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3 Stories: Making a Difference to Empower Tomorrow’s Leaders

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While each Allegis Group company focuses on specialized areas of talent solutions, together, we share the same foundational values that form the bedrock of our culture. We also believe in serving others and expect our people to always do the right thing, prioritizing the greater good above self-centered interests. For these reasons and in light of today being International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight the efforts of three employees who are making great strides to empower tomorrow’s leaders. We know there are many more employees across Allegis Group who work just as hard in their own communities and hope to share more accounts in the coming year. For now, we’d like to introduce you to Tiarra, Richa, and Rachel. Enjoy their stories!

Tiarra Hailey, HR Records Lead, Allegis Group
During her four years with Allegis Group, Tiarra feels blessed to have been granted a flexible work schedule that allowed her to spend a few hours each month inspiring local disadvantaged high school students. As co-leader for the Girls Empowerment Mission (GEM), which is a part of Living Classrooms,  an organization Allegis Group supports financially and through volunteer efforts, Tiarra co-led a dozen girls through a three-year college preparatory program that provided skills about mentoring, serving others, leadership training, financial literacy, and decision-making from January 2013 to May 2016.

Students are involved from March of their freshman year to May of their senior year. The first year of the program focuses on self-discovery, understanding conflict resolution, and maintaining a positive self-image. Year two transitions to career exploration, where students learn about job opportunities and colleges, as well as how to build résumés. These topics are often facets of life the girls may not be exposed to in their existing environments. GEM’s culminating year is about leadership and gives students the chance to lead the younger groups and teach them about the benefits of the program and how it can open their eyes to a new world of opportunity. During their last year of the program, some cohorts have volunteered at middle schools to share some of the same insight.

Tiarra worked two afternoons each month plus a monthly overnight that ranged from camping trips to college visits. And her students have succeeded. Of the 12 girls Tiarra mentored, 10 went on to college and one enlisted in the military. 

“I love the kids,” Tiarra beams. “I’m a first generation college student and when I got to school, I realized the college world was so different from where I came from. So I fulfill my passion to serve others by helping students who are resource-limited, taking the skills and knowledge I’ve gained to give back to future generations of female leaders and give them confidence so they can succeed.”

While Tiarra’s cohort has graduated from the GEM program, she’s still engaged with them through telephone calls, texts, and continued mentorship. She advises them through practice interviews, reviews résumés, and even fulfilled some holiday wishes through GEM’s Christmas Angels program, enlisting the support of her friends and Allegis Group’s Shared Services Management team to donate funds this past year. 

“I’m grateful to Allegis Group for giving me a flexible schedule that allowed me to help these girls over the past three years,” says Tiarra. “As a woman, I identify with their stories and know the power of having that one mentor to show you how different your life can be, how setting higher goals for yourself, and shifting your mindset to think about new possibilities can lead to brighter futures.”

When asked what future advice she has for young girls, Tiarra suggests getting a mentor. “It can even be a family member,” she proposes. “It takes a village to raise a child, and there can never be too much support. Second, don’t let your environment and where you come from determine your future.” Those are certainly great words to live by. 

Richa Singh, Senior Recruiter, TEKsystems
Richa hails from Bihar in eastern, rural India, where the beaming potential of the area’s youth wasn’t being met. With 58% of the state’s population below the age of 25, educational opportunities were sparse, so she focused on remedying that as her primary cause. And she did so by building a school in Bihar, 1,000 miles away from her current home in Bangalore where she works as a senior recruiter for TEKsystems.

Richa’s passion to help others stems from her upbringing. Her grandmother was an important role model, helping people in every way she could. Her father also carried on the legacy of philanthropy, actively engaging in social causes alongside his day job. Richa was determined to take on the tradition and make it her own.

After understanding the aspirations of the local children, Richa assumed the mammoth activity of speaking to all their parents to gain their support and eventually earned their trust.

Her next challenge was to find a home for her school. Without any funding or financial backing, she got creative and found an available location in the right area – a temple. The complex was large enough to double as a classroom, and she convinced authorities to let her use the space at no cost. She then engaged two instructors and kick-started her school, named Prayas, which translated from Hindi means “effort” or “attempt.” Currently, 60 kids are enrolled and enjoy an all-encompassing education that nurtures children’s curiosity.

