Posted on November 12, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Erica Jayne Walsh, Former Sparky the Christmas Reindeer & Dedicated Geese Seducer
By Dave Mendoza, SixDegreesfromDave.com
Sr. Manager of Business Development, BountyJobs
Dir: 646.329.9823 | Mob: 419.283.9812
12 East 44th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10017
Specialties: Negotiation, Strategic Sourcing, Marketing, Public Relations, Metrics/ SLAs, Website Optimization, & Branding
I had the unique pleasure of meeting Erica Jayne Walsh at ONREC this past September. She catches your eye for many reasons, some by the merits of mother nature and others … the more lasting impressions … for reasons of a personality you can’t help forget. She is a force of nature; charming, a pervasive wit and when you think she couldn’t do more to compel you to send her a follow-up email – she impresses you with substantive intellect and a thorough understanding of business models within our industry. She may be young but not impressionable – she leaves you with impressions and all of them remarkable.
I could make it all sound so simple, however, and simply tell you that of all my meals at ONREC, I recall most fondly sharing a deep dish pizza in Chicago with my new friend, Erica Jayne.
Q&A with Erica Jayne Walsh
Erica Jayne: My home life is interesting; I am a single twenty-something living in Midtown Manhattan. I bet that everyone is immediately thinking “Sex & the City” and though I do enjoy the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife lately my home life has been lacking because I am always working… so the TV show “The Apprentice” is far more relatable.
To best answer this question and avoid seemly like a totally dull human, it probably makes sense to divide my life into two phases … “The Pre-BountyJobs Era” and “The BountyJobs Era”.
Up until 6 months ago, I was living in downtown Indianapolis, working as a Sourcing Associate (paper-pusher, strategist, and spend analyst) for Eli Lilly and Company in the Procurement function.
I had a robust life that would be much more interesting to your readers than my current home life… I raced sailboats competitively at the Indianapolis Sailing Club, was a Naturalist & Conservationist at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Mascot (Walrus, Reindeer, Rhinoceros, and Meerkat) at collegiate sporting events, parades, and around the zoo campus.
[I wasn’t the best mascot… on one horrific day in December while dressed as Sparky the Reindeer (Rudolph is trademarked) I broke the two cardinal rules of mascoting. I not only spoke in costume but also was tackled by a 3 year old girl with pigtails and my reindeer head fell off… ruining the illusion of Christmas for hundreds of Indianapolis children forever].
I owned a beautiful condo on a lake and harassed the neighbors by attracting geese with food only to then sick my West Highlight White terrier, Lexi or “The Lexinator”, on the geese and the rest of the neighborhood.
Aside from Lexi, sailing, and volunteering the other joy of my life was pro-bono business consulting. I have always been quite passionate about entrepreneurship, while in college I was president of the Society of Entrepreneurs and didn’t want to betray my fellow classmates by wasting away in the Corporate World, so I started and ran my own consulting practice and spent my evenings and weekends working with retailers, restaurants, and technology companies in the Indianapolis area.
In April of this year, I underwent a major life change and dropped everything for the opportunity a lifetime. When I say everything, I mean everything… I am no longer the proud owner of a beautiful condo on the lake, but instead squeeze myself into a 250 sq. ft. apartment in Manhattan that costs three times my mortgage.
[The view from my apartment is spectacular; you actually can see “everything” going on in the apartments in the building just behind me. Actually, if you are willing to risk the guillotine of a window and stick your head out 5 inches, you can see the Empire State Building.]
Lexi has moved to Ohio to spend quality time with my Mom and her dog “Belle”… and I am no longer sailing, volunteering, or working on my Masters. Instead, I have opted to work 16 hours a day, every day of the week.
Now before you think I am crazy or start to feel sorry for the lack of luster in this era of my life… I’d like to mention that right now… I am living my ultimate dream. Actually, if we could decrease my city apartment rent by about 50% I’d be living the ultimate dream… right now we should stick with “dream” for the sake of realism.
Six Degrees: Any other interests/ hobbies or surprising facts?
Erica Jayne: Aside from everything I’ve already mentioned… my biggest interest is learning. I love finding out that I am an idiot… my grandpa always use to say “the more we learn, the more we learn we don’t know”. I wish I could specialize in everything, speak every language, relate to every culture, design buildings, engineer cities… essentially I want to be superwoman… but who doesn’t?
The thing that would probably most surprise all of your readers is that I am a high-school dropout. I dropped out of an esteemed college prep school after 10th grade to pursue my career as an international fashion model. I moved on my own at 16 to Barcelona Spain to work the fashion circuit. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, September 11th occurred causing my mother to rethink the independent teenager strategy and pull me back home. The NY fashion industry took a major hit, causing the other US fashion markets to become flooded with top NYC models… eliminating my chances of breaking in. I worked for 2 years making minimum wage, doing strange jobs (gift basket arranger, greenhouse foliage caretaker, freelance event planner, hostess/ waitress, and freelance photographer).
I spent most of my time during those two years helping better fashion models launch their careers, working with reporters in the Detroit area to identify modeling scams, and trying to convince whatever business owner currently suffering through my employment that there was a better way to run their business. By the time I turned 18, I realized that I would never make a difference if I wasn’t taken seriously, so I got my GED… applied to college… got in… attended… and graduated 3 years later Summa Cum Laude, with a BS in Business Administration.
