On the 23rd of September 1996, Sarah McNeill and Cheryl Nakamoto founded McNeill Nakamoto Recruitment Group, affectionately known as McNak. Recently, I met with Sarah and Cheryl separately to ask about the road they have traveled these past 16 years. Interesting how in sync these two are.
Congratulations on 16 successful years. How does it feel?
Sarah: I think I love McNak more with every passing year. It truly only gets better!
Cheryl: Pretty incredible given most partnerships don’t endure the test of time. We have been able to create a strong brand and have lots of fun doing it!
What was your vision for McNak when you started in September 1996?
Sarah: To stand out in the vast sea of staffing agencies and provide the best staffing experiences for our customers.
Cheryl: To be a great recruitment firm in terms of getting the RIGHT FIT from the onset. Also, an agency that cares equally about exceeding the expectations of our clients as well as the candidates. Having been a candidate at one point I know the struggles of looking for work and having some compassion – care to treat them with respect was top on my list.
Regarding business partnership, how do you ‘make it work’?
Sarah: Cheryl and I are very different people with complimentary skill sets. We make a perfect yin/yang partnership. And we share a love for fun and for seeing the ‘glass half full’.
Cheryl: Really listening to each other and playing to each others’ strengths then trusting the other to make the right choices when implementing decisions that were made jointly. Not acting unilaterally without consideration for the other.
You are very successful entrepreneurs. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business now?
Sarah: It’s a shark tank out there. Put your best ideas forward and hire the best people to execute your plan.
Cheryl: Have passion for what you are wanting to accomplish otherwise it becomes too difficult to push through those tough times. You need to know it’s going to be hard work and some long hours and seek out help in areas where you know you need direction.
Why is Corporate Culture important?
Sarah: Without corporate culture the business is just a machine with no soul. The best employees want to be a more of something greater than just the product or service. We wanted to create even just 10% of what the best brands have with their teams in terms of corporate culture.
Cheryl: Corporate culture is so important in that is defines the company. With the enormous growth around using social media, corporate culture is even more important now. People can get a sense of your culture and share this information with others, make opinions quickly and you are even more “exposed” to the public. Brand and corporate culture are so closely tied together. If you build a strong corporate culture then it can attract and help to retain top talent!
How do you make it FUN to work at McNak?
Sarah: We embrace our inner quirks and let others do the same. It’s never ‘just another day’ at the office.
Cheryl: We laugh at least 10 times a day…I just laughed at a joke right now with my team! We harness and embrace all our inner quirks and it makes it a fun place to work!
What’s next for McNak?
Sarah: To always remain true to our original McNak vision and to keep having fun!
Cheryl: Excited about building in our 2 areas of expertise- Finance and Real Estate and a new partnership formed that will allow us to offer Global Recruitment to our clients.