By: Brittany Campbell, Director of Talent Acquisition
Mix Talent welcomed our 100th employee in March, and as a result of this exciting milestone, I’ve found myself reflecting on the journey I’ve been honored to be a part of. While this is a personal story about what it was like to start as the first employee at Mix Talent and grow with the organization, it’s also a Mix Talent story that provides just one example of how you can build a career here.
Jumping Into Something New
Through conversations with Mix Talent candidates over the years, I’ve repeatedly heard that recruiting/talent acquisition is not necessarily the job that you dream of having when you “grow up.” People often say it’s a career they just “fell into.” My journey is no different.
After graduating from college with a B.A. in Psychology and grappling with the question of what was next, I was introduced to a leader at a boutique life science recruitment firm who was willing to take a chance on me.
I saw this as a way to start a career instead of going back for more school, and I felt recruiting was at least loosely related to my psychology degree. What I couldn’t have realized at the time was how important that decision was for setting me on the exciting path I’m still on today.
Fast forward to August of 2018 when Mix Talent was officially formed. That same leader who took a chance on me before asked if I was willing to join a small life science recruiting and consulting startup that he’d formed with a few partners.
Joining Mix was an easy decision for me. When you find the right leadership – people you trust who have taken the time to mentor you, who believe in you, and who truly care about your development – you push any other hesitations to the side.
Changing and Thriving With Mix
I was lucky enough to be the first hire at Mix Talent after the founding partners. Along with a few other incredible colleagues who joined soon after me, we were a lean team of passionate, dedicated individuals who were building something truly exciting.
Our office was an empty space in Grandview, Ohio, with folding desks and folding chairs for our first month. I was recruiting for our clients during the day and creating internal resources like training materials and templates through the evening. One week we’d jump to Boston to see clients and then hop over to San Francisco the next.
During this time, I had the opportunity to stretch myself by consulting with hiring managers who were seeking anything from pharma sales reps to scientists to medical affairs executives. As a recruiter, I grew tremendously in that first year.
Thriving in ambiguity was a challenge for me at first, but I learned to love it. As our President, Mick Shimp says, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because that is when you grow.” And we grew fast. By the end of year 1, we had 50 clients, and our company had grown from 6 employees to 42.
Growing as a Team
With some key hires and the development of our current team, we shifted from “jack-of-all-trades” recruiters to focusing in specific areas, becoming subject matter experts in the functional areas where our clients needed support, such as R&D, Medical Affairs, Clinical Development, and Commercial. We also began building out other service offerings, such as Consulting and Assessment, Talent Optimization, and HR Consulting, so that we could solve more of our clients’ problems.
My recruitment focus started in R&D before shifting to Medical, and I had the opportunity to build these internal recruiting teams from scratch. I found that I thrived in Medical Director recruitment, and I developed a level of subject matter expertise in the medical space that built trust with clients and candidates alike.
Of course, it was challenging to start. The clients and candidates I was working with were intimidatingly accomplished and intelligent individuals, but presenting them with opportunities or talented candidates was invigorating, especially as I got more confident. Further, I knew my clients were contributing to significant advancements in medicine to help patients, so the hard work had true meaning.
Being the One to Build Things
In my second year with Mix I had the opportunity, along with a few other leaders, to go through an executive coaching program. This was an intensive, year-long program that Mix had invested in, again showing their investment in their people.
One of the many things I learned from this program was to think about my long-term plans, or as they put it, to lift my head up and think about what was next. For the past few years I had been very head-down, working hard to build the various recruiting groups.
For me, this led to two revelations. (1) I loved to build things, and (2) whatever was next, there was nowhere else I wanted to work but Mix. By this point, my passion for this company and its people was incredibly strong. With this in mind, I approached leadership about the need for our first Internal Talent Acquisition function.
At that time, with our quick growth, I had noticed many of the leaders at Mix were not equipped to grow and scale their teams while also delivering on the high rate of client demands. They needed support, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I should be the one to support them.
By this point, I had recruited in nearly all the functions we had at Mix, and I thought who better to tell our story to prospective candidates?
One of Many Stories
So here I am in mid-2022, working with the incredible leaders at Mix to grow our teams so that our clients’ teams can also grow and thrive with the best talent our industry has to offer.
Mix is growing faster than ever, and sharing our history while we continue to write new stories is meaningful to me. I know my story about growing at Mix is one of many, and there are many more to come.
At the beginning of my career, I fell into things, but I learned that at Mix I am empowered to jump. If you’re interested in jumping into your own Mix Talent journey, let’s connect.