In this edition of Leading Edge, we talk with Robin Mee, President and Founder of MeeDerby, the leading executive search firm specializing in Staffing and Workforce Solutions for the staffing industry. Robin is interviewed by Diane Doyne, TerraFirma’s Vice President of Client Services.
Q: So, what’s the first thing you do every day when you wake up?
Robin: Make coffee and take the dog out. Actually, first it’s the dog, then it’s the coffee. This is the sequence of events the dog requested. Cece is a rescue dog we found in Baltimore—she had been left in a Safeway parking lot. That was nine years ago! I live in this beautiful wooded neighborhood that’s a five-minute walk to the river, which the dog loves. Being outside is a great way to start your day.
Q: Who is the most important person you talk to every day?
Robin: Without question, my husband, Derek. Thank God, right?! With the pandemic, we spent more time together than we ever had before. MeeDerby has been remote for 10 years, and my husband came home to work last year, too. Luckily the house is plenty big enough for the two of us.
Q: What new tool or thing have you discovered that you can’t live without?
Robin: I love my Yeti mug! I probably drink more coffee because it’s so big, but it stays hot, and I love that. I had always wanted one and thought they’d be great gifts for the whole family. So, for Christmas last year, everybody got Yeti mugs! Mine’s pink, Derek’s is green. They’re kind of expensive, but who doesn’t want a Yeti everything?
Q: When you think about 2020, any lessons learned from everything that went on?
Robin: The first thing that comes to mind is how important relationships are. Our work, personal and home relationships. And I do have an increased appreciation for home. I had an increased level of gratitude for health, family, co-workers, and my business relationships. Frankly, I think a lot of business relationships deepened. For example, the ASA Women in Leadership interest group and the Thrive pre-conference event really took off. We had over 600 people at the second Thrive Zoom conference in 2020, and it generated incredible energy. Even though we weren’t seeing each other in person, I think in a lot of ways, the connectivity levels increased significantly. There are a lot of silver linings from 2020…but it kind of starts with appreciation and gratitude, and the recognition of transformation that began and is still in play. I think I’ll look back and say that 2020 was the beginning of the most transformational time in my life.
Q: What makes you feel hopeful for the future?
Robin: I’m an inherently positive, optimistic person. And I do believe people are good, and resilient. So, getting back to this transformation that is happening—you can almost feel it in the world. It does feel like out of turmoil comes great growth. We’ve particularly seen this explosion in women in leadership, and around the issues of diversity and inclusion. When I think about being hopeful for the future, I think there is conversation that’s happening in the world and our industry that has never happened before. Ever. The transformation that’s in play will not only support growth in our industry, but also the makeup of it. I’m very hopeful we will make significant strides because of what’s happening.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
Robin: I spend as much time outside as possible. I’m outside with my dog, I garden and I bike sometimes. I also cook and I read, and then I read some more. And in the summer, I spend as much time as possible at the beach. I see as many sunsets as possible, followed by sunrises. And moonrises over the beach, too. As many of those as I can see in my lifetime is just a wonderful thing.