Running A Woman-Owned Staffing Agency, Lakeshore Talent

  • Published on:
    March 17, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes

Since 1995, Lakeshore has provided Staffing, Recruiting and Payrolling services to employers in Denver and Chicago across multiple industries. A company committed to achieving success by matching top talent with the right opportunities. In 2017, Lakeshore re-branded as Lakeshore Talent after a management buyout, becoming a women-owned company. Lakeshore Talent has a dynamic team of Account Executives focused on sales and the client experience and a talented team of Recruiters focused on candidate recruitment and candidate experience. Lakeshore Talent offers a higher level of service as a result, and takes pride in building strong relationships worthy of loyalty with both clients and candidates.

Running a staffing agency might seem simple at first glance, but a lot goes on behind the scenes. It’s more than just sourcing candidates and gaining new clients. From the front office to the back office, from bureaucracy to crises, staffing agency owners have a lot on their plates. Their time is spread thin, and they wear many hats.

With the right knowledge, skills, and expertise, however, you can start a recruitment firm from the ground up and turn it into a successful venture. We had the opportunity to talk with Mary Clark, Natalie Van Roekel and Lindsay Nossaman of Lakeshore Talent about how they became the owners of Lakeshore Talent and what they can share about their management experiences.

How did you get started?   

The 3 of us all had worked for Lakeshore Talent for several years prior to becoming owners, with Mary leading the Denver team, and Lindsay and Natalie leading the company’s recruiting efforts. In 2016, we were approached with a unique opportunity for a Management Buyout. While none of us had set out to become entrepreneurs, we had intimate knowledge of the business and great confidence in ourselves and the team we had been building for several years. Once we decided to take the leap, we partnered with an M&A professional and after 10 months of negotiations, we became official owners in August of 2017. 

What do you like about what you do? 

First and foremost, we love being able to take part in matching people with jobs. We’re able to positively impact lives by helping people advance their careers and find jobs that they love as well as helping company leaders build their teams and achieve their goals. Staffing can be very challenging, but it is fast-paced and centered around building relationships. We have also really embraced leading our organization and offering our employees a happy, flexible, positive, and motivating culture.  

What is important in having the right business partners? What do you have to look for? 

Respect, trust and a shared vision are the three critical elements to have in a successful partnership.  We all need to know we can rely on each other through both successful times, and more challenging times. We each have our own unique roles and purposes within the company and all depend on each other to do our part. Additionally, being able to handle setbacks as a team and still enjoy each other’s company really helps mitigate the stress that often comes with business ownership. 

What is the most rewarding?  ​ 

It’s most rewarding to be a part of growing an entire organization, seeing the impact that we have on our team, and watching them grow both professionally and personally. We are very fortunate to have a team that believes in us and celebrates our achievements. Thinking of the future and being able to accomplish our goals as a team is very exciting. 

What are you goals/dreams for the future? 

We would like to expand our business, and grow to $25M in revenue while also maintaining the flexible, positive, and upbeat culture that we have built. We also plan to continue to climb the Top Staffing Company and Women Owned Business Lists here in Denver 

How do you balance work and life?  

Part of what makes Lakeshore Talent so unique is the flexibility that we offer our entire team, including working remotely over 50% of the time, unlimited PTO, and a very flexible schedule. This also makes it easier to balance our lives with work. That said, when you own the company, you are responsible for the team and the successful operation of the business. We are never truly “off”, but we don’t find that to be a burden, because we love what we do. Giving our attention to what needs it most in the moment is generally the best approach. It is important to be present in what you are doing when you are doing it. We place a lot of importance on family, friends, and enjoying life and know that that only makes us even better leaders in our organization. 

What is your secret to being an effective director in terms of managing the company culture and values you need to make the company successful? 

We’re not sure it’s a secret, but we really focus on communication and listening to our team. They are what make us successful, and their satisfaction and happiness is our top priority. Keeping them fully in the loop on decisions and being transparent and honest instills trust and loyalty. Listening to feedback and implementing appropriate changes helps them feel invested in the company. We also give the team a lot of autonomy and flexibility in their roles, which creates a positive culture and gives employees a sense of ownership. 

Busy startup entrepreneurs have lots of demands on their time and are often pulled in lots of different directions, do you have any tips for effective time management and what to focus on first? 

Focusing on the overall health of the business needs to be the main priority, which generally means paying close attention to both the morale of the company as well as the financial health of the business. Keeping things in perspective also really helps to manage time. Rather than getting overwhelmed by an ever-growing to-do list, targeting one thing at a time and prioritizing immediate needs helps keep things manageable. 

What traits do you look for when building a team? 

Attitude is huge for us. While relevant experience and work history plays a part, it’s most important to find people who are positive, self-motivated, and inspiring to others while also humble and down-to-earth. Sense of humor is also a big plus, as laughter always helps get through the tough days! 

Share us some tips for women who are in doubt of leaving their secure job and starting their own business.  

Be prepared. Do your research and use any resources possible. If there is anyone in your network or connections that has done something similar, don’t be shy about reaching out for assistance. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your goals. Remember that you are betting on yourself. If you are the kind of person who always finds a way to get it done, at work and at home, this will be no different; believe in yourself!  

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