Rona Borre founded Instant Alliance in 2001 and which has since become a nationally recognized, woman-owned business enterprise which consistently increases revenue year over year. She strives to prove good talent can be a major differentiating factor in an organization’s success and works closely with each of her employees to ensure that clients are partnered with the premier talent in order to get the job done.
As a leader in the Chicago community, Rona sits on the board and holds leadership roles with the Economic Club of Chicago, the Young Presidents Organization, and The Chicago Network. She received her BS in Business from the University of Arizona. Rona is passionate about her three children and helping companies achieve their goals by pairing them with the best talent.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I founded Instant Technology in 2001 after a successful career in Sales/Recruiting. I believe firmly that bringing the best quality talent to our clients is the most important aspect of recruiting and wanted to start an organization where I could attract like-minded people to aid in making Chicago a hub of technology innovation.
Over the years I have played a critical role in the reinvention of several Fortune 100 and mid-sized clients throughout Chicagoland. My firm and reputation continued to grow, so I launched new business offerings and strategic consulting services to support the growing needs of my clients.
Instant Technology has grown from a small business in the second bedroom of my condo to a thriving company with more than 100 employees. My goal has always been to pair premier talent with clients to help drive measurable business results.
Tell us about your business.
Instant Alliance is a full-service Human Capital Consulting firm. We help organizations meet their business goals by aiding them in the build-out of their Technology, Financial, and HR workforces.
Our unparalleled network throughout Chicago and our drive to provide the best experience for candidates and clients alike have allowed us to identify and attract transformational talent to the Chicagoland area. We believe that the recruitment business is about relationships, and we consistently work to build and maintain long-term relationships with our extensive network. When you work with our firm, we provide decades of combined leadership experience and access to years of relationship building in the area of Technology, Finance, and HR.
Our clients’ deliverables are our deliverables. We know the job has to get done, which is why we assign a member of our executive team to every single executive engagement. There is no hand-off. The person who helps you set your strategy is the person working at the office to meet your goals. This level of dedication has helped us work with some prestigious mid-market and fortune clients.
- University of Illinois at Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Inductee (2013)
- Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine (2011)
- The Business Ledger’s Influential Women in Business (2009)
- Annual Award for Business Excellence (2010)
- Chicago’s best and Brightest Companies to work for (2015)
- Best Places to work in Illinois – Mid Sized Company (2013)
- Best Places to work in Illinois – Small Company (2014)
- Best of Staffing, Talent Satisfaction (2016, 2017)
- Best of Staffing Client Satisfaction Diamond Award (6 years 2012-2017)
- 101 Best and Brightest companies to work for (2012, 2014,2015,2016)
- Best in Biz Awards (2012)
- Best in Biz Awards Bronze Winner (2015)
- Inc. 5000 2009 Honoree (2009)
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first thing I did was determine who were the people I wanted to target as potential clients. I focused on the people that I had the strongest relationships with and I determined how long it would take for me to begin generating revenue from those relationships. I outsourced everything that I could, such as payroll, accounting, and billing. My sole focus was to generate revenue. In my opinion, revenue can cure almost any issue in business.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I am more than a CEO, I am proud to be known in Chicago as the thought-leader in the Human Capital industry AKA “The Chicago Tech Connector”. Being the go-to woman if you want to know someone in the Chicago tech scene or looking for a job in tech has helped Instant Alliance place thousands of jobs in Chicago. My firm has an unparalleled network we leverage rapidly and effectively.
I am dedicated to partnering with clients that recognize the importance of finding the right talent and understand that people are a key differentiating factor. Through my network and tight relationships, I have access to talent that will make an immediate impact and take an organization to their next level of growth. Some of my expertise and reputation are based on working with clients such as Allstate, McDonald’s, Baxter and Walgreens that rely on me and the firm to get the job done and bring in superior talent to their organization.
I played a pivotal role in staffing McDonald’s Digital organization from its inception and continue to be a valued partner as they continue down their digital path and transition to Chicago. Also, I recently placed Amy Martin the Global PMO Director and filled roughly 100 of their open positions. We were extremely excited to report that two-thirds of these placements on the executive team were women.
In September we placed Grace Van Til, SVP of Customer Operations at Outcome Health. As a key female executive, Grace will ensure operational excellence and unprecedented customer experience as Outcome Health continues their trajectory of extreme growth.
Instant Alliance has continued to gain awareness from both the industry and our customers by its ability to deliver the best talent in the market. I have always felt that my reputation and the work I deliver on speaks for itself.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I believe that, like everything in life, there are ups and downs in business. I have absolutely had my successes and failures. I have had to restructure my company and have learned a great deal from the difficulties I’ve faced. I look back at my journey and sometimes can’t believe I am still standing. Just when I think I have it figured out, I learn something else.
How did you overcome these challenges?
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that you have to keep a close eye on your financials. I was always a more trusting executive and never really a “Numbers” CEO. It took a lot of learning, but I do know the impact that everything has on my P&L and I have dedicated myself to learning more each day.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
While I was growing up, I struggled with severe learning disabilities. I often spent my time in a specialized learning resource room where I would receive extra support from tutors and teachers, but from a very young age, I learned I would have to advocate for myself.
I learned how to talk to leaders in the school in order to work around the challenges I encountered. Learning was exceptionally hard for me, and my high school counselor told me that I shouldn’t plan on attending college. My resolve to excel in school grew tenfold. I was focused on proving them, and anyone else who doubted me, wrong.
I was admitted into University of Arizona’s SALT program for students with learning challenges. I continued to advocate for myself, continued to work harder than I thought I could, and I made it out of my freshmen year with a 4.0 GPA. I wasn’t an average child, but I learned early through hard work and dedication I could achieve anything I set my mind to.
I held true to that principle through college, received my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Marketing, and have been able to found and operate my own business because of my work ethic I developed so long ago.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My firm is known for its unconventional recruiting methods and goes beyond just searching from its database. This equation equals a 97% client return rate and the continued opportunity of working with our clients for multiple years as a trusted advisor and partner. Additionally, in every new search, we assign an executive from our leadership team to be involved in the delivery. It is an all hands on deck firm from the CEO all the way down.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
This too shall pass. This is an oldie, but goodie. It is very true and often I often need to remind myself of this.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Make sure you learn from your mistakes and take note to do it differently the next time around. Don’t walk around and beat yourself up. Onward and upward.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
- LinkedIn – This tool keeps me updated on people and market.
- I also would not know what I would do without my assistant, Maryellen. She really helps me keep my life on track.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I recently read “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. I needed strategies to help me when I got in a negative head space or things don’t go my way. This book gave me the ability to allow myself to have a negative thought and be present so I can be in a position to change that thought or feeling.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am always researching about where technology is heading and what companies are doing to innovate their services and products. Knowing the market and what the industry is saying allows me to partner more closely with my clients my clients. Staying relevant is key.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Year-end is right around the corner and I am focused on execution for a few key customers and planning for 2018. We are moving office space so getting our new space secured and finalized in on top of my list.
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