An Interview with Cindy Lyness
As a follow up on our 40th anniversary I got a chance to interview Cindy Lyness for some pretty cool Q&A. I’ve heard of Cindy for some time, and it was so nice to get a chance to hear her take on what has made MRI Cedar Rapids a success for so many years. Cindy joined MRI Cedar Rapids in 1979, and never looked back.
What led you to Management Recruiters of Cedar Rapids?
- I had been downsized from Aegon- [it was called by a different name at the time]-I went to MRI Cedar Rapids looking for help in finding a new job.
- The office manager heard me talking about what I was interested in, and she suggested I stay to work with Office Mates 5.
- I was originally going to be a social worker – but being a recruiter allowed me to help people in a significant way, and I loved it from the beginning.
What was it like when you first joined?
- It was very much the same as it is now. You kept your eye on what was best for the client. They viewed you as a partner, and it’s your responsibility to take the relationship very seriously.
- We were always fulfillment driven, working to give our client partners what they needed. We were always very client focused; Cedar Rapids is a small town, reputation would make or break the company- we developed trust and didn’t take that lightly.
- We [were] committed to always add value, be caring and considerate to every person you come in contact with as a recruiter.
What led you to become the owner of the franchise?
- Well, it was time for Fritz to retire, and I wanted to take on a new challenge – I stepped up. I wanted to continue to grow the company and make a bigger business.
- I got to grow with the company, watching it go from just the Office Mates 5 name to the decade long “Office of the Year” winner.
Who were the biggest community players (clients/ partners) that helped Management Recruiters of Cedar Rapids stay successful?
- Our typical client would be a small to medium sized business that understood the value of the competitive advantage we could give them: legal firms, manufacturing, banking. There were a lot of very special companies- 15-20 core organizations that we got to grow with throughout my time.
- We did pro bono searches, got to participate in service clubs, support the chamber of commerce, and had wonderful speaking engagements on college campuses.
- “Back in the day” (ha ha) we had 6 people working Eastern Iowa specifically. Now our coverage has changed as far as expanding geographies, but we are still deeply rooted in the corridor, and we will never forget the wonderful relationships we got to build here!
What were the biggest challenges for your team?
- Recruiting is always driven by the economy. Everything changed every year and we had to constantly evolve alongside the market changes throughout my career.
- We were always setting ourselves apart, making competitive decisions, and ringing constant value to clients to help them stay successful as well.
- There’s not one “biggest challenge.” It was always constant improvement, succeeding through the years, becoming market masters, and maintaining market mastery- always keeping our finger on the pulse of what our clients need.
- We were always looking forward and enhancing our ability to help them achieve their goals.
What else could you tell me about the company’s accomplishments that were most important to you?
- I’m most proud of the people that currently work for MRICR, and that have come through the doors throughout the years. They each helped create a culture and environment where people are constantly growing, changing, and improving every day.
- I loved spending time, understanding clients, and bringing value to them, keeping them interested and excited- everyone has dreams and goals, and I loved helping others achieve their business goals through our recruiting.
What are your hopes for the company going beyond 2016?
- Having Mike Brown come on as the new owner was a really big accomplishment- he has the same goals, same caring and devotion to clients and employees as I do. Having Mike be the person to purchase the company is extremely satisfying- He exemplifies the leadership that it takes to make a company successful, and has all of the qualities that will lead [MRI Cedar Rapids] to continued success in the future.
A special thank you to Cindy for your time, dedication, and wonderful example. I agree that we’re pretty lucky here to have Mike as our leader- (though he frequently calls us employees “boss”) and we’ll be hearing from Mike himself in our next blog post! Thanks also to all you readers, and especially to our client & candidate partners in the recruiting realm!