In the final section of our Women in Business series, we’ve interviewed Julie Scates, President and Founder of J2T Recruiting Consultants, a boutique Finance and Accounting recruiting firm based out of Denver, Colorado.
Women in Business: Julie Scates
After working as both a recruiter and headhunter after college, Scates founded J2T in 2000 with the help of her sister and father.
“We wanted a family business where we could design our own lives,” Scates said. “I come from a very large, tightknit family, and we believe that work should be secondary to family. We wanted to create a path where we were living more than just working.”
Seventeen years later, J2T has seen plenty of changes along its path, including a period of uncertainty during the Great Recession as national unemployment rates rose and the recruitment industry saw a downturn in growth.
“When the market trickled back on, things started to hum again,” Scates said. “We realized we needed to refocus. It was time to start over and not be who we were. It took me a good decade to get my arms around who we are and what we want to be.”
One of the unique aspects of J2T today is that its team of C-suite executives is comprised entirely of women.
“It wasn’t by design, but it’s a huge part of our culture today” Scates said. “We wanted to create a place where people truly could operate from a family-first lens, and that really seems to speak to women.”
With this important component of their core ideology and an environment that permits telecommuting, Scates explained that J2T happens to recruit a large number of working-moms.
"Most of our staff put in 40-to-50 hours a week, but not necessarily in a mandated eight-to-five,” Scates said. “They might have an hour or two before drop off, six hours in the middle of the day, and time later on in between karate, and dance, and homework. We find these people are highly successful in our environment because they have a hard start and stop to their day. I think most of our staff are more efficient between nine and four than most people are from seven-to-seven because they know they have to get it done."
Pictured above: several members of the J2T team. Photo used with permission of Julie Scates.
While Scates feels that their company culture and the ability to work from home have helped many of her team members bring back the joy of work, she admits that there are difficulties with this model.
“It’s very challenging to scale up a business this way,” Scates said. “Especially in an industry tethered to networking and relationship building, there are times where you need to have some live facetime and human interaction and connect relationally.”
As a Business Owner
Scates acknowledges that failure is something she contends with as a business owner, but she doesn’t let it overcome her.
“If you don’t own your failures, you’re not being honest.”
“Whether it’s work, or your own business, or marriage, or raising kids, or finances, you can’t have success without some failure along the way," Scates said. "If failure keeps you up at night and from doing the things you want to do, then you’re not an entrepreneur.”
To aspiring business owners, Scates suggests: just go for it.
“If you’ve got a passion and desire and heart for owning your own business, do it. The longer you wait, the harder it gets. With a mortgage and kids, the fear gets real. If you do it before those things are a reality, you can afford to take those risks, fumble, fail, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse.”
On Using Align
Scates’ firm J2T currently uses Align to track their overall priorities and better organize their daily activities. Although Scates was reluctant to try Align at first, she now says it has been life-changing.
“I was hesitant because I’m a prototype entrepreneur; I like to buck the system,” Scates said. “I don’t like accountability, and I don’t want to have a schedule that I have to follow. But after trying it out, we found that routine really has set me and my team free.”
Since J2T started using Align 15 months ago, Scates said the software has helped revitalize her company.
“Andy and Align literally resuscitated our business,” Scates said. “Align is a fundamental part of who we are; it’s how we operate our business, communicate, create daily routines, and it facilitates individual and team accountability.”
If you enjoyed this interview, check out the other posts in the series:
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