Employee Spotlight: Marilyn Bird, VP of L&D04/22/2021
At Addison Group, we value the people that make our organization great and allow us to deliver exceptional partnerships to the clients and candidates we support. We love bringing on new talent to help us move our organization forward and contribute to our outstanding culture.
For our latest Employee Spotlight, we’re excited to highlight — and welcome! — Marilyn Bird, our new Vice President of Learning & Development. Marilyn has over 20 years of experience in the recruiting industry in various candidate- and client-facing roles and leadership positions. Over that time, she has developed a keen ability to create connections with people, understand their motivations, and help them create a roadmap for the future.
Read on to learn more about Marilyn, why she chose Addison Group as her new home, and what she hopes to accomplish.
What attracted you to Addison?
Tom Moran, our CEO, was my leader at a previous company. He’s had a “people first” approach from Day 1, and his style and process stuck with me ever since. It has guided me throughout my career and is the reason I’ve stayed in the industry. Choosing Addison Group was an easy decision because I already believed in the mission — Tom still believes in “people first” and having seen it firsthand, I know he means what he says.
In the short time I’ve been at Addison, I have seen “people first” shine through. There are amazing people here. Steve Wolfe, our Executive VP of Operations and Administration, is a prime example of someone who follows that same mentality and approach as Tom. It helped me connect quickly and easily with Steve (aside from our shared left-handedness) and form a strong partnership immediately. It has been great to see the longevity and tenure of the leadership for our business units, how successful they’ve been, and the type of people they are. I’ve had incredible down-to-earth conversations with so many people as I listen to their passion for what they do. I already feel at home.
What have you enjoyed most about working in this industry?
It’s always been about the people — people are so dynamic, which makes it the best and most challenging part. Every day is different and exciting. There is nothing like the feeling of helping someone find a role. I remember the name of the very first person I ever placed. I remember the position, our conversation, and the feeling I had going home that night, knowing I had helped that person. That feeling is what has always kept me going, no matter the ups and downs.
How has your background prepared you for this new role?
I’m able to “speak the language” of recruiting and consulting. I understand the needs of our teams and the challenges they face in their day-to-day work, whether they are placing a candidate, consulting on business strategy, or building trust and relationships with clients. That understanding has already allowed me to develop a great rapport with our business units because I know what needs to be prioritized to help them be successful. I also recognize that a “one size fits all” solution will not work. This is an ever-changing industry, so having knowledge of that and being adaptable to shifting priorities is key to having a successful L&D strategy.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned that has helped drive your career?
The importance of self-awareness. You have to get to know yourself well enough so you can learn how to work with other styles. As an introvert, I’ve had to learn how to adjust my approach to ensure I have a positive impact on others. But that took time. It all starts with learning about yourself — what you bring to the table, your ability to adapt, and your own communications style. That’s what I love most about emotional intelligence — you have the power to change it and to learn and grow. Recruiting and consulting are very extroverted spaces, and as a leader, it was up to me to adapt in order to create those connections. I now have the skillset and approach that has allowed me to be successful in different situations. And it all starts with learning who you are.
What are you most excited to do in your new role?
I want to make sure that everything I do has an impact and is focused on people. Addison Group is investing in leadership development, which says a lot about the company and how much it cares about its employees. Taking the time to train and develop leaders is a great commitment and shows the direction Addison is going, and I’m excited about that. If we develop our people at every level, they will become more capable and ultimately build their careers and the business.
Having been in the same positions as many of our employees, I understand what they’re going through. I’ve been through similar work experiences and made some of the same mistakes. That shared experience allows me to help them grow as professionals because I know how to walk them through the evolution of going where they want to go. It helps me put together custom programs for skill-building and mentorship to turn them into great leaders.
Our world is people: We are people, and we are in the business of people. We need to make sure we have the people skills to make effective change. Leadership is more than management — it’s about inspiring others. It takes emotional intelligence and we’re all in different stages with that. But the great thing is we all have the ability to change and improve it. It takes time, but I’m looking forward to driving that aspect of “people first.”
I’m also excited to join such a lively and energetic organization. It’s hard not to have fun in this environment. The world we work in is challenging, so I think it’s important to not take yourself too seriously. I love that one of our Core Values is Light-Heartedness. It’s the essence of who we are: creative, approachable, and good-spirited people who want to help others — and each other — succeed. It’s what makes us different and I’m glad to be a part of Team Addison.
At Addison Group, we’re always on the lookout for top talent. Check out our current openings and become part of our team!