Hiring for Good Ep. 1 with Tanis & Suzanne

Hiring for Good

Our inaugural episode of “Hiring For Good” with hosts Tanis Morris and Suzanne Hanifin is now live! Hiring For Good examines how leadership has the power to transform a company, community, and society at large. Listen now on your favorite podcast platform and embark on a journey of leadership insights. Stay tuned for more empowering episodes to come!

Hiring for Good Podcast Ep. 1

We talk about hiring for longevity, hiring to elevate organizational operations and mindset, and how the effects of exceptional leadership extend far beyond the walls of the workplace. Through a series of thoughtful conversations with leaders from a broad organizational array, we explore the beautiful and powerful ways the teams we build at work can also reshape the world we live in.

Tanis Morris: Director of Business Development at Acumen Executive Search Email: tanis@acumenexecutivesearch.com

Suzanne Hanifin: President at Acumen Executive Search Email: suzanne@acumenexecutivesearch.com

Acumen Executive Search, Portland, Oregon, is proud to present the Hiring For Good Podcast. Join us as we examine the transformative power of leadership. Through discussions with impactful leaders, we explore hiring for longevity, hiring to elevate organizational operations and mindset, and how the effects of exceptional leadership extend far beyond the walls of the workplace. Follow Acumen Executive Search to be notified of new episodes.

Hiring for Good Ep. 1 Transcript

0:00 well good morning this is Suzanne Hanifin with Acumen Executive Search the founder and the president and I am here

0:06 today with the lovely Tanis Morris and Tanis had this brilliant idea to start a

0:13 podcast and I kind of wanted to go from the very beginning of what were your thoughts we’ll kind of dive into what

0:20 we’re hoping for here what our end goal and to hear more about Tanis and her

0:26 story great well you know truthfully I love podcasts I listen to them all the

0:32 time I find them so informative and uh

0:37 actually you know interesting and empowering and have helped me like think

0:42 about you know my work or my life or myself and all these different ways so

0:48 um and then you know everyone under the sun is starting a podcast these days but I felt like we had some really impactful

0:55 stories to share um the work that we do at Acumen is is really impressive and exciting and I

1:04 think it makes um if you stop and think about it the stories of bringing

1:11 powerful impactful leaders to organizations are really the stories of

1:17 how businesses grow and so I wanted to share those stories and and share them

1:22 through the lens of of what a what a tool this is to like you know make the

1:28 make your community better make your organization better to grow as a person and and so you know hiring for good is

1:35 really all these different aspects of of what it means to join a team

1:42 and make the company better grow as a person you know help your community

1:48 hopefully and and learn in the process so that’s what I’m that’s my vision

1:54 we’re gonna do it together absolutely well and you mentioned hiring for good

1:59 because hiring for good the connotation is greater than yourself and I would love to hear how

2:07 your journey and your background and how you ended up at Acumen because I think

2:12 this is a perfect example of hiring for good yeah well so my I have a very

2:18 non-traditional background um in to to be in this role and to be in this world

2:24 but it’s it’s working out pretty well so far I would say but uh my early career

2:30 was in startups and I can’t say enough good things about um the experience of

2:37 working for a small organization and getting to do a ton of different uh jobs

2:43 and and really learn a lot of different aspects of of what it takes to make an organization grow and or even just

2:51 survive you know startups are kind of survival in the beginning and then um so

2:57 the experience of working in that world world was just so formative for me and

3:04 uh not only did I work there but my husband uh worked in that that world as well so uh at the time that I had my

3:10 first child I was the director of sales and marketing for a little scrappy startup that was starting to really um

3:18 get some traction and and and grow and scale and uh I was thinking that I would

3:25 just go right back to work but I I realized after H you know I think that my thought was like oh my first conference the baby will be 6 weeks old

3:32 so that’ll be great cuz that’s when people go back to work and I had no idea that you really at least I was unable to

3:39 run a national sales uh campaign and and have an infant child so I ended I

3:46 remember I was like I was talking to my boss he’s like I think we have to kind of confront the fact that you’re not

3:51 coming back and I said I feel like you’re breaking up with me but um you

3:57 know that that relationship continues on to this day but I did I did stop working and I took time to be with my kids and

4:04 then uh I think I’m just such a a business grower you know um I I did some

4:11 Consulting over the years and then that kind of morphed into writing so I started out doing BizDev and marketing

4:17 Consulting and then that sort of segued into writing marketing copy and then that kind of moved into um doing a lot

4:24 of different writing over the years so I wrote for magazines and uh the local newspaper

