Day One At Career Cooperative: My Lightbulb Moment


2018 has been a year full of transition for me, particularly over the summer. While most of the Bay Area was sipping on rosé at street fairs, I said goodbye to my roommate of six years and moved to Oakland, upgraded my title from fiancé to wife (shout out to my amazing husband Antoine), and jumped into the great unknown by leaving my successful recruiting career at Maven without a real plan of what was next for me. As a measured-thinker who is always considering what can go wrong so I can be sure to get it right, I even surprised myself with this career move. Now, it’s day one of Career Cooperative and I couldn’t be more excited for the future. But to understand how I found my path and became the Co-Founder of a new business—how I discovered my "lightbulb moment"—I have to rewind a bit.

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Earlier this year, my Maven colleague, Dana Hundley, left the team and it changed my work life in a major way. Dana and I worked seamlessly as one person when we started at Maven and, together with Maven's CEO Jessica, created a lot of what was at the heart of the business. I wasn’t surprised Dana was leaving—I knew she needed a change and I had even encouraged her to give herself the space to “dream”—but I was left questioning what my dream was. . . did I want to continue working in Recruiting? Was Maven growing in a direction that supported my ambitions?

A lot of questions were circling, but I kept coming back to one: how could I create a work life that allowed more space and time for the people and things I love most? . . . Could I find a way to be in-charge of pivotal business decisions while also doing the one-on-one consulting that I was so passionate about? Could I counsel companies and job-seekers without being constrained by the limitations of an agency recruiting environment? Could I dance more while doing it? Could I work with Dana again?

If you know me or have cyber-stalked my LinkedIn profile, you know that I had quite a journey at Maven. I was the first hire for the Temporary Division when the company was just starting out, and spent the first few years building the business under the determined leadership of Jessica Vann. I knew how to work with people when I started, but I had no idea what success at a recruiting agency looked like—I had never even worked with a recruiting agency before! Jessica took a chance on me and showed me what operating with urgency and working closest to the dollar really meant. Once we hired Dana to be my partner, I knew we were headed towards success and the beautiful Mexican sunsets of President’s Club rewards trips. After busting our tails to build up Temp, I was tasked to manage the Perm Team and found an immense amount of joy and fulfillment in mentoring a team of my own. Eventually, I focused my efforts on company-wide Recruiting Operations so that the efficiencies I built out on Perm could be adopted by everyone. We went through two office moves, immense business growth, and a whole lot of celebrations. All this to say, I experienced it all!

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Somewhere over a “funemployed” coffee and croissant at one of Oakland’s many wonderful cafés, I had my lightbulb moment. I was brainstorming with Dana about my professional future, and realized that the path was already laid out in front of us—we could be business owners AND work directly with clients. We could share the knowledge we had gained over countless interviews, resume rewrites, and salary negotiations to empower people to pursue their passions. We could share the magic that was created when we put our heads together to solve a problem. Career Cooperative was born.

My lightbulb moment came while doing what felt like a swan dive off of a cliff in Hawaii—I was incredibly nervous but I knew there would be something beautiful on the other side. Now, I’m setting out with my Co-Founder and forever work wife, Dana Hundley to help you find yours.

This picture was taken at Whole Foods in Oakland where we are currently working on a formal business plan. Lightbulb moments are REAL.

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About UsDana Hundley