Kerry Weber, Information Technology Professionals (ITP)

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Kerry Weber, talent acquisition manager, Information Technology Professionals (ITP).

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

First, it’s only my eighth day on the job [as of writing this], so that presents challenges. I’m drinking from the firehouse, as they say — learning my new company’s services, offerings, technologies, processes, etc., and meeting new people, building new relationships, and understanding the lay of the land and where I’ll fit in. But it’s great fun and very rewarding to be able to join a reputable, solid, stable company with so much success, and to have the opportunity to build a brand-new service offering for their customers.

The labor market in IT is the toughest it’s ever been in the 20 years I’ve been recruiting. That’s very challenging, but I have the pleasure of helping our company grow in every way, assisting our clients in growing their businesses, and helping people land meaningful careers. A person’s job impacts every area of their lives, and I feel privileged to do what I do alongside some of the brightest people in Wisconsin!

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I look up to people like Paul Hager [CEO of Information Technology Professionals] who put their family first and their business second, but also create a company/team that makes their employees feel like family — a leader who protects his or her employees as well as the culture. I also look up to women who juggle so many things — careers, education, families — and can still fit in self-care and have success and happiness. They are the ones who inspire me the most because it’s a challenge every day to find balance and find time for self-care when you have a career and family.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

I would say there have been many high points in my long career, but one that sticks out is my time with Didion Milling. I was hired to recruit up to 20 people in a year for professional and leadership roles. Within my first month of being there, the mill blew up and it killed five of our employees. It was obviously beyond devastating in so many ways, but it brought people together like I’ve never seen at a company. You could somewhat compare it to how things were after 9/11 — people were united, caring, and loving to each other at work. They came together in an amazing way to get through that crisis. And, while they could have let me go — as all hiring obviously stopped for months — I was kept on to do outplacement counseling and help over 20 people find jobs outside the mill. Since the mill no longer existed, those people needed new employment so they wouldn’t lose income and benefits. It was an honor to help them through that terrible tragedy. They are relationships I’ll have the rest of my life.

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Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

At 21, I had more gumption and tenacity and fearlessness than I can imagine now. I miss that. However, I wasn’t focused and I didn’t stick with things. I wanted to be a counselor or a psychologist, but I didn’t have the discipline to stay with it. Looking back, I would tell myself to slow down, take time to really think about what you want for your life, stay focused, and never give up. I had a hard time seeing things through. I wasn’t great at planning or taking the long view. I was more impulsive and while that’s a wonderful quality, I wish I had set goals and pursued them vs. letting life happen to me. But, in the end, it all works out and we are where we are supposed to be.

What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

Madison is a perfect little city. It’s smaller than Minneapolis (which is my favorite city) but with a lot of cultural and socioeconomic diversity, strong industry, strong education, strong arts, and somewhat progressive. It’s beautiful and a great place to raise of family with the zoo, parks, lakes, arboretum, and more.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Coffee, wine, chocolate, productivity around the house with a 4-year-old in tow, and girlfriends. I must be with my girlfriends at least once a month. They are my therapy, keep me grounded, and provide laughter and sanity.

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