Six Degrees: How’d you end up at BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: While I was working in Indianapolis for Lilly, I became increasingly frustrated. Prior to joining, I had no idea that big business was so inefficient… for example, it took Lilly 3 years to move forward on a project that was projected to save the company 30 million dollars with almost no risk.
One of my responsibilities at Lilly was to work with the Recruitment component to determine better ways to do business. This included a variety of projects such as redesigning how we orchestrated background checks, on-boarding a new recruitment advertising firm, organizing and resourcing our temporary labor division, streamlining contingency search vendors, forming strategic partnerships with executive search consultants, and outsourcing parts of the sourcing function.
Just to give you a sample, one of my projects was to eliminate the number of search firms under contract from a number in the hundreds to a number in the low teens. This project seemed impossible. We had little record of who had made placements, where the relationships stood, how these firms came to be under contract, what functional roles they supported and who really was valuable. It seemed that each internal recruiter operated in their own silo, and this applied just to the corporate recruiters sitting together on one floor within our corporate headquarters… completing disregarding the chaos at the Lilly subsidiaries and international entities.
We became so frustrated with the lack of organization within our internal recruitment arm that we decided to outsource a part of the function to an RPO.
Then one day, I got a call from Jeremy Lappin, the CEO of BountyJobs to discuss a standard search firm contract that had been given to his firm when they called into pitch Lilly the BountyJobs solution. After going bountyjobs.com, I realized that BountyJobs was not a search firm and in fact eliminated all of the contingency search problems and inefficiencies that I had just spent two years complaining about and suffering through.
BountyJobs had been in business less than 16 months when I first was exposed to it, was doubling every quarter and already had 20% of the Fortune 500 as clients. Jeremy then explained to me his plan to create a global solution that every recruiter (internal and third-party) used everyday.
Then I pretty much begged and harassed Jeremy for weeks until he agreed to be my mentor by bringing me onboard and teaching my how to launch and run a company.
Six Degrees: Tell us about BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: As a company, BountyJobs is refreshing… we are energized, agile, and always customer focused. Our product has been designed to help an old industry (contingency search) take advantage of the scale and reach of the internet and the efficiencies that technology provides.
I joined the team long after the rocket was designed and launched, but the founders and core team realized that having each internal recruiter operate in isolation and without a strong technology system prevented companies from analyzing performance, sharing knowledge, and continuously improving. The team also realized that organizations were forced to limit the search firms they worked with because of the administrative hassles of on-boarding and managing the firms. When you think of global companies like Lilly, it is a little ridiculous to think that one RPO firm or 30 search firms can fill thousands of jobs all over the world in every specialty (Sales Reps from Anchorage to Dubai, PhD Research Scientists, Regulatory Advisors) … but when you have tens of thousands of professional search firms and headhunters that cover ever region of the globe and every specialty… the likelihood of filling the job dramatically increases.
So BountyJobs took the concept of a marketplace and applied it to a technological platform that streamlines all of the inefficiencies, eliminates administrative burdens, and enables employers to take control of the search process and stay in control with real time information and detailed reporting.
I’ll spare your readers the pitch, but if they are interesting in learning more they should check out our website (www.bountyjobs.com) and request a live demo… and we’ll walk them through it in about 5 minutes… it is really intuitive and there isn’t any cost to use the technology.
Six Degrees: What do you do for BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: Jeremy has been kind enough to let me dabble in a bit everything. My two main focuses are marketing and business development. On the marketing side, I do brand management and positioning, develop and orchestra events, manage PR, build sales collateral, develop & execute the marketing plan, and form partnerships with industry thought leaders. Then on the biz dev side I analyze data to drive business development decisions and I work to close deals with other providers. This past week, my main focus has been on overhauling the front pages of the BountyJobs website, which we hope to be launching before the months end. Also, I should have another surprise for you in early Q1 of 2009.
Six Degrees: What most excites you about working for BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: I love seeing the fills come through… we are doing thousands of fills in 2008. This is exciting, because each time I see another fill I realize… a candidate just found a way to improve their life, a headhunter just made money, and an employer just found the talent that is going to help their company achieve its objectives. It is really fun to be a part of something that is a win for everyone. I especially love seeing BountyJobs grow so quickly and knowing that I am a part of that growth. This week we just moved into a new office that is more than 5x our previous space… based on the constant stream of positive feedback and the rate at which we are growing domestically and internationally… I would be shocked if Jeremy’s projection [‘Every recruiter using BountyJobs every day’] didn’t come true.
Six Degrees: How does BountyJobs fit into your life plan?
Erica Jayne: Through this on-going experience, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I know who I am as a person and as a professional. Ultimately, I have the confidence and the where with all to know that I can provide BountyJobs with the right strategic insight, pursue an MBA at a top school, launch my own company, and ultimately build the life and world that I dream of. Everyone always asks entrepreneurs and people involved in entrepreneurial enterprises about their exit strategy. Honestly, when you are growing fast, living your dream, traveling the world, and making friends with amazing people… an exit strategy is the last thing on the mind.
Six Degrees: Any final comments?
Erica Jayne: Thanks so much for letting me be a part of sixdegreesfromdave. As I indicated I love learning from people and forming partnerships. If anyone wants to chat more with me about entrepreneurship, life, and/or workaholism, please reach out to me… I’d be glad to help however I can.