How to Build Your Business During a Recession, with Christy Brown, Ep #18

A global economic slowdown due to the coronavirus has greatly affected the recruitment industry. What type of “proactive” mindset should a recruiter possess in order to avoid just being “reactive” to the situation? How do you build your business despite economic challenges? 

In this episode of the Resilient Recruiter, my special guest, Christy Brown shares her story on how she built a company in 2007, yes, you read it right, during the great recession. Listen to how creativity, technology enablement, and being agile helped her build, scale, and sell her staffing companies.

Christy is a serial entrepreneur, investor, startup advisor, mentor, founder, futurist, triathlete.  Prior to becoming a Venture Capitalist, Christy was the Executive Vice President of a Fortune 100 human capital management software company where she led the business transformation and client success organizations globally. Christy has scaled three service-based companies focused on digital marketing, human capital, and security consulting. 

Learn from @downtown_CB how “technology enablement” will drive the future of #recruitment in this episode of #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training. Click To Tweet

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [3:00] A former IRONMAN competitor, Christy shared how her competing translates to business.
  • [6:00] Christy’s staffing journey.
  • [8:40] What it was like to start a staffing firm during the recession.
  • [10:00] Christy’s two learnings that lead to improvement and innovation.
  • [12:00] Christy’s business model that brought significant success in winning new clients.
  • [15:00] Four factors that led to Christy’s start-up success.
  • [22:45] A monthly meeting with all your placed candidates? Listen to why Christy did it.
  • [27:30] Convincing clients to hire remotely – Christy mentioned least two elements.
  • [30:00] What Christy believes is the number one growth area in recruiting
  • [35:00] Christy talks about “technology enablement”
  • [38:30] How technology will drive the future of the recruiting industry.
  • [44:00] Listen to Christy’s “regret” from a founder’s perspective.
  • [47:02] Two practical ideas to navigate this challenging economy
  • [53:00] Christy’s view on inclusion and women empowerment

Starting a Business During the Great Recession

Back in 2007, Christy started her own staffing firm.  It may not have been the best time to start a new business, and as she mentioned, “For me, it became a firefight.” Comparing the situation before with what we are facing now, this is how she puts it  “It was a very interesting time, we can compare it to some of the things that are happening in this current healthcare crisis today. Massive fallouts to the economy occurring, a large banking crisis that we are still coming out of.”

Despite the situation, Christy focused on the opportunity being presented to build her business. Christy laid out her mistakes and learnings, her business model, and the factors that led to her start-up success.

What was it like to start a staffing company during the #recession? Hear how @downtown_CB successfully built her business in 2007 in this episode of #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training. Click To Tweet

Technology Will Drive the Future of the Recruiting Industry

Christy gave her take on “technology enablement” and how technology will drive the future of the recruiting industry. As she puts it, “I think technology enablement and recruiting is probably the number one growth area that I look even from an investment lens. It is one of those things that has to grow, it has to accelerate, and we have to influence it.”

Listen to her philosophy on how utilizing technology will help recruiters stay relevant.

Inclusion and Woman Empowerment

One of the biggest challenges Christy faced is, “Sometimes, being the only female in the room of technologists.” Hear her meaningful thoughts about inclusion and women empowerment in a corporate setting. 

Christy Brown Bio and Contact Info

Christy has held a number of executive leadership roles over the past 20 years but in 2019, became the Managing Executive Partner of a venture capital firm focused on pairing venture capital with shared services in a studio environment to scale rapidly with services to support early-stage startups.  Prior to assuming the executive investment role, Christy was the Executive Vice President at a Fortune 100 human capital management software company where she leads the business transformation & client success organization globally. Christy is a serial entrepreneur and founder and has scaled three service-based companies focused on digital marketing, human capital and security consulting which she exited across a 12-year interval.  Following the last exit, she became a consummate innovator and aligned to multiple startups incubators as a mentor and advisor.  She also serves as a board member across the Atlanta ecosystem including the Entrepreneur’s Organization, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society,  Technology Association of Georgia and various advisor and board roles across early and series stage startups in technology.

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    1. Thanks Gerard! Coming from someone as accomplished as you, that means a lot. What was your key takeaway from my interview with Christy?