Georgina O’ Connor
Senior Partner Engineering Consultancy UK
07813 661 558
0203 137 7145
Georgina O’Connor has worked in recruitment for more than 13 years. For the past seven years, her work has centred on finding high-calibre senior directors and consultants working across numerous civil engineering disciplines. She started running her own CNA Executive Search franchise in May 2011. CNA International is the executive search arm of the Pertemps Group, one of the UK’s largest groups of recruitment companies.
Georgina comments on her experiences so far: “This past year has been exceptional – probably the best I’ve had in the last 13 years. When the recession hit four years ago, because most of my work was with land developers, things really slowed down. More recently the private sector market and international market really picked up and everyone’s feeling a lot more confident. I’ve never seen so much senior movement within the industry as I have in 2012.”
In 2008 Georgina went on maternity leave and 12 months later she had to decide whether to go back to her previous employed roles, as she explains: “I’d been working 15-hour days, so I thought working for myself was the best way to gain the flexibility I need to do the type of job I wanted to do, yet still be there for my son. It really was a difficult decision, because I loved my previous job as a senior recruitment consultant. But I’ve no regrets about starting my own business. Following the birth of my son, I’m pleased to be back in the industry and delighted to be doing so well running my own business. I started at a great time, won fantastic clients early on and it’s just progressed from there really.”
Why Georgina decided to start up with support from CNA International
Georgina says one of the main reasons she decided to invest in setting up with CNA Executive Search was because of the brand association. “I thought being associated with the CNA International and Pertemps Group brand names would really help me to succeed,” she says, “while still being able to retain my own autonomy, which was very important. I’d been out of the industry for two years, so it would have been very hard to try to start my own business under my own brand. Being associated with the CNA International and Pertemps Group brand names has certainly helped the business get to where it is now.
I didn’t really consider any other options, if I’m honest.”
So what ambitions does she have for her business?
“I want to be billing in the region of £250,000 a year – that’s my target. I don’t really want to employ anyone – that’s not the type of operation I want to run. I don’t want the headache of having premises, employing people. I’d prefer to just work for and by myself, although, I do have access and manage a resourcing team which is very helpful. I work exceptionally hard, but I enjoy it and it’s very rewarding.”
Balancing work and family life
Georgina has been married to Simon since July 2007 and he also works in recruitment. They have one son, Thomas, who is three and a half. “Thomas goes to my mum’s twice a week, the r
est of the week he goes to nursery. Mum lives a mile away – I couldn’t do what I do without her help, because my husband and I work very long hours. But being my own boss means I still have some flexibility, which means I’m free to take Thomas to and from nursery.”
Georgina admits to being something of a “gym bunny” and she particularly likes spinning classes. “It’s a great release and I go to gym at least three times a week.” She also loves to go on holiday as many times as she can each year. “For my 30th birthday recently, we went to Las Vegas with friends. It was amazing. Simon and I work very hard, but we like to enjoy life and play hard, too. A few weeks ago the three of us went on holiday to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and we had a fabulous time. We also took Thomas to Disneyland Paris in July for his third birthday and we plan to take him on his first skiing trip soon. As a family, we enjoy nice holidays.”
Georgina’s advice to new franchisees
“Think about it carefully: running your own recruitment franchise involves a lot of responsibility. My advice to anyone working in recruitment is this, whether good times or bad times, stick to what you know. My market fell to pieces, but I stuck in there and that has paid off. The other thing I’d say is you have to be prepared to work hard if you’re to succeed.”