people2people opened its doors on 2 February 2005. There were five of us with a big vision in a small office in Sydney. That vision was to provide professional recruitment services based on relationships, not just transactions. It was about the customer journey, understanding that often candidates became clients and clients became candidates, and our role was to partner with people throughout their careers. As founders, we knew that by putting people first, delivering outstanding service and fostering strong relationships, our fledgling business would flourish.
Fast forward fifteen years to 2020 (boy how time flies!) and flourish it has. Now with eight offices across two countries, 110 staff and many of Australia and New Zealand’s best-known employers on our client list, people2people has a lot to be proud of.
Recently we brought the whole team together in Sydney to celebrate our 15th birthday and the inaugural STRIDE Awards. A gala dinner was held at the Sydney Intercontinental Hotel. It was a marriage of the Oscars – red carpet, black tie, evening gowns, champagne, gourmet dinner – and the Brownlow Medal (or Dally M for the Rugby League fans) with the fairest and best player on the field over the entire season named, as determined by the number of votes they received throughout the year. And there was of course cake – after all, what’s a birthday without cake?
What are the STRIDE Awards? STRIDE is the acronym used to reflect our values. The values were unearthed during a process that involved the whole company. We wanted a shared understanding of “why we do what we do” and “how we do it”. Not wanting to lose sight of what we stood for when we started the company, it was important, with the geographical expansion and larger workforce, that we maintained our inclusive culture and unique style.
STRIDE stands for Strength, Teamwork, Respect, Integrity, Drive, and, Enterprise. It is now part of our everyday lexicon. Each month staff members vote for a colleague based on one of our values. And at this event, our Grand Champion of STRIDE was crowned. Congratulations to our Shared Services Business Partner, Janet Gebre. You certainly are our super-hardworking superstar!
Several other awards were given out on the night and if you keep an eye on our social media posts, you will see the photos of the winners and learn why they were the chosen ones.
One Award which deserves a special mention is the ‘Maria Mexis Client Service’ Award. Maria was one of the five original team members in that office in 2005. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer early last year. There was barely a dry eye in the room when Stathy, Maria’s husband and Christine, her twin sister presented the Award, named in Maria’s honour. Maria truly embodied the STRIDE values. The inaugural winner of this Award was Bianca Luck, Director and Contract Accounting Specialist. Congratulations Bianca!
Bianca’s tribute to her former colleague and friend was heart-warming:
“Maria didn’t manage her clients’ expectations; she exceeded them. She personalised her service to suit each client. She worked with passion, vigour and speed. Her professionalism was never questioned and she treated everyone with respect at all times. Her long-term philosophy on recruitment never wavered ... She was resilient and worked hard to be her clients’ number one and exclusivity was always paid back in return. It meant the absolute world to me that I won this year’s award. I miss you Maria.”
Traditions are an important part of an organisation’s history. We have always had staff awards however, with our first STRIDE Awards, we have written a new chapter. We look forward to handing out more STRIDE Awards in years to come as we continue to celebrate our hard-working team members, who continue to deliver exceptional service to our candidates and clients.