Embark on a comprehensive exploration of leadership with Carrie Hamn, the accomplished Director of Talent Acquisition at DCS Corp, where she shares insights into her professional journey, leadership philosophy, and the challenges faced by women in leadership roles.
Before joining DCS Corp, Carrie served as the Director of Recruiting for Halfaker and Associates, LLC, an SAIC Company, where she honed her skills in talent acquisition. In this interview, she reflects on her experiences, and the vision for DCS Corp’s future, and offers valuable advice to aspiring businesswomen.
Delving into her personal philosophy, balancing act, and defining essence, discover the fluidity, resilience, and wisdom that characterize Carrie’s remarkable journey and leadership style. From her humorous anecdotes about firefighting in daily operations to navigating gender bias, overcoming roadblocks, and offering valuable advice to aspiring businesswomen, this interview provides a holistic view of Carrie’s multifaceted leadership approach.
Defining Success and Leadership at DCS Corp
Sharing her unique perspective on success and emphasizing the inevitability of failure as an integral part of the journey, Carrie likens her journey to a roller coaster, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and a growth mindset. She highlights the significance of embracing challenges and celebrating milestones for continual progress. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success,” she says.
DCS Corp is a 100 percent employee-owned, mid-sized company that offers advanced technology, engineering, and management solutions to Government agencies in the Department of Defense and national security sector. At DCS Corp, Carrie leads a dynamic team that develops sourcing strategies and recruiting plans and presents pre-qualified top candidates to hiring managers to ensure the success of each customer’s mission.
Carrie is responsible for departmental oversight of DCS’ recruitment function, creating departmental objectives, overall department leadership, and budgeting. She selects, trains, develops, and negotiates offers with candidates, coaches, and evaluates team members. Carrie also compiles and monitors recruitment statistics vacancies and sets benchmarks and goals to ensure success and action plans as needed.
“The transformative ideas, commitment to quality, and entrepreneurial spirit that characterize our employee-owners allow us to ensure the success of each customer’s mission and actively contribute to the well-being of our Nation. For more information, please visit https://www.dcscorp.com,” she says.
Carrie outlines DCS Corp’s vision as focusing on “customer satisfaction, profitable growth, continual improvement, and employee empowerment.” To stay competitive, she emphasizes,” “Know the competition, know your customers, differentiate, and step up your marketing.”
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Navigating the Roller Coaster and Embracing Discomfort for Growth
Through humor and sincerity, Carrie provides a vivid portrayal of the demanding yet rewarding journey she undertakes each day to propel DCS Corp to new heights. She shares a candid perspective on her daily responsibilities, playfully labeling herself a “Firefighter” due to the constant need to address challenges. Carrie details the dynamic aspects of her role, involving meetings, strategy sessions, recruitment activities, technology updates, and stakeholder communication.
“Just call me a Fire Fighter. The majority of my day is putting out fires. On a serious note, my day consists of meetings, strategy sessions on how we can evolve to the next level, filling positions, talking to candidates, talking to hiring managers, updating technology, speaking to vendors, approving offers, and hiring,” she elaborates.
Delving into her personal goals as a businesswoman, Carrie reveals her approach to embracing discomfort and prioritizing continuous learning. Drawing parallels between her professional journey and a roller coaster ride, she encourages aspiring leaders to abandon complacency for the pursuit of greatness.
Carrie emphasizes the significance of teamwork, a growth mindset, and envisioning greatness, instilling a sense of empowerment, commitment, and collaboration within the organizational culture. Her advice resonates as a roadmap for both personal and professional growth, emphasizing the celebration of milestones along the challenging yet fulfilling road ahead.
“It’s been like a roller coaster ride. Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. My motto is that teamwork makes the dream work. When an entire company embraces a growth mindset, its employees report feeling far more empowered and committed; they also receive far greater organizational support for collaboration and innovation. Lastly, envision greatness. Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead,” Carrie advises.
“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” – James Allen
Overcoming Roadblocks and Inspiring Leadership Strategies for Career Advancement
In reflecting on her professional journey, Carrie delves into the roadblocks that have shaped her leadership approach. She emphasizes the importance of skillful leaders in not just identifying challenges but proactively seeking solutions, recommending that leaders, “get comfortable being uncomfortable and continue to learn.”
With insightful quotes, Carrie notes, “Average leaders raise questions and find the roadblocks – skillful leaders seize on what they don’t know and find the answers. The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
As a woman in leadership, Carrie addresses the persistent challenges of gender bias and stereotypes within the workplace. Advocating for visibility and pay transparency, she recognizes the need for women leaders to actively raise their profiles. She notes, “One prominent challenge that women leaders face is the gender bias and stereotypes that persist in the workplace. Despite progress in gender equality, many workplaces still hold onto traditional gender roles and expectations, which can make it harder for women to be taken seriously as leaders.”
Carrie provides strategic insights into overcoming specific challenges faced by women leaders. She highlights the importance of organizations auditing their leadership development processes with gender equity in mind to address the lack of manager support. Additionally, she stresses the need for transparency in metrics to ensure fair evaluation.
In addressing the issue of unequal pay, Carrie suggests, “Some ways to narrow the pay gap include increasing pay transparency. Embracing pay transparency can help to narrow the gender pay gap by up to 30 percent. Employers should regularly conduct pay audits to determine whether women leaders are being compensated fairly.” Through these observations, she not only acknowledges the hurdles but actively contributes to the dialogue on creating a more inclusive and equitable work environment for women in leadership.
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born; there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” – Warren Bennis
A Balancing Act of Personal and Professional Harmony
Exploring the delicate equilibrium between personal and professional spheres, Carrie sheds light on her strategy for maintaining a work-play balance, outlining the significance of creating boundaries and taking time for self-care. Through a combination of insightful practices, including prayer, self-belief, and a proactive blend of dreaming and doing, Carrie not only illustrates her personal approach but also offers valuable advice for staying motivated in delivering top-notch services. Her words resonate as a guide to achieving harmony and success in both personal and professional aspects of life.
“Taking time for you. You have to reset yourself. I separate work and play and create boundaries. How do you keep yourself, motivated to deliver the best services? It’s simple, I pray. Believe in yourself. Your limitation is only your imagination. Work hard. Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you. Be a dreamer and a doer and don’t wait because sometime later becomes never,” she instructs.
When asked to encapsulate her essence in a single word, Carrie intriguingly chooses “Water.” This seemingly simple yet profound choice reflects her fluidity, adaptability, and ability to navigate challenges with ease. Much like water takes the shape of its container, Carrie’s leadership style suggests a dynamic and versatile approach, essential qualities in her role as the Director of Talent Acquisition at DCS Corp. Her choice implies resilience and the capacity to flow seamlessly through the complexities of her professional journey, embodying the characteristics of a leader who can adapt and thrive in any circumstance.
In her message to aspiring businesswomen, Carrie emphasizes the importance of confidence and eliminating self-apology, advising them to, “Lean in, speak out, have a voice in your organization, and never use the word, ‘sorry’.”
Carrie Hamn’s essence, much like the fluidity she associates with “Water,” defies the myths that surround leadership. She stands as a testament to the idea that leaders are made, not born, debunking the notion that charisma is an innate quality. Her journey, marked by the courage to persist through both successes and failures, embodies the wisdom that success is not final, and failure is not fatal; it is the tenacity to continue that truly matters.
Embracing sacrifice as a means to achieve greatness, Carrie paves her own trail, choosing the uncharted path rather than following the conventional. In one word, she encapsulates a dynamic, adaptable, and resilient leader whose essence mirrors the transformative qualities of water, flowing and shaping her leadership journey.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that count.” – Winston Churchill