge.
As a former board member of “Women in Technology,” Teena had heard someone talk about how cloud technologies delivered through the internet were going to change the way we work. She also recalled a conversation with a geek friend who was gushing about a web-based conferencing solution that allows for an almost face-to-face meeting experience.
It was at that moment that Teena realized: MySource Consulting was ready for the cloud and she was ready to take the plunge!
Note: This is the first of a three-part series documenting MySource Consulting’s journey to the cloud. Stay tuned to find out what Cathy and Teena (left to right below) are excited about and how they managed to keep a balancing act to be productive and grow the business without losing their personal touch.