Cathy Ward

Lakeland, Florida

1st Priority Staffing
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Learn about Florida Entrepreneur Cathy Ward:

Cathy Ward, founder of 1st Priority Staffing, is a human resources executive who leveraged her deep experience to launch her own business during the Great Recession.

"I was a global HR director in 2008 and was the first executive released because of the recession," she said. "I came home with a decent severance package, but after four months I wanted to return to work. I had been in HR since I was 18 years old and I love it. I love helping people grow and better themselves and HR is a great fit for that. I continued to look for jobs but was always told I was overqualified. I decided to open my own agency instead of working for someone else. I decided to create my own job."

1st Priority Staffing is a family owned and operated business that focuses on building relationships with both its customers and employees it places.

"We care about the employees as much as the employer and we don't use the throwing plaster approach," Ward explained. "We try to fit each individual into the right job because we believe that is better for community growth. We have people we placed ten years ago who still drop by to say hi to us. We have a very vested and personal touch. We build friendships on all levels."

Wards advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to become familiar with the growing trend of using the rules of improv at work. In addition, always persevere.

"Do not give up," she said. "Surround yourself with people who can assist you. Join a chamber of commerce and meet good people. If you are trying to do the right thing, good things will come to you. Be transparent, and don’t give up."

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