A glimpse into the life of executive recruiter Betsy Grady, who has helped Mee Derby connect top talent with great opportunity since 2003.
How did you get into staffing?
After college, I started in retail management – the Buyer training program for a large department store. I was selected to run a wine & gourmet shop and did that for several years The store was sold and then closed. I moved to northern Virginia near family and took a wine consultant position at a local distributor for nine years. The alcohol beverage laws changed, and I was looking for my next career so I started doing art & graphic design because I studied that in college. It landed me to a creative staffing firm called the Boss Group (now a client of Mee Derby) selling the services of graphic design and creative professionals. When Boss moved their office to Maryland, I joined a Legal staffing company, Hobart West, and led the perm placement team, working with the top law firms in DC metro area. 9/11 hit the staffing industry hard- business dried up in Legal Staffing – so a friend recommended I talk to Robin Mee to help me find another staffing position. Robin suggested I work with her to place people in the staffing industry. That was in 2003. I’ve been doing executive recruiting in the staffing industry for Mee Derby ever since.
How did your time in the wine business compare to staffing?
Both are customer service focused and all about developing relationships. What I miss is the conversation: “What do you do?” “I’m in the wine business” and then they’d really get excited. Now I say “I’m a recruiter” and they say “Can I send you my son’s resume?”
Since you joined the staffing industry, how have you seen it change over the years?
When I first started in staffing, it was still note cards and white boards! Now staffing is more automated and technology driven. When I started at Mee Derby we were working mostly local and meeting our clients and candidates in person. Today everyone works online and on the phone. We now work nationally. LinkedIn has drastically changed how we do business. It has enabled us to be much more targeted in our recruiting approach and more connected in the staffing industry. Social Media has allowed us to be more visible as a brand. Mee Derby’s business has nearly doubled since I started as a result.
What would you tell someone considering entering staffing?
It’s an excellent career path for recent college graduates. There are so many different paths you can take in staffing – Executive Search, professional services staffing, projects, sales, recruiting. Staffing is a sales job, whether you’re a recruiter or in sales. It’s excellent training because you work on commission – the more people you place, the more money you make, which is great experience for many kinds of careers.
What are your passions outside work?
I’m a painter. I love the art community. I’m involved with the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. taking classes and exhibiting. I also volunteer for the Alexandria hospital. I’ve been chairing the annual wine tasting. I practice yoga, and love the experience of traveling to anywhere I’ve never been. Our last big trip was the south of France.
What can’t you do without?
Exercise – whether it’s working out or yoga.
Do you have a personal mantra you can share?
“We make a living by what we get… but we make a life by what we give.”