Name: Anne-Barbara Lemmens
Business: Vermilion Talent
Location: Rye, New York, U.S.
Industry: Professional Services
Reason for starting? Vermilion Talent is a social enterprise brought to life by the experiences of our founders in re-entering the workforce after a career break. We both experienced how it is to re-enter the workforce after taking a break because of taking care of children or relocation from another country. We met so many women around us that faced that same challenge. We felt we needed to do something about this. What started as an informal local networking group has transformed into a social enterprise that is creating a hub for career re-entry into the workforce. We have the unique privilege of building a company that is changing the lives of our members and contributing to the success of leading companies.
Related: HR Consulting By Women for Women
How do you define success? We define success in many different ways. It is our mission to support women finding their career purpose. We celebrate the success of our members finding and getting hired for that ideal target role at the company and culture that fits (either by an introduction made by us, or due to their own strength of applying). But we also celebrate success when a member moves from not knowing where to start or not knowing what it is she really enjoys doing to finding that clarity for herself. We see women developing in getting their confidence back and getting ready to hit the ground running. Of all these successes make running our business so rewarding.
Biggest success: Were should we start? It is difficult to highlight one of the success stories since there are so many. More than 60 women in our community credit Vermilion Talent with supporting their re-entry (either directly via us or alternate channels). One of the success stories is about a very talented woman who had been out of the workforce for 8 years to take care of her children. With a background in employment law, her goal was to transition to employee relations. She is now the director of HR for a company we introduced her to. She went through our process, and it took her 9 months to figure our what it was that she really enjoyed doing in what company culture, update her resume and LinkedIn and getting ready to interview. She is now very happy being able to combine work with having a family and using her professional potential again.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? We know that women who are re-entering the workforce or pivoting their career are looking for personal advice and face-to-face contact. Since we would like to reach and help as many women as possible (we expanded our reach to other areas in the Tri-State area and now national level) we needed to come up with a model that would still provide this personal advice and face-to-face contact, but is scalable. That’s how we started to set-up an Ambassador structure where women can still meet in an informal way, share their stories, help each other with advice, and have access to all services and resources that Vermilion Talent offers.
Anne-Barbara, one of the co-founders of Vermilion, gave birth to her third child in May 2017. She needed to be on bed-rest in the hospital 2 months before her healthy baby was born. Going from two full-time mission driven owners to a one-man show for a temporary period of time made us re-think how we are doing business. Efficiency and effectiveness was required during the period of time to continue the business operations.
Who is your most important role model? Our most important role models are our moms. At the time they raised us there was not an organization like Vermilion Talent supporting them with how to combine work with raising kids, how to scale-up or scale-down their careers, creating awareness with companies about women professionals and the chapters in their lives. They figured it out themselves and shifted to working at nights to be home when we were young.
Edited by The Story Exchange