Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSM Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law. This week we are pleased to introduce you to Amy Lynne Ratnow, a mom of three teens (gasp!) and the founder and president of ALR Connections, a boutique staffing firm!
Amy is the the kind of warm and lovely person that anyone would strive to have on their team. Not only is she well connected (running not one but three networking groups in the northern burbs), she is one of the most genuine humans you’ll ever meet. What you see is what you get with Amy and that’s everything. When it comes to ALR Connections, Amy and her team take their time to form a human connection that equals fast and effective results for those looking for jobs and businesses looking for excellent candidates. Get to know more about this amazing mom, how and why she founded ALR connections and what keeps Amy moving forward. Welcome, Amy!
Hi Amy! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
I am originally from South Bend, IN, home of Notre Dame. For the past 18 years I’ve lived in Vernon Hills, a community we chose to raise my family in, partly because of its proximity to my husband’s work and extended family.
You’re a mom to three teens; tell us about your kids.
I had three kids in 3 1/2 years! Two boys and a girl (17, 15, 14), teenagers who are about to be in high school together next year. Here’s is a picture of our favorite vacation in Mexico when they still loved taking pictures with us – moms of teens, can you relate?
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
I once danced on stage at a live sold out Prince concert, I played soccer and lacrosse in college, and I currently teach yoga.
What are your favorite local places to escape to?
Lifetime Fitness in Lincolnshire was such a big part of our lives raising kids, between the indoor and outdoor pools, basketball, and kids activities. We also enjoy Brunswick bowling and Tsukasa in Vernon Hills for dinners out.
What gets you through a tough day?
Taking a few minutes to stop and take a deep breath. Listening to music to lift my spirits or motivate me. Sometimes, treating myself to an indulgent treat like McDonald’s french fries does the trick too.
Please introduce ALR Connections! Tell us about your company’s mission and how you started it.
ALR Connections is a boutique staffing group bridging the gap between experienced women and local opportunities. We’re not an algorithm, we are real people behind real connections. We truly get to know people, so our referrals provide life-changing results for our candidates and proven success for our business clients. I founded this company in 2017.
This mission has always been at the forefront of my work ethic. As a mom I had a personal need to find work-life balance that was fulfilling for me and made sense for my family. ALR Connections started out as a personal mission, and became my passion – connecting experienced women like myself with flexible work that fits their lives, and at the same time helping small businesses with no HR departments hire sensational employees. It’s a win-win for all.
ALR Connections staff from left to right: Ruth Joseph, Amy Ratnow, Carly Ubersox
What did you do before you founded ALR Connections?
I was a full-time mom with a lot of various roles in marketing, sales and events.
What was the scariest aspect about forming your own company? What challenges did you face in the beginning and still today as a small business owner?
I think as women, perhaps more as mothers, we often suffer from imposter syndrome, making it hard to believe we can achieve our career goals at the same time as parenting. It was scary to put myself out there and believe that my success was deserved, but over time I began to value myself more and trust in my own skills, as long as I can maintain that balance. I am always reminding myself and my colleagues that we need to practice positive self-talk and tap into our confidence, even when we face hurdles.
Describe something you’re most proud of as it relates to your profession.
There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the positive outcome when someone loves where they work and a company loves their employee! This is especially meaningful in small businesses, where employees are like family. I love changing lives for the better by finding job opportunities for women, especially widows and divorcees, many of whom feel overwhelmed in their new situations. Building confidence and financial freedom for mothers is very rewarding, it warms my heart to see their growth and success.
When a business comes to you with a hiring need, what is the process from start to finish?
ALR Connections provides a pre-vetted referral that matches each company’s needs, both in skillset and character. After we learn your staffing needs, you sign the contract, then we present candidates for your review. The interview process is up to you, we can facilitate all communication for you, or you take control. Either way there is no risk involved! You only pay when you hire someone, once upon their start and then final payment is due after 60 days. Many businesses find that working with ALR is worthwhile because not only do we make great matches, we also save them time and energy in finding really fantastic people.
How do you cast a net to find the best qualified candidates for your clients?
Grassroots marketing, in-person and online networking, referrals from trusted friends, family and neighbors, and recommendations from previous clients and candidates. We’re building an online community of like-minded people who want to support one another in finding work-life balance.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you personally or about ALR Connections that we didn’t cover above?
I am very passionate about this niche and really identify more as a matchmaker or a puzzle solver. ALR Connections provides an empathetic approach to vetting candidates, because their stories are our stories! We strive to maintain connections and really guide people on their individual career journey.
How do our readers connect with you and learn more about staffing needs and opportunities?
You can learn more about ALR Connections by visiting alrconnections.com. Please reach out to start a conversation or make a coffee date by emailing [email protected]. We are also on Instagram Facebook and LinkedIn.
About our Meet of Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].