4:30 and I wrote um proposals for businesses and um grants and RFP you know all

4:37 different kinds of writing and so um that was great it was a really nice way

4:43 to kind of keep doing some work but get to be home with my children while they were growing up and my husband at the at

4:50 the same time uh has experienced a lot of really fascinating growth in his

4:57 career so he’s had a number of different exits and sort of move through all of these different corporate iterations of

5:04 a business from startup to you know Middle Market to a big huge corporation

5:11 he’s kind of had some um a fascinating trajectory in his own right and I’ve

5:17 really been on that ride with him um and have learned a lot from that that experience as well even though I was

5:24 kind of a more of a bystander um when I decided to to be truthful when my kids

5:31 were all teenagers I was like get me out of here I like I can’t be around these

5:37 these they’re not nice anymore you know so um I started looking for a team to join and I I joined an organization as a

5:44 writer but um you know all of these years of not only doing this

5:50 consultative work uh but also being a leader in community organizations being

5:56 an elected um government official the different work that I’ve done I found

6:02 that um I wasn’t really able to just shut up and write I wanted to you know help help

6:10 steer the ship a little bit so um a leader from that organization had

6:16 introduced me to a friend of hers who had a small um search firm that

6:22 specifically worked with nonprofits and that lovely lady offered me a job running running a division of

6:29 her business and I accept it I was excited to do the work but then as we were talking and and actually

6:35 negotiating back and forth she came back to me and um she said okay I she

6:43 actually she said I’m going to rescind my offer because I want to have a conversation with you and I was like okay you know like I’m I’m all yours and

6:50 uh when we talked the next time she said my job offer stands and we would

6:56 love to have you come and work for us but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I I think I would be

7:04 doing you and the world a disservice if I didn’t introduce you to my very good friend Suzanne

7:10 Hanifin and Suzanne has this you know very successful Executive Search firm

7:17 they do all of this work in bioscience and in you know high level thought

7:23 leaders so she’s kind of describing you and your business and inside of myself I

7:29 was like oh wow that sounds really good but I I had you know built a business plan for this other company and I really

7:38 really liked and appreciated this this leader so much so I was like well I will

7:43 meet Suzanne I of course I would love to meet her um but you know i’ I know I can

7:50 do this mission for you and she said okay well you know go ahead and meet Suzanne and I I don’t know what she said

7:57 to you about me but we met shortly after and then I I wrote her back after I met you and I said I’m not going to lie I

8:05 said kind of like a dream come true and when you and I met

8:11 um I almost felt like I was being punked you know cuz you if I recall in our

8:17 first meeting you said well do you like to drink wine said do you like to go on

8:23 vacation you know we all take a vacation to the sun and the and I was like what you know are you serious I’d get to do

8:29 all of these things and then the the the responsibilities that you had envisioned

8:35 for the way that my role would work at your company was so perfectly aligned with exactly what I love to do and my

8:44 skill set that I just it was just it’s just been like a gift I’m going to cry I

8:50 love my job I’m so happy to be working well and and I’m so glad you shared that

8:55 because I think as a business owner and as a leader it’s sometimes taking a chance I mean

9:01 when when Agnes Zach and we can I wasn’t sure if I could say her name or not yes Agnes she’s amazing we should bring her

9:08 on she’s fabulous give her a little plug when she reached out to me she said I know you’re not hiring but I found your

9:16 next person and sometimes when you don’t expect something and this gift is is

9:24 delivered to you it’s like shame on you for not accepting the gift

9:29 and and I tell you it again I love that story in this podcast on hiring for good

9:37 because it is about taking that chance sometimes and you’ve now been with

9:43 Acumen a whole whopping seven months seven months yeah I think we’re

9:48 seven but the impact that you can make not just to Acumen but all these

9:55 organizations and more importantly about the people people and that connection

10:01 and you talked about the connection of the alignment between goals Mission

10:07 Vision yeah I didn’t have a job available we figured it out yeah because

10:15 fit is critical so so again seven months taking a chance what do you see

10:22 the next seven years looking like oh my gosh I don’t know if I’ve gotten that

10:27 far I next yeah I mean so I I feel like I’m

10:35 just getting going in this job it has been really fun

10:40 I you know for me I love to meet people I love to learn

10:48 and I love to help and um to get to just go out and talk to the owners of

10:54 different organizations or the the leaders of those organizations

10:59 and understand how they’re growing their businesses what challenges they’re

11:06 facing where they’re looking to grow um and and then like kind

11:12 of how leadership meshes with all of those different elements is just so I’m

11:18 learning so much um so I I I think no matter what I’m

11:27 doing in this role I will always always be learning like and I it’s just like I

