Engineering Success for Women in STEM
Women still remain underrepresented in STEM fields, even as companies seek more and more qualified workers.
On Christmas Eve of 2004, Myla Ramos, Heather Kocina and Rayna Pearson were the last employees at a staffing agency when they realized that severe weather had prevented FedEx from sending the paychecks the agency owed its contractors. Knowing their contractors were counting on their money during the holiday season, Ramos, Kocina and Pearson wrote personal checks to cover the outstanding salaries even though it meant their own families weren’t going to have a present filled holiday.
With more than a decade of experience in the staffing industry, the women realized that the only way to take charge of their situation was to start their own business. Thus, in January 2005, the women resigned their jobs, rented a 120 square foot office in downtown Sacramento, and SearchPros Solutions was opened.
Equipped with their motto, “Relationships Built on Success,” Ramos, Kocina and Pearson gathered $150 thousand in equity and began steadily building their business. Three years after SearchPros opened, however, the economic recession hit. In 2008, one of their biggest clients abruptly closed their doors, causing them to lose more than $2 million in receivables. Because many of their clients were in the mortgage sector, Ramos, Kocina, and Pearson realized that if they wanted to stay in business, they had to diversify their portfolio. With that new plan, the company was awarded a loan from the Small Business Association that helped them regain their financial security.
After eleven years in business, SearchPros has left its closet-sized office and moved to a corporate headquarters where thirty recruiters place over 1,000 employees in 28 states and eight countries. With clients like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, they billed more than $30 million in 2015 and hope to grow to $100 million by 2020. They were ranked by Inc. 5000 as the 237th Fastest Growing Firm in the U.S. and recognized by Diversity.com as a Top 100 Certified Small Business, Women Owned Business, and Minority Owned Business.
SearchPros recognizes that their growth is rooted in their community. Through partnerships with organizations like St. Johns Program and WEAVE, the company invests many resources into job trainings, professional clothing drives, and business counseling. The company also gives their time and money to the PCDH19 Alliance, the Typhoon Relief Fund, Blood Source, SAHRA, and many other charitable organizations.