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Meet Trailblazer Crystal Ohikhuare

Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystal Ohikhuare.

Crystal, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a Dallas girl – I grew up in the Plano area and graduated from Hockaday. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and completed my graduate work at LSU. Both of my degrees were in communication and I knew I wanted a career in Public Relations. I did PR for politicians and professional athletes for a number of years and absolutely loved it! Eventually, I moved back to Dallas and fell into IT recruiting. I haven’t met a single person in my field that says they’ve always wanted to recruit – it’s typically a job that people fall into for one reason or another.

A college buddy of mine worked at a local staffing agency and I was looking for my next job and thought it might be fun. I knew absolutely nothing about IT but thought I’d give it a shot and ended up loving it. After some time in the staffing world, I went internal and worked as a corporate recruiter for a national organization – over time, I moved up in my HR career.

I co-founded Blue Staffing Group with my husband, Mike, in 2017. It was a side hobby for me for a couple of years and I never had plans to leave Corporate America to focus on it full time. It wasn’t until we had our first child that we decided it would become my full-time job.

Motherhood changed everything for me – before Arya (that’s our daughter’s name) I was pretty hardcore about my career – all about growth and getting to that next level – stretching myself as much as possible. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit about me and that’s how I approached my career – I always worked like I owned the place. Well, Arya came and that all flew out the window – not my ambition but drive to go to work for someone else while my little was left at home. At the time I was working for a dynamic company in Downtown Dallas and they were so generous – I took extended maternity leave, worked from home mostly when I returned, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. The career woman I was before was gone because I couldn’t bear the thought of Arya saying her first word, taking her first step, teething and needing mommy cuddles and I was off building someone else’s dream. That’s when we decided I’d devote myself full time to BSG.

We found a cute little office space and turned one of the offices into a nursery. When you walk into BSG, you instantly know it’s run by a workin’ mama! Nursery in one office, my recruiting team in one office, and the business developer in the third office space. You might hear baby giggles, a temper tantrum or an episode of Mowtown Magic in the background while a recruiter is extending an offer to a candidate. Some companies bring puppies to the office – we have a toddler.

I had to find a way to generate income while never missing a beat with Arya – that was important to me and Mike. She’s the reason BSG is where it is today.

Has it been a smooth road?
Has it been a smooth road? Ha! No – a good gal pal and confidant of mine likes to call it the “Hot Mess Express” – There are struggles to being a mother. There are struggles of being a business owner – you mix the two together and it’s the Hot Mess Express!

As a small business owner, you are everything to everyone – you manage your team, run payroll, manage marketing, make cold calls, put out client fires, and more. When I jumped into BSG, I knew how to recruit – not to toot my own horn but I was a pretty darn good recruiter at that. I had absolutely no clue how to run payroll or how to negotiate a worker’s compensation policy. I had to learn it all on the fly and make business-critical decisions – oftentimes based on a few google searches and my gut instinct. I often had and still have to do this all while being a present wife, mom, daughter, sister and all the other roles I play.

My advice for other women – get you a tribe and know your why. My tribe is my lifeline – when I have challenging days or when I have stellar wins they’re right there cheering me on or picking me up. There have been times when I thought about walking away and throwing in the towel – as an entrepreneur, you have those moments when you question if it’s all worth it – the long hours that no one sees, the mental toll it takes on you. My tribe believes in me and pours into me even on days when I’ve lost faith in myself.

And you have to know why you’re doing this. That reason will drive you through the rough times and make the great times even sweeter. Your why is the light at the end of the tunnel – it fuels you to keep going. For me – that’s my daughter. Mike and I didn’t want to just tell her that she could be anything she wants to be – we wanted her to see it first hand through her mama. She comes to work with me every day – she’s my why.

We’d love to hear more about Blue Staffing Group.
BSG is a staffing agency that specializes in delivering talent for temporary and permanent IT, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources and office support and administrative positions. We’re headquartered in North Dallas but have national reach. Our clients range from 1-woman businesses to Fortune 500 companies and everything in between. When they need assistance finding the right talent for their organizations, they reach out to us and we deliver.

Everything we do at BSG is built from our 4-S model: Sync, Strategy, Speed, Solution. That’s what sets us apart from the competition. We’ve grown our organization by developing strong relationships with our customers so that we’re in sync with their needs which allows us to strategically source the right talent for their needs. We pride ourselves on our fast turn around and ultimately providing a talent solution for our clients.

What I’m most proud of is the firm’s investment in community. That was very important to me and Mike when we were building BSG’s foundation. I spend time speaking to the younger generation and women about how to own their careers, how to balance personal and professional life and giving them an insider’s perspective on entrepreneurship.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor is imperative to success in my opinion. Look for someone you can trust and who is invested in seeing you succeed. A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to work in your industry or do the same work that you do. You’re the subject matter expert in that regard – your mentor should be a thought partner, cheerleader and adviser.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shannon Walker

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