In her first year running CAREERXCHANGE, a talent acquisition organization, Sue Romanos did not realize that they were in a recessionary slowdown. Companies were reluctant to pay the requisite fees and one of her largest clients skipped out on $15,000 owed to her company. It was a rude awakening for the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed business owner, but she toughed it out and is still going strong twenty-five years later.
Born and raised in New York in a middle class family, Sue always knew the value of hard work. “If you didn’t work, you couldn’t get what you wanted.” After paying her way through school, Sue landed her first job in the investment field. She remained on Wall Street for a number of years before moving into the talent acquisition field. On January 1, 1989, Sue and her business partner, Suzanne Hodes, opened the doors to CAREERXCHANGE on Brickell Avenue. “One of the biggest challenges was that I didn’t know a lot about running a business. When you go into business, you learn how much you don’t know.” Today, CAREEREXCHANGE is the largest independent talent acquisition organizations based in South Florida. What’s her secret? “You can’t build a business unless you have the people. I don’t care what the business is. If you don’t have the people engaged you will have turnover and turnover is very costly.” With this people-first philosophy faring so prominently at CAREEREXCHANGE, it’s no wonder that their employees named them one of the best places to work in 2013 in the South Florida Business Journal.
In 2004, Sue was actively looking for a women’s organization to join when she found The Commonwealth Institute (TCI). “As business people, I think that we do business differently than men. I’m a very big supporter of women.” She was impressed by the quality of people at TCI and joined a peer-to-peer small group forum. This has proven to be invaluable. “I was in the original forum down here in Florida. It was a great experience for me. I made incredible relationships.” Sue believed so much in TCI that she joined the Board of Directors a year later.
For anyone thinking of joining TCI, she implores them to consider the benefits of their networking and support systems. “I never made a cold call in my life. I built relationships from networking. This is a phenomenal organization for networking. And the support that you receive – the welcoming, the people wanting to help you, the forums, the outreach. Becoming a part of TCI was a big part of my life down here in Florida. I can’t speak highly enough about these people.”