When Kristen Laramore joined us for a Consultant Connection, we were thrilled. We wanted to talk about her journey as a leader and surprised us by saying she landed her dream job, a job she didn’t know existed!
Kristen credits two key factors to her leadership, one is networking and the second is her resume. As humans, we meet so many people throughout our lives, but networking is more than that. It’s the keeping in touch with, the human side of networking, that makes the connection alive.
In Kristen’s case, she met a connection in 2000 and 15 years later, that connection put her in touch with the person responsible for hiring her in her current position today!
In looking at resumes, creating, or hiring persons based on them, Kristen says an important key is “the other stuff.” The “interests,” community involvement, the bottom of the page type inclusions. Something to grab the attention of the recruiters or hiring managers. This allows the manager to learn more about you during the interview.
Kristen’s dream job turned out working at the City of Tampa. When she first started, the City employed 5,000 people. Secretly, Kristen was terrified by that as the largest company she worked for had 500 employees. However, her passion for the work that was assigned and the realization that is was really about human connections got her through. She also kept part of a quote in mind:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s acting in spite of fear” (paraphrased)
With these thoughts in mind, she was able to purposefully align the City’s strategy with actions, whether through financial support, volunteerism, community outreach, and to bring diversity, equity, inclusion values to their employees, and make it their brand for Tampa.
Connections after Covid
Obviously, Covid physically changed how the City worked and is still effecting things. Aligning strategy has become an adaptive skill. There’s now virtual environments, hybrid offices, but maintaining the human connection is vital.
Huge events for the City were not viable in recent years, due to the pandemic, so this jumpstarted our creative thinking. How could we still have a human connection and still have social distancing in place?
Laser light show! We came up with the idea to do an outside laser light show, people could watch from their vehicles, yet get out and see something new.
Moving forward it’s important to maintain the human connection
Keeping City employees engaged by:
- Virtual professional development events
- Diversity cultural events
- Employee appreciation events
- Make sure employees feel valued
- Can have a sense of ownership and pride in their work
- Feel safe-physically and mentally
Looking forward for the City of Tampa, Kristen says they currently now have 9,400 employees and have grown in spite of the pandemic. They are wanting to balance sustainability and enrich the experiences of philanthropic DEI and employee engagement. All the while, “focus will remain on the human connection, whether that’s our employees or the community” says Kristen about the upcoming years with the City of Tampa.