Written by: Amanda Sell-Sande
Wow! I just realized how long it has been since we’ve posted on here. Let me fill you in on our last few years.In July 2016, I came to the realization that I wanted to build something different for myself. I had been a faithful employee of my prior firm for eight years, and I told my boss we needed to work an exit strategy for myself. I never want to burn a bridge, and I don’t want to be someone who is not grateful for an opportunity that led me to my true passion. I negotiated to bring one of my team members with me, and for the next year Taryn and I continued to work under our employer, but in a different office. We had the cutest little mid-century modern office in downtown Bellingham and we reveled in being close to the center of a larger town.This won’t come to a shock to many people, but when your stress levels decrease, your body starts to relax and operate as it should. And so, after years of trying to get pregnant, I did finally find out I was expecting. I was quite literally, in shock until I was about to give birth. I found myself in a new body, in constant need of a nap, and I schlepped my way through my pregnancy hauling myself downtown, until it became obvious we needed to change our surrounding. We had massage therapists sharing walls with us, and they weren’t happy with our level of noise just being on the phone, so I could not imagine a crying baby being accepted in our business community.We knew we were going to bring on another past recruiting colleague, and Kate was due six weeks after me, so we moved our office to my house. My house is not a normal house. My house is big enough to host weddings (it hasn’t yet) or funerals (it has.). You can get lost in my house, and I am ashamed to say, we did lose my son once in this house. Actually, we have lost two out of three kids in this house, but my daughter was hiding with a cat, a Kindle, and markers.The bizarre size and one story layout worked well for our in-house working arrangement. Our office was far away from where the babies would be, and we brought in a shared nanny, and were lucky enough to get more help from my mother-in-law, the woman everyone loves to love. Six weeks after I gave birth, I was officially a business owner with employees. I do not recommend this plan to anyone, but I was determined to show my ability to succeed in business ownership and tackling my goals. If I ever get a hint that someone doubts me, watch out world, because I take that as a challenge. And something in my wiring does not like to fail if someone thinks I will. So, my stubbornness led me to launch into the hardest period of my life.
The birth of my first biological baby was magical and easy and hard, and it was all of the things all working moms and stay at home moms go through. I was able to come downstairs to nurse, and snuggle after a rough phone call. We had moments without child care, where we brought in our babies and nursed during calls, held them in baby carriers, or rocked them with our feet in car seats.
If a baby started crying, and the mother of that baby was on a call, another of us would swoop in and take that baby out of the room to comfort them away from client or candidate ears. The moms worked part time, and our FT recruiter held on for dear life, probably wondering if babies would have the biggest impact on her career, despite not having her own kids.
Our database didn’t get converted and moved over to our own system until January 2018, and we lost people and vital information in the process. Since the two software companies would not communicate with each other, and we could not figure out the problem, we had to renegotiate fees with past clients.
We were pretty much starting from scratch in many ways, and pulling from memory and past relationships for the rest.
2018 was our first full year in business as Julison Sell Search Team. It was one heck of a ride. At the end of it, we had a tight knit group of moms, aunties, and babies; and we were surrounded by loyal clients and candidates, supportive and proud spouses, and nannies who were near Nanny Poppins. We survived. We turned a profit. We celebrated in Mexico with a caravan of babies, nannies, us, and some spouses in a penthouse overlooking the ocean. Much like our year, there were tears, laughter, drinks, and always someone available to scoop up a crying baby that woke up too early, so mom could take a nap.
Beside the babies we can’t shut up about, how else are we different now three years later? Our culture is different, as you probably picked up on. We are people with families and outside interests. We have a “work what you want” policy. Kate is on Orcas Island with her family for a week, as I type.
I am trying to plan as many vacations as possible in the next twelve months: some with kids, some without, some with other couples, some with girlfriends. Taryn is the least likely of us to be out of the office, but having bought her first house, she has all the motivation needed to hit big goals this year. Kate also bought her forever home, and has a ton of interviews happening, but she takes those calls on the fly as she supervises her remodel that has a deadline. Forcing butts in seats when they don’t want to be there is not an effective form of leadership. If production is present, I don’t want to be fighting over time management.
Because we are all so close, we have been able to use our weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual meetings to talk about our personal and professional goals. This group thrives on goal setting, and surpassing them. We are able to share direct and transparent communication encouraging or critiquing each other.
We celebrate every little thing that each of us accomplish. There is not a day that laughter doesn’t fill this company. After our trip to Mexico, with rest and recuperation, we decided we wanted to buy an office building this year. By April, we had closed on a great space in an ideal neighborhood.
We think work should be a place you have fun. We keep a fridge full of food and drinks, both for waking up and celebrating. We are installing a nap pod to catch a power nap. What parent hasn’t needed a nap after a rough night with kiddos? We are putting in a lot of effort into our new location and hired a professional designer to help us achieve an aesthetic that brings happiness. My general contractor husband is toiling to build these dreams into reality, and my older girls are here today cleaning and picking up. This business is truly a space for family people. Five dogs also have rotating shifts here too.
We have branched out our services. I started in contract staffing before my time recruiting in banking, and we are now bringing those services to our solution options. We have also added in work with accountants, controllers, and CFO’s across the PNW and California within other industries. Lastly, we started working the IT space within banking and some real estate roles as well.
A couple of months ago we hit the jackpot and found the queen of all office administrators. Joanne has experience in IT, process improvement, HR, project management, writing, and pretty much anything we need. Having someone in this role is allowing us to take things to the next level, and while she does research for us or works on rebranding, we are able to be on the phone, doing what we do best: successfully matching hiring managers and candidates while building companies and careers; the only thing that really matters to us at the end of the day here.I will leave you with the vision, mission, and values we are so proud of Julison Sell Search Team:
We envision a future where Julison Sell Search Team is a premier employer of the Pacific Northwest, trusted because of ethical and fair treatment of employees and mutual success with trusted clients.
Julison Sell Search Team exists to improve the Pacific Northwest by providing living wage jobs, giving back to the communities we work in, and building careers and companies through direct and transparent coaching.
We value giving – always err on the side of generosity. We value transparency – it builds trust and relationships. We value hard work – don’t settle for less than your very best. We value teamwork – surround yourself with people who are passionate, intelligent, determined and have grit.
We are very much looking forward to continuing to break records, serve our clients, match candidates to great employers, build an amazing company, and support each other in our personal and professional lives.
Thank you to all of our people who have supported us in this journey; clients and candidates who have become friends, trusted business advisors, and our champions who are the lifeblood of our business.