Deep Dive with Dana “DancingFISH” Ingram

1.      Briefly describe your Consultis journey.

I’ve had quite an interesting journey to get to Consultis, so I don’t know if I can keep it brief. I’ve had a few amazing careers, and a little bad luck during some major life changing events. Thankfully I always bounced back on my feet.

I played competitive softball most of my life, and even played at the Junior Olympic level. Unfortunately, I blew out both of my knees at the end of high school and beginning of college, so my dreams of playing at the Olympic level came to an end. They canceled softball as an Olympic sport anyway (yes, I’m still bitter), so I guess it would’ve never happened anyway. I focused on getting my college degree instead. I loved music so I decided that I wanted to be a marketing rep for a major record label. I got an internship at the Top 40 radio station in Wilmington, NC and was offered the internship on the spot. They threw me on the air with the morning show the next day, and I was hooked instantly. Forget working for a record label, I was going to be an on-air personality! Who knew that I could get paid to talk? I danced every morning and was known as Dana the Dancing Intern. They trained me for the next month, and then offered me an official job to be their nighttime on-air personality. They wanted to keep my name that everyone recognized, so I became Dancin’ Dana (How I got the name Dancing Fish at Consultis)!   I went to school during the day to finish my degree in Communication Studies, and then work at night on the radio. Holla!

I worked as an on-air personality on the radio for Top 40 stations in Wilmington, NC and Knoxville, TN over the next 4 years in both nighttime (7pm-midnight) and midday (10am-3pm) shifts. It was a blast, and I got to meet a ton of amazing celebrities & entertainers. I got to interview Xzibit (Pimp my Ride), Jessica Simpson, Lark Voorhies (yes, Lisa Turtle!), Edwin McCain (he recorded something awesome for me to use at my wedding), JoJo, Ciara, Shania Twain and more. I had big dreams to become a VJ and the next Carson Daly on MTV. Radio was a blast, but unfortunately the money was awful! I got out of radio when my station flipped formats during my honeymoon (Crappy timing during a life changing event), and everyone lost their jobs. I had offers to move all over the country for my next gig, but I decided it was best to stay put and hopefully find a job making a little more money. Not only did I just get married, but I also just bought our first house together.

I ended up finding another amazing job working for Team Enterprises and becoming a Brand Ambassador for Miller Brewing Company. I was still in my early 20’s, so this was a dream job to work in the beer industry for almost 3 years. I led the marketing efforts for the Miller brand in Knoxville and oversaw the Miller Girls. It was fantastic, and after a year they asked me if I’d ever consider moving within the company. Well, I grew up in Tampa, so I said I’d love to move back to Florida if there was ever an opportunity. Lucky for me, a position opened to do a similar job, but on a larger scale in Palm Beach County. I did this for a few years, and continued throughout my first pregnancy (yes, I was the pregnant chicks in the bars!). One month after I had my son, I learned that Miller and Coors would be merging, so they would be eliminating the markets without major sports teams (yes, Palm Beach). I had the opportunity to take over the Miami market, but with a 1 month old at home I couldn’t make the drive down there every day. Of course, another life changing event, and another job coming to an end.

Thankfully, I got very lucky again, and was presented with an opportunity to shift careers yet again. Randi Sariol owned her own staffing company called TRAC Recruiting and needed a recruiter to help with sales and management roles. I could work from home and make the same amount of money I was making before. I jumped at this opportunity, and I learned so much in those 4 years. Randi was such an inspiration for me and is still my mentor to this day! I caught the recruiting bug, and absolutely fell in love. I was doing well, and even ended up making it through another life changing event without losing my job (I had my 2nd son)! About a year after my 2nd son was born we learned that our major client was going to merge with another company, and the future was uncertain. Randi told me to look for something new just in case it didn’t work out. Thankfully for her it ended up working out just fine, and her business doubled.

I ended up contacting a friend that I knew in the staffing industry to see if her company was hiring. They were in IT staffing, but she said I could pick it up. I was hired right away as a recruiter and was promoted into a Business Development Manager role after 4 months. I loved it there, and the sales role was a perfect fit for my background. I learned so much about this industry while I was there, and I’m forever thankful for that. I broke into major accounts that no one had previously been able to get into, broke weekly & yearly gross profit records in my office and ended up being one of the top producers in the entire company. These were huge accomplishments, and ones that I couldn’t have done without my team around me. Things were going great, and I was making more money than I ever thought I could make in my life. I always felt that I wanted more, though. I wanted to manage my own office and help grow other people’s careers. Some of my top recruiters ended up moving on to new roles. Thankfully I got one of them back now (Love ya, Kyle!!!).  Plus, there were really no growth opportunities at that company locally. I found my home in Palm Beach with my husband & 2 boys, and really didn’t want to have to move again.

Even though there was no growth, I honestly wasn’t looking for a job when Consultis recruited me. I think I turned them down a few times before agreeing to speak to them. I finally agreed to a conversation, and they offered me an opportunity to grow my own team here locally in Boca Raton. I clicked instantly with the Managing Partner, Jamie Delsing (twinsie), and I knew this was a place that I could call home. Our visions aligned perfectly, and they gave me the freedom for me to be me. I absolutely love working for Jamie, and I learn so much from her all the time. I knew it would be a challenge to get this office back on track, but one that really excited me. Almost 3 years later, and I still love working here!

