Nicole Underwood knows what it takes to create, build and grow a successful recruitment business. She has worked with hundreds of clients, coached her fair share of Consultants and placed hundreds of professionals into their dream job. Her desire to achieve and drive herself and others to greater levels of success just seems to be part of her DNA.
Nicole’s work ethic was instilled in her from an early age from her parents, both school teachers in the Barossa Valley. At age 15, Nicole was “encouraged” to get a part-time job at the local department store and earn her own way. This journey continued throughout high school and her university years with Nicole independently purchasing her first property in Norwood at age 19.
After graduating from the University of South Australia with a Degree in Management (Marketing & HR), Nicole launched her recruitment career in Adelaide with a small local agency as an Account Manager. It wasn’t until she was hired by Greg Savage and Ross Clennett to establish the Adelaide office of the highly successful firm Recruitment Solutions that she knew she had found her true calling. It was this experience that inspired her love for building a business, leading high performance teams and consulting with organisations to find them the best talent in the market.
In 2001, Nicole was headhunted by Mark Hender to set up a new business in the Adelaide market at age 23. Nicole founded Entrée Recruitment in 2001 and rapidly built the company to achieve sales in excess of $3million in its first year of operation. This opportunity proved Nicole had what it took to build and grow a highly successful recruitment firm.
In 2002 and again in 2008, Nicole’s business and leadership achievements were formally recognised by the Telstra Business Women Awards. As a dual Finalist in the Young Business Women of the Year and the Private and Corporate Sector Award, Nicole lists these awards as a strong highlight of her corporate career.
In 2005, Nicole was asked to deliver a keynote presentation by CPA Australia for their Women’s Committee on her story of success. This sell-out event at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, spurred Nicole’s passion for public speaking and she has since spoken at a range of events for the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAA), The University of South Australia and The Australian Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC).
In 2007, Nicole had her first child, a daughter Charlie. She was determined to lead from the front and demonstrate to other females that family and business success can co-exist, especially at an executive level. This journey proved successful with her second child arriving in 2009 and Nicole supporting a large number of women in her business to achieve the same balance
Nicole launched her blog “recruitment retention results” in 2010 incorporating her views on all things people, leadership and performance. Her blog is regularly published, read, re-tweeted and commented on nationally by industry and business leaders across the HR and recruitment community. It was through this outlet that Nicole discovered she had a calling to embrace her ambitions of owning her own business.
10 years since establishing that start-up, Nicole has harnessed her entrepreneurial spirit in the creation of an innovative business model with a holistic approach to recruitment and retention. Her view of the business world is centered on her people first philosophy. The creation of values that guide behaviors and high performance is at the core of establishing a sustainable and profitable business. Look after your people first, the clients will love the service and the numbers will look after themselves.
Nicole is a Fellow (FRCSA) and committee member for the RCSA (Recruitment Consultant Services Association) in South Australia. The RCSA is the leading industry and professional body for the recruitment and human resources services sector, with over 3,800 members.
Nicole’s love for business is balanced with her first love – family. She lives in Adelaide with her two children Charlie and William.
After graduating from the University of South Australia with a Degree in Occupational Therapy, Salli set off for London for two years and combined clinical work in a variety of teaching hospitals, with travel across Europe. She then returned to Adelaide and worked as an Injury Management Consultant for three years before deciding to apply her consulting skills to a different industry.
Salli was appointed in the newly created role of HR Graduate at Orlando Wyndham, based at Rowland Flat in the Barossa Valley. This opportunity allowed her to gain valuable skills in a manufacturing setting whilst fuelling her fascination for viticulture and wine making. It was when she was looking to move on from this role, that Salli met Nicole Underwood for the first time.
Funnily enough, Salli was being interviewed for a Human Resources role with Nicole’s recruitment firm at the time and soon entered into a discussion of joining that business and developing a consulting career.
Six years with Nicole, Salli sought to spread her wings even further and add some depth to her HR capability and accepted an HR Business Partner role with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. In this role Salli provided coaching and advice to Senior Leaders in the areas of people care and management, OD competencies, reward frameworks, career planning and recruitment and in her OD role contributed to the development and implementation of key HR initiatives across the Bank.
It is with great pleasure that Nicole and Salli are working together again, with Salli being the first employee in the nicoleunderwood business. This dynamic duo is committed to building a consultancy where their cutting edge approach, commitment and belief sets them apart in the market.
Salli lives in Adelaide with her husband Sean, a Financial Planner, her two school-aged boys Alistair and Will and Rufus the Golden Retriever.
Shiona Ferguson has a tremendous passion for people. Throughout her career every position has been underpinned by a desire to connect, build strong lasting bonds and exceed expectations. She has spent much of the past 15 years developing relationships and recruiting people into positions across a broad range of industries including state government, banking & finance, manufacturing, wine & spirits, geoservices, as well as international development.
She started her recruitment career in the late 90’s working for a division of Morgan & Banks responsible for business development and the provision of contract staff to state government under a preferred supplier agreement. It was during this time that Shiona first met Nicole Underwood who was managing Recruitment Solutions located in the same building! Shiona worked with Morgan & Banks in both Adelaide and Canberra in a variety of positions including business development, consultant and candidate manager, always with a focus on attracting, qualifying and placing talent in roles that would enhance their careers and play to their strengths.
After 4 years in the consultancy environment, Shiona decided to expand her skills in a human resource capacity and joined Capgemini Business Services Australia, a consulting and outsourcing business managing the HR, Accounting and Payroll requirements for Bluescope Steel. In her human resource role, Shiona developed strong relationships with her key stakeholders across Australia, managing end-to-end recruitment and assisting with generalist HR requirements.
She then had an opportunity to apply her skills with a global premium-branded beverage company, Fosters Group. Here she worked as a Project Specialist with the human resource and payroll teams in Adelaide and Melbourne, with a focus on integrating the Southcorp Wines business and ensuring operational excellence in the delivery of payroll and HR related services to approximately 4,000 employees.
In 2007, Shiona accepted a position with Coffey, consultants in geoservices, international development and project management. She was tasked with securing top quality development professionals to win future work and maintain performance on the programs they delivered on behalf of their donors globally.
It is with much excitement that Shiona joins the nicoleunderwood business with a focus on building specialised talent communities, engaging with executive talent and managing executive search and recruitment campaigns.
Shiona lives in Adelaide with her husband Lachlan, an Executive in the banking industry and their two children Scarlett and Benjie.