As I celebrate my 30-year anniversary and retirement with Hollstadt, I have spent some time reflecting on all the great memories I have had here. When doing so, I noticed they all had a common theme… Hollstadt’s Core Values.
Before I begin, I want to give some insight on my background. I met Rachel Hollstadt in 1985 when we worked at Republic Airlines when they were working on a new Revenue Accounting System. Republic later merged with Northwest Airlines. I continued to work with Rachel at Northwest up until she left and started Hollstadt & Associates in 1990.
In late 1991, there was talk of bankruptcy at Northwest and things were kind of shaky. My husband and I both worked for Northwest at the time and given that we had 2 little children, we were obviously concerned about what might happen with our jobs.
Early in 1992, Rachel offered me the opportunity to join Hollstadt with her and one other consultant. After a few sleepless nights and much conversation, I decided to take that huge ‘leap of faith’ and join them to become employee #3 and start my first contract at the University of Minnesota.
I spent the next 25 years as a consultant – mostly as a Business Analyst but also served as a Project Manager/Team Lead in my last few years as a consultant. Clients I served at include:
- University of Minnesota
- Northwest Airlines
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Northwest Airlines / Delta Air Lines
- Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (now Radisson Hotel Group)
- Delta Air Lines
Following my consultant time, I joined the office team as Recruiting Assistant and have been here for 4 years.
Throughout my many roles at Hollstadt, I can attest that Hollstadt’s Core Values have been around since day one, although officially went into print in 2008. I really resonate with all 4 of them but as I reflect on my time at Hollstadt, I thought I would share my insights on what they meant to me.
Grow and Prosper – This one resonates with me the most due to the fact that Hollstadt provided me the amazing opportunity to take that initial leap to join the company and ‘grow and prosper’ both professionally and personally in more ways than I can count.
I always knew that I could count on everyone on the Hollstadt team to keep me growing and learning. First Rachel, then Jim & Molly, office team members, other consultants, consultant coaches, training, etc. The support that the Hollstadt team has always provided in so many ways was key to me being successful in my consulting assignments and now also in my Recruiting Associate position. I am sure that Maxine, as my Consultant Coach back in the day, remembers many touch-base meetings with me where she always listened and found ways to help keep me calm and moving forward! Major league support that helped me to prosper professionally and represent Hollstadt on many successful projects. I have seen many recent posts from current day consultants that are surprised and amazed to experience the level of support that Hollstadt provides. Undoubtedly the best in the business, in my opinion, and I am happy to have been a part of that with some of my Recruiting Associate responsibilities.
As for prospering in a ‘financial way’, the 401K match sure helped and is so much appreciated now that I am moving into retirement.
First Understand and Do The Right Thing – these two go hand-in-hand in my opinion. I am so incredibly thankful that Hollstadt always took the time to First Understand what was important to me from a family and personal perspective in addition to my career goals. For example, my wish to work flexible schedules and hours so that I could be available for our family and still be able to get the job done at the client. My husband worked 2nd/3rd shift for many years and with 3 kids, it got a little crazy at times. Additionally, over the years I had opportunities for contracts that were outside of where I wanted to be from a location point of view. Hollstadt ‘first understood’ what I wanted and continually supported me in this wish. I never felt pressured to try to win a contract that I didn’t feel comfortable with in whatever way. Again…all of this helped me be successful on my client assignments. It took away some of the normal stresses that we all experience.
I remember when we were awarded the Minnesota Business Ethics Award – that one was really special to all of us and probably the one that made me most proud.
It’s obvious to me that our current team definitely follows the First Understand and Do The Right Thing values as I hear about difficult situations that Hollstadt is put in for whatever reason and there is ALWAYS an effort to First Understand the problem and then determine the Right Thing to do about it.
Lastly, Be Humbly Confident – to me, we have had so many examples of Humbly Confident consultants over the years. Hollstadt has always worked hard at finding consultant and office team members with this trait and I believe it is so important. I know from my consulting experience, that many projects are hard enough to work on due to timeline, complexity, resources, etc. and the last thing you need are other team members that don’t fit the Humbly Confident profile which can cause problems and make it difficult to keep moving forward. This is a value that I hope I was able to emulate for Hollstadt.
I think you can tell that the professional and personal support that I have received from Hollstadt over the years is likely what kept me here for so long. Although, those of you that know me might agree with me in that I am probably the most unlikely person to be a consultant. I sometimes struggle with change and that might have played a part of my staying for 30 years as well! The work has been incredibly satisfying and as to be expected, occasionally stressful at times, but I always knew that the Hollstadt team had my back which meant the world to me. I am incredibly proud to be the first 30-year employee!
I have truly enjoyed my time with my Hollstadt family and will be forever grateful to Rachel, Jim and Molly (and many others) for the opportunities given me over the years to be successful in my work and still maintain that home/life work balance that we all want. Now it’s time to take another ‘leap of faith’ and figure out what retirement will bring.