Search Articles: Home About Us Our Community Contact Us Article Submission   Advertising Info  
 
Auto Savvy

Business and Finance

Creative Cooks

Family and Parenting

Health and Nutrition

Legal Information

Beauty and Fashion

Sports and Fitness

Women Of The Month

Home and Garden

Relationships

Motivation and Inspiration

Travel and Adventure

Technology Today

Society

Womanof the Month 1-09: Tory Johnson, CEO, Women For Hire

WomanOf the Month Tory Johnson, CEO of Women For Hire, based in New York City, has followed her own advice to women on the job: take on different challenges in your career to make yourself more valuable to your current employer and in the future.

After her freshman year at Emerson College, Boston, Johnson landed an internship at ABC’s newsmagazine 20/20. Invited back for the summer after her sophomore year, through talent, hard work and a fortuitous job opening, she wound up with a full-time paying position by moving to New York and transferring to night school at NYU. Soon work became too compelling and outweighed the benefits of finishing college at that time.

A year later, at age 20, she was recruited to join NBC as the publicist for Jane Pauley, Maria Shriver, Tim Russert and others, a position she held for about two years. Then Nickleodeon beckoned with a job as director of the consumer products division—a true changeup from anything she had undertaken to that point. At first she struggled with the demands of a job that required sales skills. “I went from calling reporters and editors and asking them if they wanted to talk to Jane Pauley or Maria Shriver, and receiving generally positive responses, to asking if they wanted to know about products and hearing, no, no, no. My husband really encouraged me to stick with it and it taught me the importance of pushing yourself to take on something that challenges you. When you succeed, it will make you more valuable on the job and in your next job.apostrophe

Johnson stayed three years, leaving with the birth of her twins who are now eight years old. It was in her next work with a magazine start-up targeting 20-somethings that Johnson recognized her affinity for an entrepreneurial environment. She also noted corporations needed to attract and retain entry- and mid-level women in the 20-something age group. She launched Women For Hire in her apartment, holding its first career fair event in New York in 1999. A year later, in the fall of 2000, she held career fairs linking corporations and women in three markets; a year later in 7 markets, and in 2005 10 markets, twice in the spring and fall. Along the way Women for Hire has grown from 50 client corporations to 1,500, and from 2 full-time employees to 7 full-time. The company also provides seminars at colleges, internal events for companies, large group seminars and other services. Johnson has published two books, The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job and Women For Hire’s Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success, and is at work on her third, which will address how to get what you want at work.

Why has her company flourished through ups and downs in the job market? “I could promise and deliver bright professionals. I’ve held to that promise of diversity,apostrophe she says. “All corporations need the best talent that is diverse and representative of the people they serve, whether they are cosmetics manufacturers or law enforcement agencies.apostrophe

Today women place importance on personal and professional fulfillment on the job. They often indicate they want to love what they do and make a difference. “Sometimes I have to encourage them to think a little more about money,apostrophe says Johnson. In contrast, men frequently phrase their outlook in terms of wanting a “successful career,apostrophe with money drawing more of the initial focus than social impact.

Johnson notes that on the job women should be careful to not expect “entitlementsapostrophe. “Some employees may feel that because they are a mom, there is an acceptance that they can leave early at times at the expense of childless colleagues, for exampleapostrophe says Johnson. “They may view this as an entitlement, rather than an accommodation. This is a slippery slope, and you can increase alienation from your childless colleagues.apostrophe

The most innovative companies, she notes, are creating programs for dual audiences and for balance in life for all employees.

Hurricane Katrina offered a special opportunity for Women For Hire to put its skills to work to help those displaced by the disaster. Johnson spent a week with the evacuees in New Orleans giving them the detailed, dedicated, one-on-one support needed to help them reconnect with job opportunities. For example, using her cell phone and BlackBerry, she helped employees check in with former employers to find out about back pay extensions, current job opportunities in other areas, eligibility for rehire, etc.

Women For Hire’s expansion will develop more through services for employees/professionals and clients rather than through additional cities, although some cities may be added for career fairs, notes Johnson. Online services may be enhanced, for example.

To this point in her career, Johnson’s greatest reward on an ongoing basis continues to come from the euphoria of helping women get jobs—“The thrill never wears off,apostrophe she says.