Member Spotlight on Leora Baumgarten of NewHire
Chicago Family Business Council: What year was your company founded?
Leora Baumgarten: Our company was founded in 1985, as New Office Temps, Ltd. Since then we have grown to include NewHire recruiting software and services.
CFBC: Tell us a little bit of the history behind the company?
LB: When we were founded we were strictly a provider of temporary administrative staffing. In 2005 we brought the NewHire recruiting software & services product line to market. NewHire has expanded nationally, and is now the main focus of our company. While we continue to place temporary staff in Chicago, NewHire software and services dominates the business.
CFBC: What family members work with you in the business (if any)?
LB: My husband, Chuck Smith and I both work in the business. Chuck started here as a temp in 1988 and quickly moved into the payroll manager role. In 2000, we purchased the business and took over from the founding partners, Allison McRae and Elsie Larson. Late in 2001 I came on board. The founding partners retain minority shares in the company, and are now retired. In many ways Chuck and I are like the second generation of a family business.
CFBC: How did you hear about the CFBC and what motivated you to join?
LB: I was invited to participate in an event at the Italian Village downtown. I learned about the event when I received an email invitation. I don’t know how I got on the list, though I knew several business consultants who were familiar with the FBC. After that first event I knew that I should consider joining.
I was motivated to join because I thought that it would good to be part of a group of people who had faced a variety of challenges that seemed familiar to me. I thought it would be good to meet with people who had experienced similar issues and had found ways to address them
CFBC: How has CFBC helped your company succeed?
LB: The FBC has provided me with a better understanding of myself as a leader in the company and among my peers. It also helped me better understand the needs of the customers we serve.
CFBC: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your experience with your forum and the CFBC?
LB: The most rewarding and personally helpful thing has been the Inspiration Forum group. A lot of times in business, there is a sharp distinction between personal life and business, but in many family owned businesses that line is blurred. Members of the CFBC are open and understanding about that blurry line. I find the support of both the business component and family component very valuable.
CFBC: Is there one thing you have learned from being a member of CFBC that has impacted your business or your life the most?
LB. CFBC has helped me manage the relationship with the founding partners, helping me communicate more clearly with them. Even though the founding partners are not family members, the experiences we have with them are very similar to what many second generation owners experience.
In addition, it is very helpful to me to hear challenges in recruiting and hiring that other owners experience. This knowledge helps me serve my customers better.
CFBC: What one book would you recommend to your fellow CFBC members?
LB: I would recommend a book called The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal. It is about the Ephrussi family who owned an international, multigenerational business, prior to World War II. The history of the family is told by following the twists and turns of the family’s art collection.
CFBC: Name one person who had the biggest impact on you as a leader
LB: Marie Curie. She was a pioneer in science and worked tirelessly. She had some great successes but had some great adversity and overcame many obstacles to receive her Nobel Prize.
CFBC: Describe your ideal customer?
LB: NewHire’s ideal customer is a company that has fewer than 1000 employees that is spending too much time hiring & recruiting employees. Typically, our customers are owner-operated or family-owned businesses around the country that have ongoing hiring and recruiting needs. Our customers have between 2-20 hires a year depending on the company. Many times we are brought in by the owner or manager. We often will work with the management team, human resources, or an operations manager. We are flexible about who we work with from the company. Our goal ist to help employers hire the right people for the position(s) as efficiently as possible.
NewHire works with companies in every industry that you can imagine -- manufactures, food, software, insurance, independent launderers and more -- we run the gamut of industries. We get to learn a lot about a variety of industries, which is one of the most fun parts of our business.
Because we work with small and mid-market firms, each hire is often unique. Companies can have very different needs, even when the job title for an open position is the same. NewHire is customizable, which allows us to meet the needs of our wide range of clients.
CFBC: How does your Company celebrate successes?
LB: We like to give verbal recognition during weekly staff meetings. We also give discretionary bonuses to celebrate successes, and throw company outings.
CFBC: What are your plans for the future?
LB: My plans for the future are to robustly grow NewHire’s software and services to help other owner-operated or family-owned businesses with their recruiting and hiring challenges.