11:33 can’t get enough of it so that’s going to be a constant no matter

11:38 what uh I have big plans for the company I feel I feel like we’re just getting

11:45 going I would like to you know we’ve done a lot of regional placements um we’ve done a fair amount of out of state

11:53 placements I want to go Nationwide I I want to continue to

11:59 to synergize different local organizations

12:05 and Regional organizations to empower everybody and I think we’re just kind of starting to do that you know I’m taking

12:11 on a leadership role in uh ACG and I see

12:17 um you know trying to like tap into the power of these different organizations

12:22 and and then you know really start to to help companies

12:28 grow and then and then have us kind of serve as the the leadership arm of of that growth uh that that’s what I see

12:34 happening what do you see what’s your plan yeah I think we are very closely

12:42 aligned and it’s interesting again when you look at what we do and the impact we

12:48 can make almost immediately it is so satisfying to take that step back and a

12:54 year from now you’re going to go wow yeah look at this but I’m sure you have a story that we have you’ve seen an

13:02 organization change and it may not just be again the person or the organization but the community and you were just

13:09 sharing that you came back from a public health conference and you saw somebody

13:15 that we have placed in in public health changes everything Eve gray I yes Eve I

13:22 hope you listen to this and everyone should be aware of the power of um of Eve’s leadership so

13:29 I mean you know better than I because you placed her before I came on board at

13:34 Acumen but Eve Gray is the director of Health and Human Services in Lane County

13:39 and um you know I I was at this public health conference earlier this week and

13:45 I think on probably four or five different breakout sessions Lane County

13:51 was either presenting or the topic because they’re doing such Innovative work it was really interesting so my

13:58 particular um presentation topic was that the future of healthcare must be collaborative in nature and um like

14:07 exploring the synergies between Public Health primary care and Community Based

14:12 Organization organizations and right now um all of those kind of bodies typically

14:19 have siloed replicated efforts and so if you can synergize it’s better and Lane County under evees leadership is just

14:26 doing a phenomenal job they’re doing some really really interesting um new

14:32 approaches they’re using uh CCO funding or Medicare funding to help create a

14:39 program they call housing is health and they’ve actually ended up saving the county over a million dollars a year

14:45 just by using Medicaid funds to house unhoused folks and then be able to

14:52 deliver the medical care that they need instead of all these people going or

14:59 being arrested and being incarcerated it’s it’s just been so transformative and that is one out of like I don’t even

15:06 know how many examples in the session that I was in we had a a phenomenal

15:11 leader from from Lane County uh present after us who was discussing you know

15:18 just how Public Health has collaborated to emphasize and highlight the work of

15:23 all the various CBOs and they’ve created this sort of like you know open forum

15:29 for the CBOs uh to to come in and share what they’re doing and talk about challenges and then the County Public

15:35 Health is like pushing out information to the community to emphasize what’s available through CBOs it’s it’s and it

15:43 that seems like it should be just of course they are that makes sense but this does not happen so there it’s just

15:49 really fascinating I had multiple people come up to me at the conference and be

15:54 like how did Lane County figure all of this out I said I’ll tell you how it’s Eve and I mean that’s doing a disservice

16:01 to all the other fantastic leaders but you know you and I both know that

16:06 um organizational success really is a top- down thing so if you have if you

16:14 have a fantastic person at the top that is empowering and uplifting and you know

16:20 promoting their team yeah they’re they’re going to attract other great people and they’re going to allow their

16:26 team to do their best work and to and to you know take the reins and go and I I think it’s a great example you can

16:32 probably offer other ones I mean no but I wanted to bring that up because again having hiring for good as our podcast I

16:40 think it really does show and you said it beautifully that it does culture

16:47 Behavior success of an organization really does start at the top and and

16:52 it’s not just one leader it’s a group of leaders and it’s that executive team

16:59 and we talked earlier about this alignment of goals and vision how we had it yeah and when it’s synergizes it’s an

17:07 amazing thing and Lane County is the perfect example of one Higher changing

17:14 processes which again is reaching this bigger bigger group of people so and

17:20 really like and literally benefiting their community and the world you know it’s like this is a very specific

17:26 example I know we’re going to talk about all different kinds of organizations but as it so happens for this first one

17:33 we’re talking about a a public organization that is truly like saving lives and helping people who are

17:40 suffering you know find find some resources and some help or more effectively you know so it’s it’s a

17:47 really beautiful thing absolutely absolutely and and I think that’s why I

17:53 love what we do because we can affect change and and big big change but it

18:01 doesn’t always happen that way because sometimes it’s also the small companies that can flex and change and be so

