I interviewed (through e-mail) Bronwyn Allen, President of High Profile in Dallas. She is a high-energy, smart, thinking leader. First, a little about her company, and her, and then the interview
About High Profile (from their website):
High Profile is an award-winning professional staffing and recruiting agency specializing in temporary and permanent career placement in human resources, executive assistant, receptionist, accounting and payroll jobs in Dallas.
About Bronwyn Allen
Bronwyn Allen began her career with High Profile in 1987 as a Recruiter. In 2000, she was made President of the company. During her tenure as President, the company has won numerous awards including Dallas Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work”, Dallas Chamber’s “Employer of Excellence”, “Recruiting Team of the Year” by DFW SMA and DFWTRN and, most recently, was one of five companies considered for “North Dallas Business of the Year”.
Additionally, Bronwyn initiated a program called Good Works! which not only steers a percentage of billings directly to clients’ designated charities but also highly encourages staff volunteerism. Overall, since the program’s inception, High Profile is proud to have helped over 65 charities in the DFW area.
Bronwyn is a sought-after speaker for professional conferences and industry events.
She has held board positions within DallasHR and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Girls Inc. Personally, Bronwyn is an avid runner and has completed many marathons around the country. She is married to her college sweetheart and has a beautiful teenage daughter.
Interview with Bronwyn Allen
Randy Mayeux: A little background? Share with us a couple of authors and books that have influenced you. How did they influence you?
Bronwyn Allen: Thanks Randy! When I was young, my Mother used to play tapes by Zig Ziglar while she was driving. Later, at age 15, I had the opportunity to meet Zig at a conference and became a huge fan. When I moved to Dallas, I even attended his Sunday school class at church to learn more. His See You at the Top book motivated me to create goals, track and measure them. Another book was The Path by Laurie Beth Jones. I read it in 1997 and it helped me put my purpose into words. Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey were also favorite influences. Covey says, “Seek first to understand then to be understood,” and that’s always resonated with me.
Randy: What other major influences would you say were especially important in your professional development?
Bronwyn: I’ve been so very blessed to have incredible mentors along the way. Each one has helped me gain confidence, learn more about the business world and how to lead others. Another wonderful resource for me has been cultivating relationships with other business owners. They’ve become great friends and colleagues that I can trust and glean wisdom and insights from.
Randy: What can High Profile provide for a company?
Bronwyn: After 27 years in business, we receive lots of valuable candidate referrals with top notch talent that can grow with our clients to help make a difference in their business. High Profile can provide a team of tenured, certified Recruiters, who can be an outstanding staffing resource for businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. By having certified staff, candidates have access to recruiters who have more knowledge and resources throughout the job search process.
Randy: What kinds of companies do you work most often with?
Bronwyn: We work with many of the finest companies in the Dallas area. Our clients have been recognized as Best Places to Work companies and they treat their employees well, so they typically have higher retention rates than their competitors. We work with a diversified client base, in a wide range of industries.
Randy: Why a staffing firm at all? Why shouldn’t the company simply hire another employee?
Bronwyn: The value of a staffing firm revolves around the relationships they’ve nurtured with candidates and businesses over the years. At High Profile, our goal is to connect the best candidates with the best companies.
Randy: You say that you are not just a staffing firm, but a “partner” with the companies that you serve. What do you mean by this?
Bronwyn: Our goal is to develop a strategic partnership with our clients to best determine how we can help them complement their goals by providing talent that will fulfill their long term staffing plans.
Randy: For many years now, the Gallup Organization has tracked “employee engagement” levels. The bad news: it has gotten no better. Year after year, about 70% of employees are “not engaged”. That seems to me to be a special challenge for people who work at companies, sometimes on a short-term basis, who are not actually employees of the company. Am I right about this? And, if so, how do you deal with this, with the people you work with?
Bronwyn: You are correct; engagement is such an important issue. It’s critical that we have rapport, a deep connection, and open communications with our candidates so they are recognized for their efforts and stay engaged even when they may be working in environments that are not focused on employee engagement.
Randy: Big picture issue: there are plenty of folks writing about the shortage of adequately trained workers. How do you find enough qualified people to provide to the companies you serve?
Bronwyn: Our best source of qualified talent comes from referrals.
Randy: “Soft skills; hard skills…” Do you sense that there is more of a shortage of the “hard skills” that companies need, or the “soft skills”?
Bronwyn: It’s all about the right culture fit. Finding the “hard skills” is the easy part, but finding the right culture fit is where the expertise of an insightful recruiter comes into play. This always ties back into the relationships that have been developed and those relationships are the foundation for the successful placement.
Randy: Bronwyn, I know you. You make the Super Bowl All-Star People Skills Team. And, most of the people who work with you would at least make the practice squad… So, what do you think — are people born with “People Skills,” or can they be developed?
Bronwyn: Thanks Randy! That’s so very kind and I appreciate that! I think we are all born with unique strengths that can be developed and honed. Some of those are more tied to people skills, some are not. When we look at hiring internal associates at High Profile we look for someone that loves developing long term relationships, has a proven track record of doing so, and has a passion to make a positive difference.
As Zig Ziglar used to say, “You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”
Randy: What career advice would you give a young man or woman to prepare for the changing work place?
Bronwyn: Determine what you want to accomplish, build your network, seek out mentors, follow-up with everyone, and track your progress.
Randy: What should I have asked you that I did not think to ask you?
Bronwyn: What has the First Friday Book Synopsis experience provided for me?
It’s an incredible way to start my Friday. I value all the insights gained from the books, and it’s a wonderful gift to share with staff members, colleagues, and friends! I’ve been attending for nearly 17 years and always think it’s been time well spent!
Bronwyn Allen has been a long-time participant and supporter of the First Friday Book Synopsis. High Profile is our February, 2015 sponsor.