Gayle Randa, EOD Partner
Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore!
Have you ever opened your eyes to find yourself in a strange land, far from family, facing the unknown and no way to get home? Does this scenario sound familiar? If you are a movie buff like me, you might think it's a scene from "The Wizard of Oz", but in reality, it is a scene from my life.
I grew up in Kansas where I had a really good life.....close family; kids happy; successful husband; a job I loved where I was respected and valued..... the list went on and on! With this life, I would never leave Wichita! Well, remember what can happen when you say "Never"! Long story short, I accepted a new position and moved my family to St. Louis. This once in a lifetime opportunity was something I just could not turn down. I called it my "Big Job".......big company, big responsibilities and big pay. Honestly, I couldn't even dream up a job as good as this!
Three years later, I wake up with no job, no friends, and far from home. In many ways, I felt like Dorothy. Obviously, my dream job didn't turn out to be so dreamy and after two years, I decided to leave. At the time, I wasn't worried about finding another job. I was confident that with my skills and experience I could land something quickly. WOW, was I surprised when after applying for every HR executive position in St. Louis, I still didn't have a job. Even after expanding my search to outlying cities and reducing my salary expectations, I had no luck. What was I doing wrong? How could a seasoned HR executive with 20 plus years of experience end up in the basement talking to her cats all day!
I did what many of us do when trying to find a job, I got on the Internet! I was on it for hours a day and had joined every job board known to man but still no offers. I didn't even get rejected, I got nothing. It was like my resume was invisible. I was worried and scared. I had uprooted my family, took them away from all our friends and family to pursue a dream that had vanished. The guilt I felt was overwhelming. So out of shear desperation, I read a book that had been given to me a year earlier, a book about how to navigate a job transition. I hadn't read it, because frankly I already knew everything about resumes and interviewing, I was in HR! But at that point I was willing to try anything.
The book was Frank Danzo's People Hire People - Not Resumes and it changed me and the way I approached my job search. His book is based on connecting with people and how those connections can lead you to your next great position. It reminded me that my career success had been in part due to the relationships I had built. I immediately connected with his philosophy. I devoured every word and then took it one step further by contacting Frank to ask if I could formally go through his program.
Backing up a bit, Frank and I had actually met while I was still at "Big Job". He had been hired to provide outplacement assistance for one of the executives I worked with. I stayed in contact with that executive throughout the next year and when I ended up leaving "Big Job", he suggested I contact Frank. This is the part where I thought I didn't need help but thankfully my pride didn't get in the way of reading his book. Now, fast forward to today. I woke up this morning as the newest member of the Experience on Demand team! Just like Dorothy who found her way back to Kansas, I found my way back to a rewarding career.
By joining the Experience on Demand team, I get to work with a group of highly skilled and respected professionals representing all aspects of business. This team is made up of strategy design and execution experts whose ultimate goal is to help businesses strengthen performance and improve bottom lines. Plus, they are really nice and genuine people too!
Being a partner at Experience on Demand, I am excited to provide HR solutions that will have a positive and lasting impact on companies everywhere. Clients will have access to my 20 years of experience in leading HR initiatives including strategic planning, workflow design, mergers and acquisitions, policy and procedure development, performance management, employee engagement, organizational and leadership development, and culture transformation.
Listed below are some of the specific services I provide:
- HR Strategic Plan Development
- HR Department Effectiveness Assessments
- Interim HR Leader Services
- Outsourced HR Services
- HR Policy and Procedure Development
- Outplacement Support
- Mergers and Acquisition Assistance
- Employee Engagement Surveys
- Leadership Audits
- HR Leader and Staff - Coaching and Counseling
- Performance Management Systems
- Recruitment and Selections Strategies
In summary, just like Franks' book suggests, it was my network of connections that led me to Experience on Demand and ultimately to being a Partner with the firm. Had I not stayed in contact with my former colleague, I might not have found this opportunity. Through this experience, I learned a valuable lesson. That is, never stop making new connections and holding one to current ones. I spent months trying to find a job on my own but ultimately found it with the help of a former colleague, right in my own backyard. (a famous quote from "The Wizard of Oz"!).