“The kids are interested in so many things, from what the internet is to how it feels to get on an airplane,” Richa says. “They want to know it all, and our school gathers resources who can narrate real-time experiences to enrich the kids.” For instance, Richa roped in her friends who work outside the country to tell the kids about traveling abroad and quench their interest in airplanes.

Today, Richa’s life in Bangalore is vastly differently from Bihar, but she is confident that the school is in safe hands and visits it twice annually. Upon her first visit back after joining TEKsystems two years ago, she told the children about her job and responsibilities as a recruiter. “I wasn’t positive they’d understand my role, but one kid sprung up with such energy and summarized it without blinking an eyelid, asking if he could be my consultant once he became an IT engineer.”

Richa’s innate need to help people, and women in particular, keeps her ticking. “The idea of giving and caring comes naturally to women, but only a few put it to use to make a difference to society. I was immediately drawn to TEKsystems’ commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and its core value of serving others. Just as my work with the children in Bihar is noble, so too is TEKsystems’ quest to help candidates find life-changing job opportunities. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Rachel Russell, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy and Marketing, Allegis Group
Rachel’s words to live by are simple: 1) be kind to others, 2) always give 100%, and 3) trust in a power bigger than yourself to help you through the seemingly impossible. So far, this value system has worked not only for this dynamic leader but also in the wisdom she’s passed down to her two boys, the teams she’s mentored over her career, and the young people she’s worked with as a Junior Achievement (JA)  volunteer. JA is a non-profit organization that inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. Rachel’s work with the organization includes supporting Allegis Group’s sponsorship of JA’s Biz Town, a 10,000 square-foot, life-like city designed to reflect the importance of workplace performance and financial decisions in an authentic economy. Maryland students gain experience as an Allegis Group “employee,” taking on job responsibilities while learning about teamwork, critical thinking, and decision making. 

She also enjoys volunteering for the JA in a Day program. JA in a Day is a one-day curriculum that professionals teach, offering financial education, college preparation, and work readiness skills. It’s all about bringing real-life experiences and perspectives to the classroom conversation. After her first  day with the program, she recalls, “There was no better way I could have spent a day. The students gave me hugs and teared up as I left. Making a difference in how they saw themselves and what they believed could be possible for their futures, even for just one day, was powerful.” 

Rachel jokes that one of the most fun aspects of the day was how excited the kids got over wearing her suit jacket  each time they answered a question correctly. “They called it the ‘boss coat,’ and they’d beam with pride when they got to put it on. Helping people see themselves as capable – that’s what leadership is about.” 

Rachel has also worked with JA’s Leading Ladies program, which connects professionals and outstanding female high school students in Baltimore to celebrate successes, develop talents, and inspire the next generation of women leaders, as well as JA Personal Finance, a program for high school students focused on the concepts of earning and spending money wisely, budgeting, saving and investing, using credit cautiously, and protecting one's personal finances.

When asked what she enjoys most about volunteering for JA, Rachel comes back to Allegis Group’s core purpose of creating opportunity for others and leaving a legacy in their successes. “Allegis Group leaders take the responsibility for growing tomorrow’s leaders seriously – whether within our own walls or outside in our communities. I love this company’s commitment and commend our leadership for continually reinforcing this message.” 

Rachel credits Allegis Group’s Mike McSally, Greg DeLuca, Jay Alvather, and Chris Hartman – all of whom taught her a great deal about leadership during her career with the company. “Women in leadership should support each other,” she says, “but it’s not our fight alone. Society will benefit from a workforce that’s diverse in thought and composition. Mike, Greg, Jay, and Chris understand that and have supported me and my peers immensely. I’m forever grateful for their guidance and enablement of my career success.”

We’re honored to recognize Tiarra, Richa, and Rachel for their roles in helping to fulfill Allegis Group’s core mission to serving others and can’t wait to see what new projects our global employees take on next to inspire the next generation of leaders!

 

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