Q&A with Rhonda Stephens, our new VP of Talent Services

Jamie Klobuchar
October 6, 2022

Rhonda Stephens recently joined Evolve’s leadership team as our very first VP of Talent Services. We are so excited to welcome her onboard. 

Rhonda brings 20+ years of staffing, talent management, and career development in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Rhonda’s clients value her deep expertise in the field, direct feedback, kindness, and commitment to putting the right person in the right organization–not just filling a role. 

Let’s get to know the newest member of the senior leadership team! 

Q: Why are you passionate about talent services? 

A: This work allows me to help people further their life and experiences. I want people to know they have choices, choices they may have thought about, but didn’t think they could ever do. That’s why I'm so passionate about talent services and career development. 

I always try to remember–talent is someone’s livelihood. Without the right people in your organization, your organization will remain stagnant and resist growth. Every person, company, and organization needs someone to help them grow and develop, and that’s what the Talent team at Evolve does, that’s what I do. 

Q: What drew you to Evolve's work? 

A: For me, the challenge to grow something from the ground up, own it, and build it is fantastic. I’m excited to make Evolve Talent a household name, build partnerships with nonprofits outside of Evolve’s current clientele, to include more Black and minority-led nonprofits, and continue growing our talent pool by attracting a diverse population of nonprofit professionals. 

Q: What can clients expect from working with you? 

A: They can expect honest, direct feedback. They’re going to get exceptional service from somebody who actually cares about talent acquisition, not just putting someone in a position to fill it – but the right person in the right position, specific to their organization. There's nothing better than an organization that hires people who really want to be there and professionals who find an organization that sees their value and fulfills their needs. That is my goal and my promise.

Q: How do you bring a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion into your Talent work? 

A: The nonprofit sector is so important to POC, minorities, and people of all sexual orientations, faiths, and educational backgrounds. I am committed to reaching those individuals by posting in places we haven’t posted before, developing additional opportunities in a variety of sectors outside of the Jewish communal space, attending events outside of our familiar scope, increasing our social media presence, and actively seeking out nonprofits that have a strong commitment and action towards DEI initiatives.

Q: How do you see Evolve’s Talent Services growing? 

A: Growth for Evolve’s Talent Services is becoming a household name. Half the battle is people knowing who we are. We will expand and open our services to more nonprofits within a variety of sectors like women's rights, homelessness, and social justice, and environmental services, while still taking care of the clients who built Evolve’s foundation. Evolve will grow by providing authentic, positive, and exceptional service, branding, knowing our value to organizations, and communicating those things to the world. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

A: Early in my career, I had a boss who asked, “How do you want to be remembered when you leave an org?” “I want them to realize I did my job well,” I said. 

And he said, “What’s important is if they remember you as good or great.” Basically, good means you did the job. Great means they miss you, you as a person and worker, you made a positive impact there. I strive to be missed wherever I go.

Q: What advice would you give to a professional who’s not satisfied in their current role? 

A: For any professional who is unhappy, start looking and apply. Don’t under-value yourself because you’ve never held a title or position before. If you know the Alicia Keys song “No One” (I walked down the aisle to it), you know that it says let no one get in the way of what you’re feeling, that includes yourself. Lastly, when you’re assessing your personal and professional life or path, make sure you’re going from good to great! 

Q: What brings you joy outside of work? 

A: My family. I am an only child to a single mom, and she means everything to me. Being an only child, I had no intention of having a big family. However, when my husband (whom I’ve known since we were 13) proclaimed we are having five kids, [laughs] we did, two girls and three boys, between the ages of 26 and 9. We also have a bonus baby in our 3 yr old grandson.

What’s really joyful is having a million people surrounding you with love, hearing the kids say the darndest things, watching them grow up and come into their own, and seeing their personalities show up to mimic yours (scary). That’s what brings me joy! 

Being a parent is so important to me, and I take that perspective with me to work everyday. You’re not just placing people; you’re developing people with their own story, their own pain,  their own healing, and their own families.

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