In April 2010 I resigned from the company I worked at for the last eight years and joined Cella Consulting, LLC as the company’s VP and General Manager. My previous company was publicly held with revenue around $400M/year, approximately 2,000 employees across multiple locations worldwide and more than 25 years in existence. Cella, on the other hand, was established in 2009 and had only three full-time employees.
I anticipated a dramatic change and while I was unsure it would be an all-around positive one, was still immensely interested in the opportunity to lead a start-up company. The way this opportunity came about is interesting, but not an unusual story within the BLR family of companies. For years I was a staffing client of The BOSS Group and came to know several team members in the Bethesda branch, including, now BLR President, Terra Hull Campbell. In 2009, I participated in several of the CreativeExecs® Roundtable events sponsored by BOSS and Cella, and it was there that I was re-introduced to Terra and BOSS President, Conor Smith. It was at one of those meetings that I mentioned to Terra that I was interested in changing jobs and asked if BOSS would be able to help me find a new role… Well, BOSS didn’t help me find a new role because Terra and Conor were interested in offering a role within Cella to me.
And while I knew Terra, Conor and a few others at BOSS, one of my largest concerns in leaving my former company was whether my new colleagues would measure up to former colleagues. I was used to working in an environment where my direct reports, my internal clients and my managers were also my friends. In addition, I was fortunate enough to work in an environment where, regardless of age, talent was recognized, promoted and cultivated. My concerns were unfounded, as I have found those same qualities here within the BLR family.
BLR family…it has two meanings for most of us. It, of course, encompasses the three companies (BOSS, PDC, and Cella) and the holding company, BLR. But “BLR family” also speaks to the feeling that we all work at the same company; we just support different areas. I didn’t join a company of three. I joined a company of 75—about the size of my former department: small enough that you can learn everyone’s names, but not so small that business operations aren’t fully supported.
The Cella team is just three full-time employees, but we don’t think of ourselves as a team of three as we would never enjoy the same level of success and speed of business. The back-office team at BLR truly “greases the wheels” for us. They partner with us to:
- ensure that our full-time staff, consultants and invoices are paid accurately and on time,
- ensure our clients pay us accurately and on time,
- create air-tight contracts with our clients,
- design and maintain our websites (www.cellaconsulting.com and www.creativeexecs.com),
- produce our marketing collateral,
- set up email accounts for our consultants,
- and a lot more.
Similarly, our colleagues at BOSS and PDC support us by referring us to their customers. One of the things I enjoy most about my role is the opportunity to travel to each of our locations (Dallas, Atlanta, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Bethesda, MD) and hang out with the teams. Of course, that is not the primary reason I am there—but a great benefit.
I, once again, work at a company where I am privileged to call my colleagues friends. It sounds trite, but it’s truly invaluable—colleagues can make or break a job.