One of our major focuses at Holistic is working with companies to empower women and to create structures with our clients that are going to help women rise through the organization and meet success. A fundamental underpinning of success in diversity and inclusion in the workplace is to establish inclusive leadership teams, which is a challenge that many of our clients face.

We’ve been working with Hirewell — a Chicago-based recruiting company — on a series of initiatives surrounding the employee experience and fostering an inclusive environment. Recently, Hirewell promoted Rosanna Krug to be a vice president of their HR recruiting team.

We caught up with Rosanna to chat about her recent promotion, her goals as a member of the leadership team, and her viewpoints on the best ways of engaging employees and fostering advancement at work. Please feel free to give a listen or read the transcript below. Congrats, Ro!



Holistic: Tell me a little bit about your background, how you ended up here at Hirewell and your role, in the city, in the position.

Rosanna Krug: Yeah, so I have been recruiting for almost 11 years. I worked at an IT staffing firm prior to coming to Hirewell, just one, for about seven years. I trained, funny enough, Bill Gates, who runs our HR department, so he recruited me over back in 2015. I joined his team and I've been recruiting on the HR team since then, and then just recently got promoted, so have been …

Holistic: Congratulations.

RK: Thanks ... But in my role for about three and a half years.

Holistic: Great, and so I hear that you have a Southern Illinois upbringing, so how did that help or affect you here in Chicago?

RK: I think it helps because I can kind of relate to all walks of life. I mean, I grew up in ... It's not a super small town, but I grew up with a lot of like country people. My mom lives on a farm and I just have kind of seen both sides of the big city, but also like small town living. So I feel like being able to relate to people and kind of understand all different backgrounds is one of my strengths because of my upbringing.

Holistic: Can you give my an example of a specific challenge that you've had in the workplace that you've had to overcome and how you did it?

RK: I'd say the biggest thing in recruiting that I had a challenge of in the beginning was just being taken seriously by candidates. I came in, I think I was 21 when I started in recruiting, and I was recruiting candidates that were 10, 20+ years older than me, so just learning how to come off professional and add value, in a quick way, at a young age was extremely important.

Holistic: What would you say to younger people when dealing in situations like this with older people and them being taken seriously?

RK: I think it all comes down to preparation. Whether it's a call or a meeting, I always try to collect my thoughts, write notes. I'm not afraid to bring in notes and look at things because I think the more prepared you are, the more they'll take you seriously. Just trying to find a way to add value to candidates even if you don't have a job for them right away, recommending a company that they can look into, or a user group that they can potentially belong to, just trying to find connections in little things because that can go a long way and that's how you build more of a long-term relationship with candidates.

Holistic: Great, and so you just mentioned that you got promoted. Congratulations. So you're moving into a leadership position. How are you preparing for that?

RK: I'm trying to get to know everyone on my team on a personal level. I mean, I've interacted with most of them for, anywhere from a year to, I think our newest hire was, moved over to our team about 3-4 months ago. I think trust is so key whenever you're managing and leading people and just leading by example. So one, I'm trying to get to know them and know how they're motivated, how they like to be managed, how I can help them, and how we can all do better. And then just try to show them how I've become successful, so that they can try to do it. Maybe not the same way, but at least so they can understand my path and how I got there.

Holistic: What will success look like for you in this new role?

RK: I mean, I think it's going to continue to be successful myself, but also having the team all grow. I don't think I'll be successful if everyone else isn't being successful. So being able to, whether that's passing candidates to them or help them understand clients better so that they can get more placements and then I can as well and we all grow together.

Holistic: Great, and so as you know, Hirewell just went through the Holistic process. So what did you think about that?

RK: I thought it was great. I mean, I've never really done anything like that for an organization. I've only worked for Hirewell and one other company, but to get to see the ... I guess I have done things like that, but I haven't seen the actual data and results behind it. In my previous company, we would take surveys and answer questions like that, but you would never really knew what happened from it. So it was cool to see it completely ... the breakdown of it. I mean, even for example, the work from home policy they just rolled out, we're actually seeing results in a pretty quick timeframe, so that was, I think, really cool to see.

