Times are tough and with increased downsizing there now are more and more women scrambling to create viable career options for themselves. Maybe they should look to groundbreakers like LAC Group CEO Deb Schwarz—not long ago a librarian wracking her brain to develop greater career potential than the path she found stretching before her.
“It wasn’t that I was unhappy in my work or, worse, suddenly found myself unemployed as so many women do today,” recalls Schwarz. “I just knew that I could use all of the skills I had acquired along the way—both on the job as an information specialist, and as a goal-oriented woman, managing the business of life—to move myself to something more personally and financially gratifying.”
So, in 1986, Schwarz founded a small library staffing business, offering her clients the top-notch information management skills she herself possessed and could recognize in potential recruits. Then, in 1997, her modest enterprise saw a major break when a top San Francisco law firm asked her to run their library as an outside contractor. Schwarz was convinced that the time was ripe for outsourcers—especially those supplying information management services.
“I realized that if I could do this for the legal profession, I could offer all sorts of information management services to any number of for-profit or nonprofit verticals and even local, state, and federal government agencies.”
She was right: Today, with over 350 employees and annual sales approaching $20 million, Schwarz and her associates are marking 25 years of managing information assets and supplying strategic consulting to public and private organizations of all types, all over the world. LAC Group proudly displays its ongoing WBENC (www.wbenc.com) accreditation as a premier woman-owned firm; an organization recognized for its integrity and ability to deliver the highest levels of service.
Schwarz extends much of the credit to her team of dedicated and talented professionals from across the library, project management and government contracting worlds. But she also concedes that her unflagging (“Some might say ‘stubborn!’”) vision and adherence to core values, teamed with a commitment to top-flight execution had much to do with the firm’s quarter century of success.
Yet, “Women are generally good at implementation and standing by their principles,” says the CEO. “Where they fall short is in the vision part of the equation: the ability to dream big and to believe they are worthy of that dream.”
Her advice to small business owners of her gender, or those nudged out of the workforce and now considering startups in a tough economy? “Dream big, start small, and don’t let anyone scare you away,” Schwarz advises.
“Someone’s going to build on that dream; why shouldn’t it be you? That conviction has worked for me for 25 years.”
About LAC Group
LAC Group is a leading global provider of library, legal, information/research staffing, consulting, project and asset management services, with clients in government/nonprofit, the Fortune 500, law, academia, biotechnology, and more. For additional information, visit www.lac-group.com or contact Erin Beekhuis at 323.302.9438 / [email protected].