Interviews with purpose-driven leaders who are dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact in the world.
June 21, 2021
Rebecca Oppenheim + Gail Buck | nextOPP Search
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
We are Rebecca Oppenheim and Gail Buck and we’re the co-founders of nextOPP Search. We are a women-founded B Corp-certified recruiting agency in North America that is built on a one-for-one model. Inspired by companies like Toms and Bombas which made the consumer product goods model successful, we set out to do something similar in the service industry. For every candidate that hires on the for-profit recruiting side of our company, we donate career coaching services to a survivor of domestic violence working towards financial independence through our “Hire One Help One” program.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
We started working together years ago as recruiters and developed a partnership when we worked on the same recruiting team. We’ve always had a desire to give back, particularly to find a way to empower women. We wanted to build a company where giving back was in its DNA. That’s when the one-for-one model just really made sense. Our business operates on a double bottom line: one is financial for the growth of our executive recruiting business and the other is our giveback model. They go hand in hand. As we grow our executive recruiting company, we are growing our Hire One Help One program alongside it.
As for why we focus on supporting women from domestic abuse situations, Gail witnessed her mom helping a survivor of domestic violence by connecting her with other women in the community before it was possible to find resources online. There was a network of women through the local church that created this underground railroad, so to speak. It had a major impact on her seeing women helping women and sparked the conversation about domestic violence.
With recruiting we recognize that we help people validate their skill sets, discover what they’re best at doing, create resumes to support that, and help them through the interview process. We discovered that financial abuse is directly intertwined with domestic abuse and realized we had an amazing opportunity to support domestic violence centers by helping women discover their skill sets, create resumes, and then ultimately find jobs to achieve financial independence. A lot of women stay in abusive relationships because of financial abuse – someone else is controlling the bank accounts, destroying their credit, taking out loans in their name, or harassing them at work. Two-thirds of women lose their jobs for reasons stemming from financial abuse which in turn means they don’t have a way out. It’s a key component to them being able to break the cycle.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
We think we have a responsibility as women to help other women. A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s critical that women look out for each other and support each other. This idea of “business for good” is something that resonates so deeply with us. We love being part of the B Corp community. It’s a really rigorous assessment to go through; they look not at just the shareholders and profit, but all the stakeholders. The nonprofit world is fantastic but it should not be up to that sector alone to really drive impact whether it’s with employees, the environment, with donations, or whatever it might be. We stand for this idea that for-profit companies can be an incredible force for good.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
When we started to reach out to a lot of crisis centers and domestic violence shelters we found there’s a large lack of resources in career coaching, resume help, and interview assistance. We fit into their suite of services, working alongside different nonprofits and shelters in the New York tri-state area. The plan is to expand that. We do one-on-one mentorship with individuals and arrange career days and workshops both within safe houses and virtually. Now that so much has gone virtual due to COVID, it’s been a huge plus for us to be able to reach more women via Zoom career days.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
The continuing inspiration for us are the survivors we work with, seeing what they have to deal with on a daily basis and what they are able to overcome. We see just how incredible they are and what they’re achieving. We feel privileged to be along for the ride and see them reach a point of financial independence. It’s so rewarding and inspirational to see them get to the other side and be able to live life freely.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Our vision is that anyone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship or domestic violence situation, who could use free career coaching resources, knows where to turn and can receive it throughout the U.S.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
Our biggest challenge is figuring out ways to scale nationally. That’s something that we’re constantly talking about with each other, our advisors, and our partners such as HR departments that love what we’re doing. We’re constantly in these brainstorming sessions to figure out how to expand our reach and impact. Is it a technological platform or marketplace? Is it more partnerships with shelters? How do we get this out there?
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CAUSE AND/OR THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
We’d like to shine a light on domestic abuse and dispel these preconceived notions that women can just walk away and that they’re making a choice to be in an abusive situation. Any way that we can open people’s eyes to the complexities of domestic violence and how much these women have to overcome, that’s part of what we would like to achieve with our program.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
A survivor who landed a job shortly after we started working with her shared some thoughts and it just goes to show how our inspiration really comes from the women we work with. She says, “I’ve been empowered. My life is real, and it is mine. And that is an amazing feeling to have. I see opportunity, and I am alive again.”
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
The best way to support us is to choose nextOPP Search as your recruiting partner, to utilize our for-profit recruiting services, executive search, temp placement, and RPO model. The work we do there is what drives the growth in the Hire One Help One program, so that is really the best way that people can help us reach and help more women.
At Orapin, we believe those who are working for the greater good should be known, supported, and celebrated. We give purpose-driven businesses the resources and support they need to increase awareness so they can grow and expand their impact. If you would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.