April 11, 2022
Businesses have origin stories. Some are super inspiring and even make it into the collective consciousness. The myth of the garage start-up is so popular you might put your company's future at risk by not starting your business in a garage. Origin stories can be powerful brand builders that help a business scale.
Salmela started in my basement guest bedroom. I initially wanted to be a solo entrepreneur, but that all changed when I hired Megan Weizel, my sister’s college roommate. Megan came with a decade of corporate experience and a desire to make a mark on the world, but with a balanced lifestyle where she could be an engaged mom while doing meaningful work. That was my goal as well, and I came to the realization that I could hire, grow, and still have that balance. Megan and I figured this out together, and are still collaborating eight years later. Today is actually her eight year anniversary at Salmela!
I wanted to sit down with Megan and discuss her approach to talent acquisition, business, and life. Megan brings a unique perspective that our candidates and clients appreciate, and I want to elevate her voice.
Megan, welcome to Musings!
Thinking back to 2014, we each took a chance on each other. What do you remember about those early days when we were MedSearch Network?
Ha! Yeah, it all started with a simple cup of coffee and now here we are continuing to build a solid business that changes lives every day. I recall thinking those early days were so quiet. I had recently left a full corporate career at a global multi-billion dollar brand with so many moving parts that I was responsible for each day. It was honestly a welcome change for me.
We had such simple systems in those early days. I remember learning how everything worked and wondering how it could possibly work that well without more sophisticated programs. However, it worked. You and Kara made things purr.
I came along and I think I scared you a bit! I was eager to suggest new processes, systems, efficiencies that still continue to serve our teams. We’ve really evolved and we continue to get better every day.
Yes, I think you coming along with your corporate background was very helpful in helping us understand what was needed to scale. It became a true start-up when you joined versus me just being a solo practitioner.
It must have been a big transition for you. More and more candidates are telling us they want to make similar life-changing career transitions. What advice do you have for them?
Yeah, it was certainly a big transition and I haven’t looked back since. I learned so much during my corporate years about how to build a foundation based on systems, processes and data. I learned how to professionally interact with colleagues, clients and stakeholders. I taught business owners how to run their businesses more effectively. There were SO many spreadsheets, quick start guides and operational checklists! I can’t imagine my career without that experience. The real fun however was applying all of that knowledge and best practices to a growing organization that was still in its nascent stages of development. Together, we were able to have such incredible impact from day one.
For candidates, I’d want to help them know what they’re getting into. Taking steps into smaller companies means you’re trading a lot of consistency for flexibility. It’s a lot of building but it’s rewarding! If you have the drive, the work pays off and what you put into it comes back to you multifold. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the corporate world. I tell candidates that if they yearn for more, press on and find that growing company where they can make a big splash.
What about folks on the hiring side? Any tips?
I’d love to see more companies offer more incentive to excel. I talk to people every day that wish there was a reward for those of us that do more than expected. I’d advise companies to focus on hiring quality talent and then build incentive programs for all levels that encourage excellence and give their people a reason to stay.
We often ask candidates to describe themselves in a way that gets beyond the resume bullet points. Megan, what’s your superpower? What makes you awesome at your job?
I am a natural connector in all facets of my life. I actively connect people to other people, places and things. From introducing people to their new professional BFFs, to stellar job opportunities, to recipes and running shoes.
This job is so unique. Every single day I get to meet new people. It’s such an honor to do this work. People trust us to help shape their lives. I love knowing what makes people tick, what gets them up in the morning, what work they want to do to feel more whole. I digest that snapshot of each person and do my best to connect them to new people and new opportunities.
Our professional and personal lives can have way less division these days. When the right amount of overlap really works, that’s where the magic happens. Helping candidates find and define their greater good is a huge part of my work. What do these people need to make sure this professional shift also positively influences the other parts of their life?
I agree with all of that! It's like you were born to do this work.
You’ve worked with so many innovative and creatively-driven companies. Where do you go from here? What’s your dream client?
I’m incredibly drawn to the femtech (female technology) industry and the solutions that now exist around personalized health data. I read recently that the market is expected to be worth nearly $50 billion by 2025. As a woman and mom, I’d absolutely LOVE to work with companies such as BioMilq, Allara, Ro, Kindbody, Maven Clinic, Oula to name a few.
Lots of exciting, innovative work in healthcare at the moment. It’s an exciting time for sure!
Last question: How do you get your mind off work when you need to recharge?
I love to run trails - it’s always been a place where I can catch up with my thoughts. It’s a great time to get my mind clear and spend time outdoors. Even though I’m escaping the office, I often have some of my best work ideas while out on a run!
Thanks Megan. It’s amazing to look back and reflect on the impact you have had on your client’s business and candidate’s lives. You helped everyone navigate to a better place. So cool. Congratulations!