Holistic: So how does that affect you as an employee, how does that motivate you or inspire you to see results, to see, instead of just answering question, to actually see it live?

RK: I think it shows how much Matt and the leadership does care about the employees and how it also gives people goals to work towards because you can see as you continue to grow and do better, you're given more, you have more opportunity, you have more flexibility, and I really thrive in working for companies like that. I think it also shows how beneficial it can be working for a small company because you see results happen quickly.

Holistic: How would you describe the change in the aftermath of the Holistic process? I know you mentioned now you guys have a work from home policy, but how would you explain the difference between how it was before the Holistic process and how it is now?

RK: I'm trying to think if there's any immediate changes I've seen. I know personally, I've just been more aware of things, whether it's ... I don't know if I can think of a specific example, but just how you're talking in the office and just understanding like bringing in diversity for us here. Internally, it seemed to be a big push, whether it's level of people, gender background, and whatnot. And so I have seen, I think a change in that and just kind of a push to continue to diversify our employee population internally, but I think that's more just about the little day-to-day awareness.

Holistic: Great! Working in HR recruiting, it's effectively about people, so what is your philosophy about people in the workplace?

RK: I think you have to understand what motivates people, and you have to understand how they work best because especially in recruiting everyone doesn't do things the exact same way. You have to give people a framework that they can reference and go off of, but really understanding how people work and how people are successful because everyone is unique and does things a little bit differently. I think it's getting to know how they work best and being able to cater to those needs, and try to provide a workplace that is encouraging, and that really motivates people, and helps them work in an environment that's best for them.

Holistic: Great. And being a woman business leader in Chicago, how does that make you feel?

RK: Awesome! It's great. I think seeing more and more women, not only at Hirewell, but just in our clients that are in leadership positions. HR is a little tricky 'cause it's typically a more female-dominated industry. A lot of women go into it, but even just seeing the tech community and how many females are in technology now. I think Chicago's a great hub and it's great 'cause you see women that are growing their careers, but also having a personal life and you can do both. You just have to figure it out and having mentors. I mean, I have women that I met at my old company that were clients that I still stay in touch with that have just been even personal mentors for me, so making those connections. And there's so many different avenues that you can meet mentors and learn from people, so that's really empowering to see.

Holistic: And as a woman leader, what are some of the opportunities and challenges that you come across?

RK: I think, and I was like this in the beginning of my career, but I think we tend to overthink things more and just not always voice our opinion unless we feel 80 or 90% confident in what we're saying, so that's something that I still try to have a conscious effort of speaking up when I see an opportunity and I think just acting in the moment. There can be a ton of learning opportunities, whether it's internally in a workplace or even with your clients. So just speaking up if you're confident in what you're going to say and it feels right, just go for it, follow your gut.

Holistic: Yeah, that's a good one. So aside from this tip, which I feel throughout this piece you've given out just several tips of advice for others, but as a woman leader, what advice would you give to someone that's started out the way you did and maybe a tip that you didn't get when you were younger?

RK: I mean, I did get this advice some, but I think just shadowing people. Whether it's asking to go on meeting or ask to listen into calls, I learn from hearing how others do things, especially people that are successful. And maybe you're nervous to ask someone because you think they don't have time, but I've never had anyone turn me down by asking if I can shadow their meeting or listen to a call or bounce an idea off of them. So I think we all seem very busy, but most people, I would say 99.9% of people are willing to help you out, you just have to ask.

Holistic: Yeah, and like you mentioned, you've encountered women that are professionals, but at the same time, have a personal life and they're able to manage both. What about your personal life? Tell me something, either the last book you read or the last movie you watched, maybe a favorite TV show that you have that you like to binge watch or something like that.

RK: That's a good question. I mean, this is a show that I have watched for, now going on 13 years, but I love Grey's Anatomy and I think I'm one of the only people that still watch it, so I definitely binge watch that over and over.