Roots of Success: Rory Sakin
In the Roots of Success series, we sit down with Equiliem’s leaders to learn more about their view of success: what it means to them and how they approach challenges that inevitably arise. We talked with VP of Staffing, Rory Sakin, who leads Equiliem’s team members who are on the frontlines each day matching opportunities to talent. Read what he had to say about why recruiting is special and the myriad methods to success.
Setting the Day’s Horizon
When Rory Sakin hits the gym before work, it’s not with the TV or music blaring in his headphones. Equiliem’s VP of Staffing prefers to use his workout time to clear his mind or to reflect in anticipation of his day. He said checking the “exercise box” helps him see the horizon for the rest of the day. His routine was inspired by “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe the World” by former Navy SEAL William H. McRaven. Sakin says, “Before my day has started, I know I have accomplished one goal.”
In his role as VP of Staffing, Sakin is responsible for goals related to new business sales and account management. He takes great pleasure in seeing how helping his team reach their goals creates a ripple impact for others. “The work we do in recruiting is special because we truly make a difference in people’s lives by doing our job. When we work hard and hit our numbers, we are helping people build a successful livelihood and take care of their families.”
From Producing to Leading
Sakin started in the staffing industry as an individual producer, where he got a taste of the excitement of reaching his targets. He said that his definition of success has evolved over time and that today he derives the greatest energy boost from the success of the people around him. “As I became a supervisor, fulfillment came from more places than helping a client and a candidate. The value I could bring expanded through having a team.”
Seeing his team grow and develop is something that never gets old, Sakin said. “People continue to amaze me, especially when we are under pressure. People rise to the occasion. We’ve faced hills that appeared insurmountable, and time and again, people rally around that. It never ceases to amaze me what people can do as a team.”
Sakin is a big believer in surrounding himself with the right team, people who have the spirit of leaning on each other and supporting one another. He has experienced that you can learn a lot not only by asking questions but in asking for assistance. He said, “Trust the folks around you and ask for help.”
Bouncing Back from Disappointments
Sakin is known for his optimism and has learned how to shake off disappointment. He recalls a time when one of his senior managers, a colleague of nearly ten years, suddenly left the company he worked for at the time for a new opportunity. “I prided myself on retaining good people,” he said. “I was disappointed. But as time moved on and I hired someone to fill the role, they turned out to be an even better fit. So, I learned not to take it personally when people choose to move on. Everyone makes decisions based on their own interests.”
One mistake that Sakin avoids is under-communication. He said he’s wary when people go too quiet, “At the end of the day, people want to know where things stand, and where they stand, good, bad, or indifferent. I believe a good leader is transparent about goals and performance; it’s important to engage people and have everyone get direct feedback from the team. If everyone knows where things stand, it makes for easy conversations.”
A motivating factor in Sakin’s day-to-day work is learning from the people around him, including Equiliem’s Monte Block, one of Sakin’s favorite mentors. He said that the best mentors are willing to share their knowledge, not just about work, but about life. “Working with someone like Monte Block, he’s a deep well of experience. He’s extremely generous about passing along insights, not just from the standpoint of helping the business succeed, but also offering guidance from the place of caring about people.” He adds that the smartest people he’s met throughout his career seem to have a common thread of being willing to support and encourage others.
Give More than You Get
If Sakin has a secret to success, it’s a practice of filling his bucket by appreciating and assisting others. It’s his way of finding fulfillment and “balance” in life. He explained, “Satisfaction, for me, isn’t about getting promoted. What balances out the hard work is knowing that doing the right thing for business has residual effects on people’s lives. Being part of that impact energizes and recharges my batteries.”
Sakin’s bucket stays full between work and family. He’s happy to say that he’s been married to his wife, Mary, for 32 years, and they have raised a son and daughter together. If he had the opportunity to cross off things from his bucket list, it would include visiting the Vatican and sitting center court at Wimbledon. He said being a tennis player would have been his version of a rockstar; he thrives on the game’s intensity.
Sakin says that work, his work friends, and spending time with family are a balance, each adding satisfaction to his life. “Work enables you to have the means to live the life you choose.”
Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive.
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