Certified HR professional Sharon DeLay is the President of BoldlyGO Career and HR Management, a full-service, full-cycle HR consulting firm, specializing in working with micro to small businesses, primarily in the professional services industries. Her expertise and passion lie in helping small business owners and entrepreneurs attract and retain top talent for their business.
We recently spoke with Sharon about her business, how she sees women leading the way and what she hopes you will take away from her presentation at this year’s National Women’s Business Conference.
Q: Tell us a little bit about you.
My business is BoldlyGO Career and HR Management, LLC. We are a full-service, full-cycle outsourced HR consulting company for small businesses (usually those with less than 50 employees), and we focus mostly on professional services organizations (attorneys, medical offices, accounting offices, etc.), although we have some light manufacturing and scientific companies, as well. Most recently, we have started making ancillary benefits available to our clients through partnerships with other businesses. We also offer career transition services to individuals. My HR-related foundation includes employee communications, technical writing, training and development, as well as recruiting, hiring and managing teams from 2 to 150 people.
Q: What’s next for you and your business, and how will you get there?
We do a lot of recruiting for our employers. Most of our employers are considered very small/micro-entrepreneurs and typically can’t pay as well as larger companies or offer the level of competitive benefits. Coupled with this, unemployment rates in central Ohio are very low. Our employers frequently lose out talent as a result. Just this year, we partnered with an Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) and purchased an EAP program. We negotiated with the EAP to allow us to create a consortium in which all of our employers could “buy into” the consortium for about 20 percent of the cost they would have had to pay if they purchased their own EAP. Additionally, our five-year plan involves a regional growth to contiguous states to Ohio.
Q: What are some areas today where you see women entrepreneurs leading the way?
I see women leading the way in how they do business. Of course, we all want to make a living, but we also want to help others have opportunity, too. Our women business owner-employers are so incredibly generous to the people they hire. They may not be able to provide rich benefits packages, but they’re open to being creative in how they compensate and how they operate. So, we’ve seen more incentive plans, more flexible scheduling and more openness to how work gets done.
I also see women willingly and openly helping others. Every woman I reach out to with a request for guidance or advice never hesitates to freely share, and they open their contacts without hesitation. Most women entrepreneurs genuinely believe there are opportunities for all of us to succeed, so women business owners are leading the way on being INCREDIBLY generous with their time, guidance and contacts.
Q: How have you led the way in your business and community in the past year?
In addition to what I am trying to do in my business to help our small employers be more competitive, I strive to give back through speaking and volunteering my time to advise on resumes, career guidance and LinkedIn training, as well as advise other entrepreneurs on how to launch their own businesses. I also speak/train frequently on HR topics. Through all of these, I draw on my skills and my business background to share our “secrets” with others.
Q: In what areas do you hope to see women leading the way next?
I think we will continue leading the way in changing how businesses work. The incoming workforce demands change, and I think women are hard-wired to do things differently in response to adverse situations. I think the sea change that will happen will include working in chunks throughout a day (instead of in 8-hour shifts), collaborating and partnering more to open opportunities and changing employment law to benefit families and the individual as much as it benefits the business. Even if employment law does not drive changes, women business owners will change their businesses to create win-win situations for their businesses and their employees.
Q: Why is a conference like this one for women entrepreneurs critical?
About three to four years ago, I decided I wanted to figure out how to scale my solo operation for quick growth. I did some research, but I also started asking my peers and colleagues questions. In 2014, I attended the WBC in Indianapolis (my first). I attended a session based on the book SCALE, and it transformed everything for me. I started processing everything, understanding that I could not grow if people could not help me actually DO my business. I also finally “got it” at this conference about the importance of focus. So, between focus and scale, I have seen phenomenal year-over-year growth in my business. If you just pick up one concept at these conferences and implement it into your business, I believe the registration cost will be paid for.
Q: If women walk away from your presentation with one thing, what do you want it to be?
I want them to have great information about attracting, hiring and retaining team members for the greatest growth and profit. In my session, “Creating Hiring Solutions from Gen Z to Baby Boomers,” we’ll explore the challenges and possibilities within each generation in the workforce and talk about how small employers can be competitive in these areas. Below are the outcomes and benefits of our session.
- Identify the facts and myths about the different generations in the workplace and what motivates them.
- Discuss appealing benefits that don’t cost a lot.
- Develop a Top 10 list of why your company is the employer of choice.
- Update your hiring strategies to meet current employment trends.
- Explore the value of training for hard-to-fill positions.
- A deeper understanding of hiring trends and challenges for 2016 and beyond.
- A list of additional low-cost and attractive benefits to improve their Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
- A checklist to help them with their hiring process.
- A plan they can customize and implement to train for hard-to-fill positions.
I want small employers and micro-entrepreneurs to be as confident and competitive as larger employers.
Q: How will you lead the way this year for your business and all women entrepreneurs?
I want to grow my business, and I want to continue being an affordable HR resource for small employers. However, I also want to be an innovative thinker. I want to help push the envelope when it comes to how we work and how we attract and retain employees for small businesses. I am going to continue pushing forward with my initiatives to help small employers be more competitive.
Q: Who is one woman from the past or present who inspires you when you think about leading the way, and why?
This is so cliché, but my mom has inspired me a lot. She was raised in a very traditional, conservative environment. Women had babies and stayed home to take care of them. However, mom never could stay home to raise her kids. She worked so hard to hold down a full-time job, care for two grandparents at two separate points who needed end-of-life care and still be there for all three of her children and their activities. So, she taught me hard work. She also taught me that the only person I ever needed to depend on was me. I don’t even think she even knew what lessons she was instilling in me in spite of her very traditional upbringing. But I do think she was unknowingly sharing her deepest dreams with me. NEVER ONCE has she even thought of telling me I should be more traditional. She has been my biggest cheerleader.
I’m also inspired by the quote, “She believed she could, so she did.” I have to believe a woman originally said that.
You won’t want to miss Sharon and all the other amazing speakers who will be at the National Women’s Business Conference, September 18-20 (Annual Membership Meeting on the 18th and the Conference on the 19th-20th), in Columbus, Ohio.
Don’t delay…Early Bird Registration ends on July 31st.
View complete conference agenda here.