18:08 nimble and dynamic that you know we’ve also worked with those organizations

18:15 that you know two years later three years later like oh my God look at this

18:21 growth look at this this change that they’ve done and and the excitement of that yeah so it’s it’s going to an

18:28 exciting oh it’s it’s there’s nothing more fun to talk about I bothering everyone talking about like how

18:35 companies grow and it’s just it to me it is just the most fascinating conversation and really fun and I think

18:44 um you know one thing I really like about Acumen is we’re not just about you

18:51 know a successful company isn’t just a company that has a really impressive

18:56 fiscal story to tell a successful company is one that is Mission driven

19:01 that you know we we care about working with organizations that do have you know

19:09 a directive to make the world a better place in some way whether you know whether it’s as um literal as a Public

19:16 Health Organization or as you know metaphorical as maybe a a bioscience

19:24 company that is driven by the desire to cure

19:29 and that’s not metaphor that’s actually literal very we work with a number yes

19:34 yes yes yes let me think of a good metaphorical I don’t know um you know or companies that are just like you know

19:40 our mission is to um make our

19:46 employees feel joyous to come to work and then that ripples out into the communities they live in people are

19:52 happy in their work lives then they that frees them up to to do good in other places yeah yeah and it’s interesting

19:59 you you talk about being Money Motivated and there are organizations that truly

20:05 are and again it comes from the top and you know the emphasis is what does this

20:10 quarter look like where are we and um and then you get such opposite

20:18 organizations that want to cure cancer to change the world to do this and and I

20:25 would probably put Acumen in that for you told me yes when I came on I think

20:30 your exact words were if you do the right thing and help others and do good work the money always comes you don’t

20:37 need to worry about it I I think you said almost those exact words and yeah

20:42 and so so it was a very interesting meeting I had this morning um with with

20:48 somebody in my industry and we’re in kind of a new networking group together

20:55 and um and I said well what is your your goal for the next year and he said to

21:00 grow revenue and the other gentleman that that I was with I asked him what

21:07 was you know what’s your goal and he said to build connections oh and that

21:13 yeah you can tell who I’m going to work with and who I want to work with yes and

21:19 um again the alignment of goals and Mission if it’s not there it’s not a

21:27 good match I you know I’m I’m always down to make some money but the truth is

21:32 I I I love kind of stepping out of the traditional Workforce for a while and

21:39 then coming back in as a as a grown-up I would say I was a grown-up is then but

21:44 like now I really am and I just the I believe so strongly that like

21:52 when you help others when you uplift and Empower other others when you seek to

21:59 bring value and help and do good it all comes back to you and so I’ve and it

22:06 just like changes your life to to have that be the directive when you wake up it’s like what can I do to like help

22:12 others if I start to get anxious like oh I don’t know if I have stuff happening I will pick up the phone and start to like

22:19 can I introduce you to this person can I help like and then it all just circles back around it’s it’s so fascinating

22:25 it’s like this beautiful math equation uh for your life well I think that’s a

22:30 challenge we should have a mathematician figure out what the write that calculus down yeah

22:38 that well no I I think it again I think it fits beautifully on what we are

22:45 hoping for this podcast what we are hoping for ourselves for Acumen and the

22:52 community we live in because if everybody kind you know is doing things

22:58 not just for them but doing things because it is the right way yeah and the

23:03 right thing to do like you said money always comes yeah and um and I know

23:10 that’s hard when you need money to have that perspective because we’ve all been

23:16 there too and um but to just think bigger than yourself absolutely yeah

23:24 yeah any questions that or anything you want to bring up tan this is your show

23:29 well it’s our show and I think if I had any question I

23:34 would I actually would be curious if you don’t mind you know you

23:40 asked me about how I came to you and you told me about what Agnes said but what

23:46 was your thought process cause I know you weren’t looking to were you just like okay we’re just going to make it happen

23:53 cuz cuz I’m I know you get introduced to people all the time I’m not and not me

23:58 being like toot my own horn I’m I’m like really legitimately curious that how you made that decision to work it out it was

24:05 the easiest decision I ever made I mean that sounds silly to say but I do talk

24:11 to people that’s my job all day long as I talk with people and they may be

24:18 clients they may be candidates it may be networking it may be business partners

24:23 that’s my job and when you and I sat down and we started kind of sharing who

24:29 we are what we’re hoping for what we’re looking at oh everything just came

24:35 crystal clear it was unbelievable it’s like oh she’s not recruiting you’re in

