Mee Derby founder and president Robin Mee talks about the path to entrepreneurship, work-life balance and finding passion.
Your career started right out of college, running a government program helping to find jobs for disadvantaged youth. How did that lead to staffing ?
The real thread of my career has been putting people to work. At first it was public service oriented. The Summer Youth Employment Program found jobs for young people between the ages of 14 and 21 who were economically disadvantaged and under the poverty line. We also developed an award winning pilot project that employed deaf students. Even though it was working for a federally funded program in Fairfax County VA the environment was surprisingly entrepreneurial. With my coworker and high school friend, we kicked off the program every summer and it was up to us to recruit the teens, develop the jobs and make sure everyone was paid on time. I decided to move into the private sector and transition my “putting people to work” skills to the staffing industry. Seven years later I became an entrepreneur by starting Mee Derby. We have been slowly growing for more than 26 years now, to the point that we are today a leading search firm for the staffing industry.
How has Mee Derby evolved in that time ?
Over 26 years, I’ve built a team of people, a solid core of like-minded professionals who embrace the same values of community, communication, integrity, and results who are passionate about the staffing industry. We aspire to innovation and harness technology in a way that allows us to work effectively. Technology provided us access to people, to each other, and enhances work-life balance. The company evolved from an corporate headquarters on K Street to virtual officing across the United States.
Today we are staffing subject matter experts whose advice and perspective is highly regarded. Our scope is national and focused on senior level search. And that comes back to making a difference in our clients’ and candidates’ lives.
How has the virtual office changed the way you work?
It has improved the quality of my life. I don’t waste one to two hours in the car every day and am able to spend my time in other ways. I may work more, but I also get to manage my time differently. Everyone on my team has complete control over how they manage their time. How powerful is that?
Our business model and focus have been consistent over the years, but no two days are the same. Every conversation is different. We are helping people make career choices one individual at a time.
Do you have any advice for people considering entering the staffing industry ?
This a a great career! You get to truly make a difference in the people’s lives. Meaningful work is at the core of the human condition. This a fast paced, people-centric business with long term career opportunities.
Favorite words of wisdom?
“You don’t get what you don’t ask for.”
Who inspires you?
All the women leaders in the staffing industry.
What can’t you do without?
Eight hours of sleep.
How do you like to spend your weekends and holidays ?
Surrounded by family and friends. Outdoors as much as possible, whether a walk, a hike, a bike, a kayak, a swim, or sitting on a dock watching the sunset. Travel, new experiences, reading, good food,and yoga.
Connect with Robin on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org