2019 was a big year for The Leadership Agency, as it was for many growing businesses across North America. We’ve grown internally, helped our amazing clients lead, experienced some challenges, and received some much-appreciated recognition along the way.
Here's a look back at 2019 – along with some hints at what The Leadership Agency has in store for a brand-new decade!
A Win’s a Win
Talking about your wins as a leader and a business owner can feel a little awkward and self-serving. However, since founding The Leadership Agency, I’ve always made it a point to recognize and celebrate the wins - big and small.
This year was big. The Leadership Agency received the HRD Readers’ Choice Award for Best Service Provider (Fewer than 100 Employees). After being a finalist in this category for three consecutive years, it's safe to say we were ecstatic about this achievement! In our first year as a finalist, we were shocked to have even been nominated. Being a newly formed company at the time, we really had no grasp of what this award meant or the overall impact of the Canadian HR Awards.
To actually win the Best Service Provider Award this year came as a complete surprise, and it really felt like a win for our entire team. This award doesn't only belong to us, but also to our clients, partners, industry peers and fellow HR professionals who are disrupting and innovating this industry. Our team has never been stronger and filled with such experienced individuals than we were at the close of 2019.
It was amazing to see so many startups and small businesses be a part of this year’s awards and be recognized alongside such large scale, established companies. The Canadian HR Awards brings together growing companies, rising stars in the industry, and enables HR professionals to collaborate and share expertise. This kind of representation drives our passion for this space and pushes us to go beyond our role in recruitment.
We are beyond grateful for this award, and recognition within the HR space, but this was just one of many wins The Leadership Agency experienced in 2019.
Taking the Stage
This was also a huge year for learning and development, much of which took place at industry events. In May I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at The Globe and Mail Small Business Summit about tackling the skills shortage, alongside leaders from Indeed Canada and Inc. Media. This was a lively discussion covering different perspectives on how small businesses can attract and retain talent in a competitive market. You can read some of the insights from the panel discussion here.
In June of this year, The Leadership Agency participated in the HR Tech Summit in Toronto. I had the honour and pleasure of hosting the two-day event, filled with 1,000 HR professionals and over 40 of HR’s most notable leaders, including Josh Bersin, Heather Haslam, Jennifer Johnston di Loretto, Lisa Sterling, and Matt Burns just to name a few. This year’s Toronto summit focused on employee engagement, the evolving world of technology and its impact on Human Resources. Even with over 15 years in the HR and recruitment realm, it was really eye opening to hear about how technology and the world of HR are interacting and impacting employees. You can read all about my key takeaways from the summit here.
In addition to the Toronto summit, our team participated in the first ever HR Tech Summit in New York. It was an amazing experience to host and interview top leaders including Kathryn Minshew (CEO & Co-Founder of The Muse), Dipti Salopek (VP of People of Snyk), and Chris Hare and Alicia Roach (Co-Founders of QuantitativeHR) in the summit’s Media Lounge. I also had the pleasure of speaking alongside Deep Paudel, Devon Satnick, and Rory O’Doherty on how bots, AI, and robotic automation are shaping HR. We’re looking forward to seeing this event grow even more next year!
A Few More Wins from 2019
I wanted to highlight a few more wins that I and The Leadership Agency experienced this year:
I was awarded the SVUS Female CEO of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year and presented the award in San Francisco. It was an incredible experience and one I’m very grateful for!
Our team completed an amazing two-day training session with the one and only Ross Morgan. We’re constantly looking to improve our processes to better serve our clients and candidates. Thank you, Ross!
100% of our team was promoted this year, making it the most senior team we’ve had to date.
We participated in five Startup Canada’s #StartupChats live Twitter discussion - topics included Growth Tools or Your Startup, Opening the Lines of Communication in the Workplace, Reducing Startup Costs and Breaking Even, Growing Abroad, and Creating An HR Policy for Your Business.
2019 was also a big year for thought leadership! I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of contributing to some amazing publications.
The Globe & Mail:
2019 By the Numbers
Numbers can really paint a more accurate picture of how 2019 went! Check out some of our stats below.
Over 4,000 candidates interviewed
95 candidates placed across North America
32 new companies we’ve worked with
$2.3 million in salaries contributed to the North American economy
3 investors we’ve partnered with: iNovia, Real Ventures, Omers
13 cities we worked in: Toronto, New York, Utah, Seattle, Vancouver, Boston, Montreal, San Francisco, Chicago, Calgary, Texas, Edmonton, Denver
9 clients that have raised their next round of funding:
Coconut Software: $8.3M
Growth and Growing Pains
The Leadership Agency is always looking to diversify our services and business. This has happened in a number of ways this year. For example, we decided to launch IT recruitment services as part of our diverse solutions. In addition to this, we’ve partnered with Caliper Canada to create a more well-rounded talent assessment of candidates.
Since expanding into New York last November, we’ve faced many challenges that come with growing a business internationally. Developing a brand in New York has taken a great deal of time, resources and market research. We worked with subject matter experts to fully grasp the competitive landscape of a foreign market. With this, we’ve accepted that we won't be the right partner for everyone. As a new business, it can be difficult to turn clients away, but sometimes you just have to accept that a partnership may not be a right fit. Overall, we’ve learned the importance of authenticity, research, and development.
Thank you to our clients, partners, and peers for an incredible year! We look forward to what's to come in 2020!