24:41 business development yes for sure yes you know it it was crystal

24:47 clear and it has I’ve not looked back okay well good and yeah so there you

24:54 know we talk about because we are women run comp women run office we’re all

24:59 women that we have intuition and shame on us for not listening to our

25:06 intuition and you know when it’s such an easy oh Nob brainer we we got to do this

25:13 you have to do it yeah I was really excited when I came back from meeting you and I was telling my husband about it and then he’s like are you going to I

25:21 said it’s in the back I know you know he’s like he like well they’re going to you know it’s a few months you and I

25:26 both say time kills all deal and so I think my husband knows that and he he’s like well you know they’re waiting a

25:32 little bit I’m like John it’s fine it’s going to work out great I know it is and all this stuff I just I felt that same

25:38 kind of way yeah you know the hardest part was telling Agnes I wasn’t going to work for which I felt I’m sorry Agnes

25:44 but um but I think it she was so lovely she said yeah and and again here we are

25:52 she did the right thing we’re we’re giving her props and and saying her name

25:58 over and over so again it comes back doesn’t it yeah and I have referred tons

26:04 of business I have too yeah I too so again it’s it’s another example of

26:11 looking bigger than yourself absolutely yes anything else that you wanted to ask

26:17 me what do you find to be the most gratifying part of the work that you do

26:24 oh my gosh a I love people and when you see somebody so happy and

26:31 excited for a new opportunity a new you know the next five years are

26:38 open to them and it’s all possibility it feels so good but then we come back in

26:45 six months to a year and we always do our case studies and that’s kind of where the rubber hits the road and

26:53 because everybody goes through a honeymoon period and you know everybody is like oh Kumbaya this is so fabulous

27:01 and it’s during those case studies to where you say what

27:07 have you achieved what does the next six months look like and you get this insight and the real sense of

27:15 accomplishment and and you go six months to a year can you really accomplish that much yes good leaders can and it may be

27:25 subtle or may be small but they have again this vision of what tomorrow is going to look

27:31 like and that’s when I go we did our job yeah that’s beautiful I think that

27:39 for me this is a new industry um and and like I said I’m learning all the time

27:46 but when I had my very first contract you know like that I brought and it came

27:51 in pretty quick I think I was still a little bit transactional in my mindset at that time

27:58 because I was thinking like all right you know we got a contract this guy’s going to be hired and it’s great and you

28:04 know what a win for the for the company owner and you know to get someone great and all that and then the candidate who

28:11 we hired wrote us and he just said I could not be more thankful you

28:19 changed my whole life this is my dream job I’m making you know he was making a

28:24 great salary doing what he loved and he just he was so thankful and so excited

28:31 about his role I mean it was very humbling and I realized like oh there’s a lot more to this than

28:38 just you know getting a win for a there’s all there’s all these different

28:43 moving parts to this business and it’s people it’s it’s it’s be it’s like this

28:50 beautiful way to like support company growth and like have people have great

28:56 lives you know it was like very humbling I I realized like there’s a big responsibility here and it’s like

29:03 beautiful and exciting and and and gratifying in a way I did not intend or

29:08 understand and I’ve been doing this well acumen’s been around over 16 years yeah I love what I do yeah I not only change

29:17 a person a company the commun I kind of feel like we can change the world and

29:22 when we are so intentional and really understand what motivates a person what motivates an

29:30 organization and that connection and that alignment there’s nothing like it

29:35 it is pretty amazing and you know and sometimes it makes me sad because I

29:41 think others in this industry take it as a transaction how much money am I going

29:47 to make we’ll throw a body in this we you know we don’t care this is the way

29:53 it’s going to go and taking that different approach and having that different attitude it also allows us to

30:01 pick and choose our clients which has power in that

30:07 too yes that we don’t have to take it because they don’t align with us and we

30:14 would not be a good fit with them very true yeah yeah have you ever had a bass

30:19 that said you don’t need to take all the business only you you’re the only

30:25 one thank you no yeah it’s really good well I guess my last question would be what does hiring

30:33 for good mean to you oh boy there’s so many connotations and different Avenues

30:38 you can go on hiring for good and I think that’s why I love the the name of

30:44 this podcast because I mean like as we were talking this last I don’t know 40

30:49 minutes or so you know it is about the individual it is about the company it is about the

30:56 community it is about the world and for me bringing that

31:04 change and bringing that possibility to someone and seeing them thrive and grow

31:12 there’s nothing like it in the world and I I like I said I love what we

31:20 do and um so hiring for good means to me

31:25 going beyond and it’s the bigger picture yeah beautiful yeah beautiful thank you

31:32 thank you [Music]

31:45 Tanis