Avery Francis: Take the time to cultivate genuine relationships in your career
Avery Francis started her recruiting career at an agency while she was in school training for broadcast, digital, and creative. After falling in love with recruiting and tech, she sought out opportunities to help recruit the future of the tech industry.
As part of the #movethedial: Women You Should Know series, we’re sharing the stories of some incredible women in technology; stories about their contributions, insights, and how they have grown to express themselves.
How did you get involved in tech?
While at school for broadcast and TV - and then for creative and graphic design - I worked full-time as a recruiter to finance my education. During that experience, I fell in love with recruiting.
Coming out of school, I was happy to continue working at the recruitment agency but I was laid off in a mass layoff due to the Great Recession. So I started my own photography firm on the side, which grew to include some digital, creative, and branding work.
Eventually I returned to recruiting, on some contracts and then full-time at a talent agency called Vitamin T. We did staffing in the creative and digital agency world. It was also my first introduction to tech, as I got introduced to a company called New Run, which got acquired by SapientRazorfish. Through my time at Vitamin T, I realized the importance of expanding into an internal role, at a tech company, building an innovative recruiting organization. SapientRazorfish was that opportunity for me.
After SapientRazorfish, I joined Rangle.io - initially as a Senior Talent Manager but became Director of Talent.
How have you overcome some of the hurdles in your career so far?
Through all of the hurdles and challenges that come from working in the startup space, I work on practicing gratitude and pulling on strength from the stories of other people who have overcome a lot in their careers or lives.
I’m really lucky have had jobs throughout my career that offer me flexibility, good benefits, and interesting, impactful work. So when I have obstacles, I try to put things in perspective, practice gratitude, and learn from those around me.
Is there any advice you'd give to your past self?
The advice I’d give to myself is to take a step back, believe in yourself, and recognize that things take time.
I come to work with a lot of passion and I care deeply about what I do - but at the same time I know that no one has a perfect career trajectory. Many of the times I struggled with career shifts or hurdles, I was hard on myself. I treated it like a monumental thing when in reality it was just a small speck of time.
It can be easy to give into negative thinking, but that doesn’t ever help you solve your problem. So I’d remind myself that I have a lot to offer, but then I’d look outward to ask for solutions to my problems or the support that I needed to solve the problem on my own.
#movethedial is premised on four things: connections, amplification, partnerships, and programming. Which is the most important to you and why?
That being said, I feel like they are all really important and influence each other. If you don’t make effort to cultivate genuine connections and relationships, then all the other things may not come to fruition.
As a recruiter, for instance, amplification is something I try to do every day with the stories of great candidates, but connection is what starts that relationship. Through connection you can also build a better sense of community, which helps build partnerships. Thinking about the trying times I have experienced, it was the connections I had in place and the people supporting me that helped to amplify my personal wins and direct me to resources to grow my skill sets and talents.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day, to me, is a day to celebrate, reflect, and think about the women who have paved the way for me. As a Black woman, I can acknowledge the women who fought tooth and nail so that I could have the opportunities I have today.
But it’s also a day where I can celebrate the women in my life that mean a lot to me - my family, friends, mentors, peers, and colleagues.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but also a lot of work that has been done. So International Women’s Day is to celebrate and talk about what we’re doing next - and it’s not just women who can join that conversation. It’s our whole society that can work to push the voices of women forward.