Taly Russell had to chance to interview recently with IdeaMensch, a database-of-sorts filled with great ideas from fellow entrepreneurs. Below is a preview of that interview. Get to know Chantal “Taly” Russell a little bit better by checking it out. To read the full article, please visit the IdeaMensch site, here.
Where did the idea for Silverchair Partners come from?
I’ve been working in search since 2003 and have always loved the art of making great workplace matches. I felt there was a personal touch we could offer by uniquely serving the highest touch Administrative & Human Resource placement niche. Administrative search is highly nuanced. SIlverChair Partners is not a volume search firm and our focus is on getting to the core of those nuances to make a long- term placement for our clients and candidates. As for the name “SilverChair,” there are three reasons I chose it. I’ll tell you about one of them! 1) Silver is a precious metal but also the most malleable and flexible one. A great assistant has to mold themselves to their boss needs/communication etc. The Assistant needs to be flexible because each person they support during their career will be different in style. The Chair is a primary support that carries their boss, leverages them, keeps them comfortable, and wants to be the person BEHIND the person.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start by getting my two kids ready and off on the bus to school each morning. I get ready and then bundle my dog, Charlie into my/his backpack to go to work with me. I spend my mornings meeting with clients at :Core Club and doing mellow business development, whether that is at coffee meetings, conferences or speaking engagements. I spend the afternoon with my SilverChair team connecting on active searches and discussing the most viable candidates for each of our active mandates.
I make it most productive by directly connecting with the people I am interacting with at that moment. We are all so busy and pulled in so many directions, it is important to at a minimum, be focused what you are doing in that moment.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I tend to break ideas down into smaller, “bite sized” actionable items:
1) Brainstorm on how I/we can get to the end goal precisely but quickly and then assign a due date to it.
2) What are the steps that we need to bring this idea to life? Assign/delegate any of those steps so they are each person knows the piece they are responsible to handle and have ownership over it.
3) Then the fun begins!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Artificial Intelligence (A.I). This both excites me and terrifies me simultaneously. I’m concerned for people’s jobs particularly the ones that are most easily automated in the near future!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Patience but also knowing when to just “fold ‘em!”
What advice would you give your younger self?
Enjoy yourself. Everyone says that time goes by so quickly. You need to really push yourself to enjoy the process and not just the end goal. The first eight years as one of the top US recruiters in my field, I did the exact opposite. I didn’t stop for one day, not even to take proper maternity leaves. When you’re at the top of your field, you want to STAY at the top. You actually work even harder when you are at the top so as not to lose that coveted spot. Eventually, you either burn out or get a clue. The ability to enjoy and take in each stage of your life is something I have finally learned. And not a minute too soon!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
The best all time episode of Seinfeld. I know I’m right!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I keep going! As an entrepreneur, there are always obstacles and roadblocks. Stay true to your core beliefs and values and keep on truckin’ if you love what you do and firmly believe in the business!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Schmoozing, networking, chatting people up in elevators, in lines etc. For a long time, I was heads down in my office and in my own world when out and about on the streets of NYC. Now I look around me and enjoy speaking with people all around me who are also racing around. I smile at strangers to get them to smile back and I get such a high from it. This always adds a skip to my step and when you’re happy, ideas and conversation flow more freely!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As an entrepreneur, you are always balancing growth at a sustainable rate. We are always focused on growing our offerings, and our team, but also maintaining our white glove service. At one point, I added a new business vertical to our Administrative/HR offering at SCP that I frankly didn’t know enough about. I knew it was highly profitable and a great space to be in. I had spoken to numerous people in the field and had assembled a good amount of data. But, I did NOT do a year to year, cycle to cycle analysis nor did getting this new stream of clientele happen as organically as I had assumed it would. Our Administrative hiring clientele is a solid 90% referral based. We do not do any outward bound cold marketing for business. But building a new practice requires not simply a sterling business brand but also some credentials in that specific vertical or a much slower start. Within 6 months, we realized that we needed to be more methodical about building this new vertical and perhaps even shut it down until we were truly ready to give it our full attention and focus.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always been in awe of people who remember everyone’s names/faces even years later. One year at a 4th grade parents night, it occurred to me that there should/could be a hardware device that works like Shazam does, but instead of music recognition, it provides face/name recognition when you cross paths with someone. I was so excited about this idea that I fleshed it out and presented it to Quirky (a company that voted on the best ideas and then actually fund and bring them to fruition.) Sadly Quirky never got back to me and went belly up 6 weeks later, along with my business idea. ((insert upside down emoji face here))
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A surprise YOGA session for my team at SilverChair. Right in the middle of the afternoon! Mandatory, all-hands-on-mat.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
TRELLO! Great for getting things done in an organized fashion when part of a team-based initiative.
What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is by Michael Caine; “Be calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”