In honour of Bosses’ Day, we are showcasing the boss of all bosses’ Stacy Parker, the heart, soul and Managing Director of Blu Ivy Group. It’s easy to forget that there is a person behind the passion and success of our organization. We got to talk with Stacy on something you don’t normally get to hear about: her life outside of Blu Ivy Group.
So, who are you?
I am a builder of better workplaces. A problem solver. A person of optimism and hope. Focused on a vision of a better future.
Happily married for 22 years. Mother of two incredible young women. And a Kundalini practitioner.
Describe yourself in 5 words
Spiritual, Caring, Driven, Hardworking, Creative.
Tell us about your career – which university did you go to, and how did you end up here?
I completed my undergrad at the University of Windsor as a Business major, and later did an executive business program at INSEAD. My parents were entrepreneurs, and I grew up working for them and living in that world. It heavily influenced the way I connect with work to this day.
One of my first jobs out of university was in the recruitment and staffing industry. I loved solving my client’s business challenges by finding great people to work with them. Over time, my career grew with a mix of HR and marketing functions within global financial services companies and the HR Consulting industry.
About 11 years ago I was introduced to the world of employer branding and I immediately connected with the impact it could make on talent attraction and the employee experience. I observed that even the biggest and most well-known global brands had a real challenge with how they connected with, marketed, and told stories of who they were as a place to work. At the same time, sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and social media employer reviews were becoming prevalent. What happened in the workplace was now open to broadcast. I knew that this would impact brand share of voice, sentiment, workplace culture and talent attraction forevermore. I wanted in, I wanted to help solve this challenge. I knew that the HR and Marketing industry needed to evolve and merge strengths to build more powerful, trusted, and engaging cultures and brands.
I had some bumps along the way. In fact, before I started this business, I had that major moment in life that many of us eventually confront. I was extremely unhappy, and unfulfilled. The path I had originally planned for myself was no longer what I wanted and for a moment, it felt like failure. But it was exactly the opposite. It was a boomerang to push me to start this business, to follow my passion and to make the difference in the world that mattered to me. Today I am so grateful for those bumps. Those moments were the catalyst to much of my success, and today make me more comfortable with taking risks, and more willing to listen to my gut first.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well the joke in the family is that at the age of 6 I declared that I would grow up to become a professional bowler AND nurse. My grandmother was a nurse and I looked up to her, so that makes sense, but the bowling part is a true mystery. As a teen I was interested in dance and the fashion industry. In grade 11 though my father sent me to a business camp in Hamilton, New York, near Colgate University. While all my friends were at sports camps, and cottages, I was getting inspired about the world of business and entrepreneurship. I honestly loved the experience and decided then that I wanted to get into the business world when I grew up.
Tell us in your own words why you do what you do
I guess in its simplest terms I look for and enable growth for Blu Ivy. Whether it is business development, service offerings, speaking engagements, marketing, or partnership programs, I am constantly seeking ways to evolve and improve the business, and the impact we have on our clients. I am one of the first people our clients and prospects meet when they connect with Blu Ivy and am typically involved in finding the initial plan to help bring their vision to life.
What is your hope for Employer Branding, and being a pioneer in this space?
Since we started this business, my vision has always been to transform workplaces and the function of Human Resources. I not only believe but have seen countless success stories to validate that Employer branding is far more than great recruitment marketing. Employer branding strategy is the ideal foundation to build culture and employee experience programs, to evolve leadership skills, to build ambassadorship, company share of voice and reputation. It truly is the red thread that connects people to business. We are just now starting to track data on the financial impact that this work has on business and it is staggering. The new millennium of workers will demand that they are critical stakeholders on equal footing to leadership, shareholders, communities, society, and customers. There will be no place for hierarchical and industrial age HR practices soon. Employer branding strategy unites stakeholders and provides the reason to act, reason to align and platform for communications and cultural evolution
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Three things I always try to bring myself back to. For me, they are the most critical to ensure I feel I am defining my own success and joy, and in the heat of the moment, can be critical mantras to introduce a new vision, plan my week or end a day.
- Believe in yourself. The way you see yourself is the way you will treat yourself. The way you treat yourself is what you will become
- Make what is valuable to you most important. Instead of focusing solely on what is profitable, think about work and life as homogenous. There is no end game, only the current journey. You need balance with both to derive joy, growth, learning, health, and contentment. Protect that balance fiercely.
- Adversity always leads to opportunity. Remember that in your difficult moments, your losses, your late nights. Every loss leads to a new win. Every challenge leads to a new solution.