If you’re a Carex partner, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to start seeing this name in your inbox — Jake Siudzinski, our new Vice President of Partner Growth. We’re incredibly excited to have Jake on board — not only for the expertise and perspective he’ll bring to our partner relationships but also because his hiring represents a big dose of growth for Carex as well. So, we wanted to take a moment to introduce Jake and talk a bit about his journey with HR and talent acquisition, what he’ll be doing in his new role, and what’s important to him outside of work.
Jake hails from Green Bay, and moved to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin for his undergraduate degree — “I absolutely love the city and the university,” he says. He fell into recruiting after graduation, working at Adecco, a global staffing company. After he recruited for a year, he realized he wanted to give a more partner-facing role a try, so he moved to a business development role within the same organization. “In those kinds of roles, creating strong relationships is the goal, and I thrived in that environment.” He later moved to business development and partner-facing roles at Stark Company Realtors, Relocation Division, and The QTI Group.
As Jake built his career in HR and talent acquisition, one goal stood out: someday, he wanted to work for Bucky. He got his chance at the Wisconsin School of Business as its Senior Corporate Relations Manager, helping organizations wishing to recruit students or interns, do research with faculty, or engage in Executive Education. He also achieved another goal — getting his MBA. After nearly four years at UW, he pivoted back into the private sector with senior roles at The QTI Group — most recently the Director of Client Relations — before joining the Carex team in August.
Through his time at QTI, he met Carex’s (now) Director of Candidate Relations Theresa Balsiger, and Vice President of Partner Success Matt Duffy, who both worked at QTI for over a decade. “I continued to stay close with Matt and Theresa when they left to join Carex, and through them, I got to see the company’s journey,” Jake says. “I saw the initial journey of Carex as a startup, and what they were building. I heard great things about the leadership, and I liked their culture — care, be real, have fun. As simple as that sounds, it really spoke to me — the idea that a new-ish company was really focused on being really good partners to both companies in the need of talent and the candidates looking for roles. It’s a genuine approach to business, and I really appreciate that.”
He also appreciates how Carex places equal emphasis on quality and efficiency. “There’s a sense of urgency that’s so important in recruiting — and that’s one of our key focuses at Carex, especially with IT and tech talent. It’s amazing how quickly and efficiently they’re able to place high-caliber candidates with our partner organizations.”
When he’s asked what it is about the world of HR — particularly employee retention and talent acquisition — that’s so appealing to him, Jake is quick to answer. “What draws me into the industry itself — whether it’s recruiting or in a partner-facing role — is the hunt. I sincerely enjoy searching for top talent and great partner companies to work with — there’s a thrill in finding a great fit.” Finding that fit is part of building strong relationships and earning trust — another part of what Jake enjoys about the industry. He relays a story from his first few weeks on the job with Carex, where he was talking with a current partner and asked her what makes Carex different, and why she works with them. “She said it was the people like Rachel (Neill) and Matt (Duffy) — she trusts them wholeheartedly,” Jake says. “Carex has a reputation for being very transparent — we’re very clear with communication, with our rates.”
It’s a transparency that’s given to candidates as well as partners. “Carex does a great job of also being focused on the candidate, which makes the experience better for both sides,” Jake says. “It’s been refreshing to hear some of the conversations our Candidate Relations team has with candidates — ‘you’re a fantastic candidate, we want to help you find a great role.’ It’s a different approach than only focusing on our partners’ needs as many recruiters do.”
In his role as Vice President of Partner Growth at Carex, Jake will be focused on growing Carex’s partner base as well as working to retain established partner relationships. “Carex has never had this role, which is exciting, as it means our company is growing,” he says. “I get to help guide this growth, and help the organization on the next strategic steps..”
That starts, Jake says, with really getting clear on who Carex’s partners really are, and what their goals are. “It’s not enough to know what kind of roles they want to hire for,” he says. “It’s understanding their business strategy before we get to their people strategy — because those two things go hand in hand. After we know those things, we can come back and say, ‘Well, here’s who Carex is, and here’s how we can help you based on what we heard. Here’s how we can be successful together.’” This is where the transparency that Carex is known for also comes into play. “Right away, we’re setting up how we work, and what we can and cannot do, — so there’s alignment from the start,” Jake says. “There aren’t any surprises, and everyone’s on the same page.”
On the Carex website, each team member has a short bio. For his, Jake wrote: “Family-focused father. Life-long learner. Avid world traveler, but Wisco Boy forever.” These three lines fit him perfectly. “I was raised in a close family, and it’s something that’s important to me as I’m starting my own family,” Jake says. Late last month, he and his husband Nick became the proud parents of a baby girl, Eleanor Jean (Nora for short — Jake reports that he and Nick are “so smitten”). He’s a self-proclaimed “nerd” when it comes to self-help, nonfiction, and business books (“My husband reads a ton of fiction, and I’m over here reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” he laughs) and he is indeed an avid traveler — a big world map covers his office wall, dotted with pins of places he’s visited. “I value travel so much because I didn’t get to do it much growing up,” Jake says. His first international trip was to Europe with his husband, and it remains one of his all-time favorite travel experiences, with his visits to China and Vietnam through his MBA program a close second, in addition to a month-long honeymoon trip to Australia and New Zealand through a sabbatical when his husband worked at Epic.
When Jake reflects on his 17+ year career in HR, there’s one piece he’s especially thankful for — the fact that he gets to be exactly the person he is. “I’m so grateful to be able to be married to my husband, to be out in my workplace, and have the opportunity to be a parent,” he says. “I came out after undergrad to family and friends, but as I began to work in the business world I didn’t feel safe enough to bring my full true self to work. I thought it was better to keep that to myself. Now I know that it’s better for business to be who I am — and that I don’t need to hide.” (Shortly before the end of Pride Month last year, Jake penned this piece on LinkedIn — check it out if you have a moment!)
We’re grateful, too — grateful that Jake made the leap and is part of the Carex team!