People-first recruiting personified: Meet the Talent Makers award winners

Talent Makers Award Winners

2 mins, 59 secs read time

Talent Makers don’t just believe in the power of people-first recruiting – they bring these values to life in their everyday actions, whether they’re attracting diverse talent, jumping in to help out hiring teams or modeling what it means to build a culture of great hiring.

After closely reviewing hundreds of applications for our Talent Makers® awards and narrowing them down to nine incredible finalists, we’re so excited to reveal our three winners.

Talent magnet winner: Austin King, Executive Recruiter, Gong

As an executive recruiter, Austin King’s role involves sourcing and nurturing candidates who will become senior leaders at Gong. He’s literally shaping the direction of his company as a talent magnet – and his passion for this work is undeniable.

“Austin is one of the best recruiters I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” his nominator, Head of Global Talent Acquisition Kelsey Biggs told us. “He is a strong partner and consultant to the business, champion of Gong, ambassador of our culture and a true candidate advocate.” Kelsey regularly receives notes from candidates singing Austin’s praises as a skilled storyteller and true strategic partner in their job search.

Austin is also committed to inclusive people-first recruiting and sources the majority of candidates from a strong mix of backgrounds. As a result, 50% of his hires identify as women or underrepresented minorities.

Talent leader winner: Tasha Ridder, Director of Talent, Pine Gate Renewables

Tasha Ridder creates an equitable and consistent candidate and new hire experience in an industry where that hasn’t always been the case. Women and people of color have typically been underrepresented in the solar industry, but Tasha’s thoughtful approach to hiring and onboarding is transforming the makeup at Pine Gate Renewables and its sister company, Blue Ridge Power. Tasha’s nominator, Onboarding Specialist Sheena Smallwood, explained Tasha’s impact on her personally, “When I first started, I was nervous about entering a white male-dominated career. Tasha showed me how to be fierce and professional and why I deserve to be here just as much as the next person.”

Embodying the talent leader ethos, Tasha has led several initiatives to create a more inclusive hiring experience by creating consistency in the internal mobility program, negotiating fair salaries, writing gender-neutral job descriptions and building relationships with local academic institutions to source recent graduate talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

Talent partner winner: Rebecca Demarest Panzer, Talent Acquisition Projects Manager, IonQ

Rebecca Demarest Panzer brings the talent partner values to life by regularly stepping up to support and streamline all aspects of people-first recruiting at IonQ. Her nominator, People Operations Generalist Khylene Everett, told us, “It became clear that IonQ needed a more automated, streamlined and candidate-first system to keep up with the demand for top talent. When Rebecca Demarest Panzer joined IonQ as People Project Manager she helped recognize that as the company’s focus shifted and scaled, investing in a structured hiring process would become essential.

By taking the lead on strategic software and partnership decisions, Rebecca has simplified the hiring process, reduced time to hire, improved retention rates and saved hundreds of hours of her teammates’ time.

Curious to learn even more about our Talent Makers® award winners? Watch this space! In the coming weeks we’ll be doing deep dives on each winner so you can learn more about how they bring the Talent Maker values to life.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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