A few years ago, a former employee from TheLadders met Orlando Ashford, a Board of Directors member from StreetWise Partners, the wonderful New York-based organization that provides job-skills training and career mentoring for job candidates facing employment barriers. They quickly discovered that TheLadders shared StreetWise Partners’ vision of helping individuals improve their lives by taking proactive steps for obtaining better jobs. In December 2011, TheLadders’ Founder & Chairman Marc Cenedella, along with CEO & Co-founder, Alex Douzet, announced StreetWise Partners as the official non-profit of their company. For more than a year, the partnership has continued to soar.
Last fall, StreetWise Partners helped announce that TheLadders had expanded to the sub-100K+ arena, enabling the online job-matching service to help all career-driven professionals, including StreetWise Partners’ motivated job candidates. However, the full partnership really bloomed in a conference room in December 2011, when a small team of StreetWise Partners and TheLadders employees quickly hashed out goals, and began planning our first live training seminar.
With 2013 on the horizon, we can reflect on a year’s worth of fantastic workshops and events, and we are more thankful than ever for this mutually rewarding partnership. Commemorating their inaugural year together, StreetWise Partners’ Executive Director, Tracey Allard, and TheLadders’ Director of Account Management, Thomas Murphy, share their most memorable highlights during a brief Q & A.
1. Why do you think that the partnership between StreetWise Partners and TheLadders is such a good match, benefitting so many job seekers?
Tracey Allard, StreetWise Partners: This partnership is a perfect alignment of the mission of StreetWise Partners and the business purpose of TheLadders. Together, we arm jobseekers with the tools, know-how, access, and resources to build their careers. For StreetWise Partners, the talents and expertise of TheLadders’ staff add value in the form of current career best practices, effective coaching techniques, and results-oriented, job-search strategies. The outcomes include a strengthened program curriculum and better-prepared mentors to help our trainees achieve short-, mid- and long-term goals and ultimately, to break the cycle of poverty and get on a path to economic self-sufficiency.
Thomas Murphy, TheLadders: I think the main driver of our success has been what we at TheLadders call “the right DNA.” Like any fast-moving tech company, our employees have to wear many hats. Whereas this may seem daunting to most, we embrace every challenge as an opportunity, from building a new website to creating a training program for StreetWise Partners in under 60 days. From day one, I knew that Tracey and her team had an identical attitude. Referring to the StreetWise Partners team as lean would be an understatement, as their reach makes them appear 10 times larger. To be frank, we knew all along we would be successful since we have a group of people fully dedicated to one goal of using their expertise to help others arm themselves with the skills needed for finding their next job.
2. In addition to celebrating the one-year anniversary of your partnership, StreetWise Partners is celebrating its 15-year anniversary and TheLadders will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in 2013. How does it feel to be a pioneer in your industry, especially as your efforts benefits so many job seekers?
TA: Since 1997, StreetWise Partners has delivered a deeply impactful, unique, and highly reputable career-mentoring program. Its efforts leverage and enrich the experiences of a diverse network of business professionals, models corporate-engagement best practices, and equips trainees with the skills, confidence, and strategies needed to achieve their career potential, break the cycle of poverty, and get on a path to economic self-sufficiency. The new year ahead marks a momentous time for us. After fifteen years of program delivery, we are poised to mature our programs, deepen our impact, and grow strategically. With the combined experience and expertise of a dedicated staff, the commitment of our Board of Directors, and support from high-impact corporate partners such as TheLadders, we can look forward to another 15 years of transforming lives!
TM: Searching for a job, at any income level, can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. For me, being part of a team which has helped countless, self-motivated job seekers find pride in their next career is truly humbling. Over my three-year tenure at TheLadders, especially during this last year partnering with StreetWise Partners, I was impressed by the unwavering commitment of our teams to stay at the forefront of information and training. Anyone who has participated in our partnership with StreetWise Partners knows that none of our information and support would be possible without Amanda Augustine. She has leveraged her role as Job Search Expert for TheLadders’ more than 5 million job seekers and ensured that her bespoke advice and support can be repurposed specifically for the StreetWise Partners’ trainees.
3. Over the past year, what is your favorite memory in working together?
TA: Our first Career Bootcamp in February 2012 was an eye-opening experience for me. I know that TheLadders’ staff is a talented bunch, but this inaugural half-day workshop illuminated the extent to which TheLadders’ team brings their “A-game” each and every time. The level of professionalism, content expertise, generosity, and enthusiasm that staff demonstrated was incredible!
TM: I cannot pick just one. Of course, creating and implementing our first onsite training in under eight weeks was an amazing feeling of pride and success. Both teams agreed to a lofty goal and, together, worked hard, knowing that our efforts would pay dividends to the larger community. However, there is a consistent feeling that makes every event special to me, especially when considering the way we have grown. Through the dedication and leadership of The Ladders’ Manager of Talent Specialists Christina Kane and Director of Sales Lou Ciniglia, every new volunteer always return for future events. There is something to be said about the programs and a community we create that makes our teams come back for more!
4. What traits do you think that Tom/Tracey possess that make him/her so effective at motivating others?
TA: Tom is a thoughtful doer and a natural leader. In spite of what I know must be incredibly busy days with his own work at TheLadders, he contributes meaningfully — and as promised — to every collaborative planning session, workshop design, implementation, and follow up. Tom models an exceptional level of civic leadership that enables StreetWise Partners to thrive as a result of this partnership.
TM: Inevitably, no matter how hard everyone has worked and prepped for one of our events, there will be that last-minute stress. It’s during those times that Tracey’s motivation truly shines through; she is always calm and thoughtful in those moments. She successfully listens to everyone’s concerns and helps guide the teams forward. On a personal level, I have never met someone so established in her profession, yet so open to others’ ideas and feedback. Every time Tracey asks “tell me what you think,” I am reminded and motivated to insist that my own mentors and peers help me perform my job better through their honest and helpful feedback.
Want to see TheLadders and StreetWise Partners in action? Come join us on January 10th for Job Central, an unusual and trailblazing event, hosted at Grand Central in midtown Manhattan. The best employers, recruiters, and career experts in the New York metro area will come together to conduct a free, comprehensive job-search experience for professionals looking to make their next career move. See you there!
Lisa Hagendorf is the Vice President of Public Relations for TheLadders where she is a huge ambassador of the brand in the office. At the gym. And on the street. She just can’t stop talking about TheLadders. Ever.