Featured Member Profile: Kim Davis

This month, long-time HRO Today Association Board Member Kim Davis retired from Yoh and our board. We asked him to talk about his career and share both successes and lessons learned. Bellow are his insights.

What would you tell your younger self now if you could? Be a bit less intense. Have more work life balance. Take time off to re-energize.

What was your biggest professional challenge and how did you fix it or how did it work out? Leaving Spherion in 2002 and starting an RPO business, TalentTrack during a recession. We elected to focus on healthcare because the recession had not impacted hiring in that vertical in the same way. Plus there were few RPO competitors in that vertical. Healthcare were lagers in embracing RPO. In order to create a successful startup, one has to hire great people, which we did. This included people like Chadd Dehn and Mike Dachenhaus. In the end it worked out great. By 2006 we were recognized as a top 5 RPO provider. Plus, I received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Midwest region as well as being named a national finalist. We sold the business to Adecco in 2007 in order for them to enter the RPO space. The TalentTrack delivery model became their global platform and eventually they changed the brand to Pontoon.

What is one of your favorite memories of HRO Today and/or the Association? Achieving #5 rating on the HRO Today 2006 RPO Baker’s Dozen list as a business startup. I would also say serving 2 terms (one as part Pontoon and the other as part of Yoh) on the HRO Today Association board of advisors.

Who was your mentor and why? I have had many. At United Technologies it was the VPHR, John Bradley. As an entrepreneur, it was Jeff and Scott DePerro (the original founders of AIM Executive). They have been my partners in all my business startups and are my friends today. At Adecco, it was Michael Beygelman, Global President RPO and one of the smartest people I know.

You have accomplished so much in your career and have left your mark on the industry. What are you most proud of? Having the courage to start businesses based on my talent acquisition expertise. The ability to develop relationships based on trust. Reputation is everything. As an entrepreneur being able to treat my employees as members of my family. The thing I am most proud of are all the people I been able to touch and the success they have enjoyed both professionally and personally. Being able to watch each of them grow up and have success. Seeing them as good, fair and honest people. Watching them embrace doing the right thing. To be honest, each of them are my legacy.

The industry has gone through a lot of change throughout your career; any predictions for where it’s headed next? As it relates to RPO and MSP, I see a significant uptick in business opportunity as we get past the COVID-19 pandemic. Like in 2009, I think employers will embrace outsourcing in a bigger way. They will minimally need to augment what already exists. I also think there will be greater emphasis on screening candidates for fit given the availability of talent. In addition, it will be a very competitive market, placing greater emphasis on technology to lower delivery cost while increasing predictability.

What does retirement mean to you/what’s on the next horizon? It means greater time with the family. Vic, my wife, and I having more time to enjoy our Florida vacation property. Having the time to do something I have wanted to do for years, and that is to mentor other entrepreneurs and small businesses. I already have plans in place to do this on a part-time basis. I also plan on being an independent career transition coach, helping individuals in conducting a successful job campaign. In prior life, I helped one of my businesses become the 4th largest career transition firm in North America

Any parting advice for your colleagues? Follow your dreams. You are capable of accomplishing almost anything, but you have to do the work. You have to decide if you are willing to invest and make the personal sacrifices to make your dream(s) come true. And, sometimes others (like family members) have to pay that price. The best things in life are not free. They come at a price. They come at a sacrifice. Please understand, there are no right answers. What is right for you, may not be right for others. That too is okay. I personally have paid many prices for my dreams. I went back to school at nights to receive my MBA while being a Director of HR and having small children. My family and I paid a price. Another time in my career, I lived apart from my family for a period of time because of my career. That experience in the end allowed me to start two RPO businesses. Not everyone is willing to make these kinds of sacrifices and that too is OK. I would not recommend being apart from your family for an extended period of time, but in our instance it worked. My advice: think about what you wish for before you wish for it. I have been happily married for 46 years and now is my time to pay back and enjoy all of the aspects of life…garden, play pickle ball, play golf, snow ski, play tennis, workout, travel…