• Somer Hackley

2020 Year in Review


No one could have predicted 2020. And while 2020 has a personal meaning to each of us, I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on some of the good things that came from this year.

Space to think.

Distinguished Search launched in February. Then there was March. Things changed.

I discovered that interesting things happen when I’m forced to slow down.

Magnetism.

Starting my own brand was like igniting a magnet. You’ve likely heard me refer to a hidden fan club. We all have one, and it is wonderful to discover it. Asking certain people to endorse me publicly was something I’ve never done before. It’s vulnerable. But I’ve discovered Brene Brown this year and let’s embrace it. Writing about it now brings back the same feelings of gratitude that I felt then. And the interesting thing about magnets is that they have two sides; both are ok. I’ve learned to spend time with people who give me magnetic energy.

Talking.

Not like that’s new! But what I’m referring to are conversations without an agenda. Talking to people with no end goal was different. Just catching up, but really. Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me but even a “hey let’s catch up” has a not-so-hidden-agenda of “hey let’s catch up and maybe you’ll be a client of mine one day or introduce me to someone who will be.” But no agenda! That’s refreshing.

Listening.

When I listened, I realized there was a skill set I obtained that I could use not only to make a living filling positions, but to help executive job seekers navigate this opaque process. There were so many questions! And I did my best to provide answers.

Helping.

I could have created a job search coaching service, but kept pushing that away. People asked me to be their "agent". Things change when money is exchanged. I simply offered to help. I wanted to. I love helping people show up as the best version of themselves, and helping them understand that most of the things that are happening to them have nothing to do with them at all. People gained perspective. Some realized they weren’t alone. Some landed jobs and we celebrated (virtually). I learned from each and every person I interacted with.

Writing.

The questions kept repeating themselves. I may talk to 100 people but they don’t talk to each other. They don’t realize that they’re all asking the same questions, going through the same emotional roller coaster. I started to write blog posts and articles. Then I started to write a book. I’m now nearly through with 10 chapters. This is where the new posts and videos come from.

Asking for advice.

Everything you see me do is because of someone in my network. I don’t have a boss; you’re looking at it. But what I do have is a whole world that has been out there cultivating for 18 years. My website was built up and torn down a few times with feedback from CDOs and CTOs. My unofficial mentors and I caught up on Zoom and turned my “I really want a podcast or webinar” into Two Distinguished Minutes. Everything I was about to do I ran by someone. When hiring started picking up again I ran my pitch deck and value prop by some of you, and the feedback was tremendously helpful. You helped me crystalize my voice. Everything I have done comes with feedback, for which I’m grateful.

Magic happens when people come together.

Community gives me energy. You may know about my Meetup dinner group, Table for 6, first in DC and now here in Austin. Not being able to bring people together over a meal left this huge itch to scratch. I created a members-only group for executive job seekers in Austin and we brought wonderful people and perspectives together. We celebrate when people become alumni. 2020 also opened my eyes to other recruiting perspectives. Being on this side of the fence for so long, maybe it’s a New York thing, but I’ve been trained to be insular. “We’re the best!” Now that I’m on my own there is a world of discovery. There are recruiting networking groups where people share ideas and help each other. There are recruiting influencers! There are some excellent recruiting leaders out there with great ideas. I’ve gotten to know a few of them who I would consider friends.

It’s like riding a bike.

Now that things have picked back up I’m confident I’m better off now than if I were full steam ahead back in February. I’m the same recruiter, with more perspective. And it’s been so much fun. I wouldn’t feel right without acknowledging the fact that I’m tremendously lucky. Sure I know the saying about where luck comes from, but I am. I’m fortunate that I was able to take the time to reflect and build something I’m proud of.

Thank you.

We didn’t know what was in store for 2020, and we don’t know what’s to come in 2021. I’m optimistic that great things will happen.

Happy New Year! (Virtual champagne clink!) See this article on LinkedIn.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All