Spotlight on: Amy Karpowicz, Senior Vice President of Local Operations
Amy Karpowicz, Senior Vice President of Local Operations, is a powerhouse who understands the value of hard work. During her 20-year tenure at Oxford, she has qualified for President’s Club 16 times and won multiple top awards including Recruiter of the Year, Branch Manager of the Year, Regional Manager of the Year, and finally VP of the Year. Amy has also developed multiple top producers within Oxford, which she says is one of her best accomplishments.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: I have held multiple roles at Oxford. I’ve been on the recruiting, sales, and management track since the beginning — starting as a Recruiter, and then moving up to a Sr. Recruiter, Branch Manager, Regional Manager, VP of the Central Region, VP of Local Operations, SVP of Recruiting & Consultant Engagement, and currently as the Senior Vice President where I use my passion for asking the right questions to lead our sales teams within local markets. Prior to Oxford, I was the Assistant Dean of Admissions at St. Ambrose University, where I received my undergraduate degree – best job ever (second to Oxford of course!).
Q: How long have you been with Oxford?
A: I applied out of the newspaper in 1998 and I still have the cutout job advertisement!
Q: What daily habits do you recommend for success?
A: Always start the day with a positive outlook and attitude no matter what happened the day before, or what you are up against in your day ahead.
Have a plan for the day and daily goals to accomplish. Plan your work, and work your plan! For years, I had an hourly spreadsheet of how I would spend the day and what goals I needed to accomplish. I think it is important to use a checklist, write things down, and check it off as you accomplish that goal; it feels good. I always try to finish the day completing these goals/tasks, and staying late in order to do so. I want to start the next day ahead, not behind. Hint: always leave some space on that daily checklist for unanticipated tasks.
For our daily habits at Oxford, “Back to the Basics” is something I always say. Having “Meaningful Minutes” on the phone every day with clients and consultants, along with quality consultant interviews, quality client visits, and a commitment to asking questions. Networking, and uncovering market information is key.
Q: What attributes do you think are most important in a leader?
A: Be accountable, ethical, and always set a good example for others to follow. Sound listening and communication skills are also incredibly important. Be committed to the company and to your staff. Have flexibility and embrace the inevitable changes every business will face. Especially as a female leader, it’s important to be confident. Be confident in who you are, your ability to lead, and your ability to build winning teams. Lastly and most importantly, just be yourself.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read on business or leadership?
A: I have never been an avid reader of leadership books in general, but I pick them up every once in a while and read a few chapters. I prefer short, informative articles about the market, specific companies, business insights, leadership, technology trends, sales, etc. I do however have 42 leadership books on my office shelves, which have been passed on to me from other leaders and friends, acquired through management courses I have taken, and others that I have purchased. They are all good, but I can’t think of one I would say is the best. I would be happy to share these books with others!
Q: What skills do you think will be most in-demand for consultants in 2019?
A: There are so many in-demand skills but a few to note are Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Digital Transformation, and Mobile Application Development.
Q: What trends are you seeing in talent and recruitment this year?
A: Although I still 100% believe in the “pick up the phone” recruiting model, “social recruiting” through online platforms is a must. Using social media channels for recruitment will only grow as time goes on. Our recruiters should expect to use talent databases, various social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram, technical websites, the Oxford website, networking events, and more. They need to be comfortable with going beyond a job posting or searching names. Finding talent from technical blogs, user groups, forums, and talent databases needs to be a key piece of a successful recruiting strategy. Also, focusing on personal and company branding is so important right now.
Q: What do you like best about working with your team?
A: What I like best about my team is who they are as people. My Oxford staff and colleagues are very important to me. They live in different markets, have different backgrounds, are different ages, hold different views, and have various levels of experience. The greatest reward for me is seeing them succeed and grow at Oxford. My staff is the reason I have been here over twenty years, why I work long hours, take the opportunity to travel, and always give 100% each and every day. They are the most important part of my leadership strategy.
Q: Why Oxford?
A: For clients, we have Account Managers who want to take the time to speak with you often, visit you face-to-face, and get to know you, your projects, your team, and your company. These are Account Managers that work as your partner, finding you the very best talent in the market. We work to provide the right talent, right now through our core competency of recruiting. We have a global database of qualified senior consultants, so we can provide the very best resource for your specific needs.
For consultants, we boast local market depth with an international network of clients. We have smart, aggressive recruiters who understand the technology and really get to know the consultant through our interview process and consistent communication. We are a financially sound company with 35 years in business. We have the best opportunities for a consultant, working with the very best clients.
Our internal employees have opportunities to continually learn and grow, both professionally and financially. The staffing industry is a great sector of the market. I believe learning and selling technology services is exciting, and we always reward our staff for their hard work.
From a personal perspective, Oxford has been good to me over the years, rewarding me in many ways. I love being in the field of technology, enjoy being in front of clients, and I have never stopped learning while at Oxford.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Starting at age 13 working over the summer months in Central Illinois, I de-tasseled corn. Around 4:30 a.m., a few neighborhood kids and I would be bussed to a cornfield. Some days it would be 100 degrees outside, and I’d be in my long-sleeved shirt and jeans because it was the required attire. There were often snakes, mice, and bugs to deal with, and I would come home covered in cuts from the corn husks, mud, and more. It really makes me appreciate the job and life that I have built for myself and enjoy now.
Q: What is your work motto or favorite quote on success?
A: The grass is not always greener; water your own.
At a young age, Amy learned the value of grit and a hard day’s work. Today, her drive to succeed, combined with a positive outlook and constant confidence is what makes Amy such a fantastic leader, and a stellar example of the caliber of talent and leadership we have at Oxford.