A Background in the Industry
Beth began her career at an executive search firm, working the retail industry. She quickly became a manager, and had people reporting to her that were twice her age. After the demands for travel at the firm became more intense, she transitioned to a large temporary staffing company, working with clients to meet their staffing needs. This opportunity gave her exposure to a number of industries, and allowed her to build a strong network of industry relationships. She often visited her clients to get a sense for their unique working style, and therefore be able to suggest candidates to them who were more likely to be a cultural fit. The move both increased her salary and meant she didn’t have to work weekends and Christmas Eve, which was a welcome change.
Beth went on to work at another executive search firm, which operated on a retainer, not a contingency basis. Her role involved staffing Divisional Manger level staff for large clients such as Target and Macy’s. Although the business was enjoyable, she missed the thrill of quicker transactions and organizational structure of previous companies. When she was approached by three more senior colleagues about starting a business of their own, she jumped at the chance. She was 26 at the time.
The Birth of KNF&T Staffing Resources
Each of the founding partners had a strong reputation and relationship, providing a large roster of initial clients. The founders contributed $14,000 apiece of startup capital – Beth borrowed $7,500 of hers from her brother. Incredibly, the business was profitable enough within four months to repay the entire investment. Staffing for temp workers became a significant growth opportunity, and now accounts for the lion’s share of the company’s revenue.
In her role as CEO, Beth is responsible for ensuring operations are working to support sales and revenue, and facilitating clear communication among the divisions. She attends a number of business development, speaking and networking events, and serves on the Women’s Advisory Board of the Boston Chamber of Commerce. She also oversees the financials of the business, sets strategy, manages banking relationships, and focused on the development of her team.
Keeping Up with Changing Technology
Two years ago, the business added a new CRM system that offered more powerful search functions, integrates with LinkedIn and Indeed for talent sources, and streamlines their operations. “We have to run our company like it’s a larger company,” Beth explained, which has promoted additional investments in technology to enhance the ease of working and further streamline KNF&T’s business processes.
Beth and KNF&T have been on the Commonwealth Institute’s Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses for the past 15 years unbroken, which is a remarkable achievement. She also shared her pride in employees that have made their career with the firm, such as an EVP who has worked with her for the past 25 years. Beth also recalls being given the Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Award, for entrepreneurship in 2009 and honored in front of thousands of people. It’s quite a track record, and one that we at CVM are very excited to see continue.