New staffing service looks to partner with businesses and employees
By Analiese Kreutzer
Photos by Christine Craddock
You may have noticed a new storefront recently next to Ethel’s New York Deli on Washington Street in Haymarket. The local franchise of Spherion Staffing and Recruiting is the latest venture of Kathleen Geneva, known to many locals as the owner of the Western Prince William County chapter of the National League of Junior Cotillions.
“I can’t wait for us to become a community partner, working with local businesses that are challenged to find the right quality candidate and helping local job seekers find opportunities. I want it to be a true collaboration,” said Geneva. She began her career in staffing right after college, working for a small firm in Washington, DC, and she fell in love with it.
“Staffing is not for everyone, because it’s very fast-paced,” Geneva said, “but what I loved the most was the people. I loved helping people find their jobs, and I loved working with the clients to help them find a solution.” She started as a staffing coordinator with Norrell and learned all of the different nuances to running a staffing and recruiting business as she worked her way up to the vice president level before leaving to stay home and raise her family.
Geneva always felt she would go back to work, but she wasn’t sure in what capacity. Then, when her son was in middle school and she was looking for an etiquette class for him, she found the National League of Junior Cotillions. Unfortunately, there was no chapter near her. When she inquired about it, she was told that they are franchised positions. That was nine years ago, and she has been running the local chapter ever since.
She has assistance with the administration of the Cotillion program, but she plans to continue teaching the evening classes two nights a week. “Many of these children have been with me for years. I love to teach, and registration is booming right now with students signing up for next fall,” Geneva said. “We had to pause the program because of COVID, but I can’t wait to get started again in the fall.”
Despite her enthusiasm for Cotillion, it has been a part time job, and with word-of-mouth largely driving registrations, there isn’t much she has to do. Her children are older—her daughter is in ninth grade and her son is a senior in high school—and she wanted a new challenge.
“I called the company I used to work for and asked them what’s going on in staffing, and if someone wanted to come back, would they be open to that. I told them where I live, and they said they heard it’s exploding in job growth,” said Geneva. Norrell had since become a part of the larger Spherion company. They saw the need for an office here and suggested she set one up.
Meeting a Growing Need
Business is booming in Prince William County, and so is the need for qualified workers. “Staffing is very different from recruiting and headhunting.” Geneva said. “An employment agency is going to find you a permanent job. A staffing agency works with clients to staff their workforce solutions. That could be short-term, project-based needs, seasonal workers, interns, college graduates, or high school graduates.” Businesses use staffing firms as a creative solution for their workforce needs. Spherion charges a fee to the businesses, then hires and pays the employees and is responsible for getting them set up with the client.
Geneva sees lots of opportunities in the County. “I foresee a huge increase in contingent staffing in Prince William County. There is a lot of ecommerce here, and a lot of businesses are moving here because it has easy access to trucking routes,” she said. She is excited to begin programs for people relaunching into the workforce, veterans, college students looking for temporary-to-permanent placements, and more. About the post-COVID job market, she said, “We need to get people back to work and regain their confidence. I hope that we can create some programs and get people back to feeling good about what they can offer in a new position or a new career. That’s what I’m excited about.”
Geneva’s infectious energy and enthusiasm are a perfect fit for her new undertaking. “Being raised in a military family where you have to move around a lot and adjust and adapt quickly, taught me a lot about being enthusiastic, because if you don’t get out there and make new friends, you’re never going to have any friends. It taught me to reach out and connect and engage,” she said. “With this new venture, bringing staffing and jobs and livelihoods back to people is really making me happy about spending my time in a meaningful way for the community.”
Contact the Local Spherion Office