2.      What do you love most about your job?

I love the people I get to work with every day.  My internal team is awesome, and I’m so thankful that this crazy crew found each other. We have such an amazing team in Boca and throughout the entire organization. Consultis has really built an amazing culture that we all live and breathe daily. It’s our Fish culture, which stands for fun, innovative, savvy, and hardworking. Fun is an understatement around here! I laugh all the time, and truly enjoy coming into the office every day. Everyone gets along with each other, and we are truly like family. We have a work hard play hard mentality, and we absolutely love what we do. How can you not enjoy helping companies find their dream candidates, and helping candidates find their dream jobs? The best part is that we get paid to do this (very well I must add)! Outside of our internal staff, we also have amazing clients and candidates that we get to work with every day. We partner with clients and candidates that value some of the same things that we do, and truly see us as partners. I love getting to build relationships with them, and I’m honored to call most of them my friends.

3.      What is your favorite thing to do in Boca Raton?

My favorite thing to do in Boca is being on the water with my family & friends. We are huge boaters, and we’re out on the water at least once a week. Our boat is called Nauti Life, which is very fitting for us. We’re pretty much surrounded by water down here, and it’s basically Summer all year long. We go to Beer Can Island Sandbar in Boynton Beach all the time. The boys love kayaking around the sandbar, finding starfish & crabs and playing with their friends. My puppy Jetty (of course he has a nautical name) loves being on the boat and running around the sandbar playing with the other dogs. We love meeting up with all our boat friends, playing the Beer Frisbee game, and of course having some cocktails! We love fishing in the ocean, taking a cruise up and down the intercoastal, or just taking the boat to Delray Beach for dinner. When we’re not boating, we’re probably at a concert, at a sporting event, or watching the boys do taekwondo & play baseball. If I’m not in town, I’m probably in the Keys. The Keys are my happy place, and I would live there if I could. We’re weekend warriors, and we’re always on the go!

4.      What is your top piece of advice for clients, candidates, or those who are new to the staffing industry?      

This industry is all about relationships! Just like any relationship you have in your life, you’ll need to start with a good foundation of trust and work hard to maintain it. It will take a lot of work and effort and it won’t happen overnight. Work with someone you trust, that is knowledgeable and that you genuinely like working with. Be open with them about your needs, and trust that we have each other’s best interest in mind.  It is building a true partnership that you will have to continually work to maintain over the years. You must think about the big picture if you want to have a successful career. We work hard to help our clients find quality candidates, and to help our candidates find a great place to work. It’s not about matching a couple of key words and throwing a warm body into a position to make a quick dollar. We work hard to only work with candidates and clients that have the same values as us. I truly value my relationships with my clients & candidates in this industry, and that is something that has helped make my job very enjoyable over the years.

5.      What has been your proudest moment at Consultis?

I’ve had so many awesome moments here at Consultis! I would have to say that one of my proudest moments has been helping take the Boca office from the 2nd lowest performing office in the company to the top producing office in just over a year. I knew that stepping in to this role would be challenging, and I was fully prepared to take on this challenge. This was my first opportunity to run my own office in the staffing industry, and I didn’t want Consultis regret hiring me. I went in with the attitude that I refused to fail (I’m slightly competitive)! I brought in some amazing talent to help build our office to what it is today.  We have some of the best technical Account Managers and Recruiters in South Florida, and some of them have been in this industry much longer than I have. I hire internal employees for four very important factors soft skills, competitive, driven, and passionate. More importantly, I hired people that fit in with our culture that we were building.

We were the top office in the company in 2018, and we’re currently tracking to take that top spot again in 2019. My amazing team deserves all the credit for this achievement, and I’m the lucky one for getting to work with all of them every single day. We all share the same goal to be #1, and we have a blast every day. I was able to hit our annual Beach Club trip every year since the first full year I was here and, and I was fortunate enough to be able to take two of my recruiters from our office last year as well. The Boca office is on a mission to take every person from our office this year, and to shut the office down for a week. We still have further to go but being able to turn this office around in such a short period was my proudest moment. I’d like to think Consultis has no regrets in hiring me now!

6.      One piece of life or career advice I’d give to a mentee:

This industry is unlike any other industry that I can think of. Be ready for this roller coaster of a ride if you want to get into staffing with tons of highs and lows. Don’t take the highs for granted, and don’t get too down on the lows. In a normal sales role, you are selling a product that has a value. The sales person and the client can agree on the value for the product, and the client can purchase the product if the two of them come to an agreement. Staffing is an entirely different beast. Our product is a human that has their own idea of what their value is. The sales person and client can agree on the value and even agree that this person is the one that is right for the role. Unfortunately, the human product can decide that they don’t agree (or perhaps their spouse doesn’t agree), and the deal doesn’t go through. It’s a three-part sale that all parties must agree on. That’s why we pre-close the clients and candidates all the time to make sure this opportunity is still a good fit for every person involved. You must understand this if you want to have a successful career in staffing.