Where do you belong?

Color blocked lockers.

Last week I was in the audience for my daughter’s high school production of Mean Girls (she played Regina George, which is a whole other story), and during the song Where Do You Belong? I found my mind wandering, thinking about how the song applied to recruiting.

The lyrics explain to the new girl at school, Cady Heron, the different groups that she could align with and some of the consequences of joining each group. “The strivers & survivors just waiting for June, the freaks and the geeks, and the peaking too soon, the junior achievers, the Christian believers” — these are a few of the groups Cady could choose to join.

It’s a fun song, which brought me back to my high school days. But it also felt very relevant to the conversations we have every day with candidates, hiring managers, and agency leaders. Everyone wants to belong. Belonging means being around people who get you, understand your powers, and blend those powers with theirs. What this song is describing is culture, and culture’s bedrock is values. Each of these groups’ members have come to high school with a set of goals and a set of values. They found their people based on these goals and values.

This doesn’t change much when you get older. The organizations we join are all attempting to lay a foundation of values and weave it into a culture. It isn’t as easy as high school groups that have loose affiliations where kids can come and go. But even then, as we see in Mean Girls, it can be tough to leave a group you once identified with. Where do you go when that happens?

Answering that question is very often our job as recruiters. The number one reason people give for wanting to make a career move is “it just doesn’t feel the same here anymore.” In other words, they’ve lost their feeling of belonging, which can leave them feeling like they’ve been set adrift. Not a pleasant feeling.

But there is good news. From our perspective, there is actually a place for everyone. Some cultures are on the rise, some have lost their way and need someone to help them find it again. Some cultures are intense and some are laid back and chill. Some are direct and stern, others are funny and goofy. And if you are not a joiner, there are plenty of exciting freelance options in this gig economy.

So, where do you belong? Let us help you figure that out. It’ll be fetch!

2024 Here We Come!

As we head into the final weeks of 2023, I think we are all happy to see what 2024 has in store. As always, sideways markets can be challenging to navigate, but challenging times drive new thinking, fresh innovation, and give us time to develop new collaborations. I am thankful for the new muscles we needed to develop in order to thrive in 2023. So many of the conversations this year revolved around how we were all adapting to so many new normals. I have to think the accumulation of everyone stepping up is moving us all along and will pay off in 2024 and beyond.

Happy Holidays,


Photo by moren hsu on Unsplash



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Ciera is a born-and-raised Duluthian who recently graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When she isn’t designing the Salmela website or sending emails, she doubles as an actress! With over 15 years of acting experience, Ciera brings her creative artistry and understanding of people to her work at Salmela.

Madison is a marketing maven with a mastery of magnificent messaging. She brightens every room with her positive attitude and joins Salmela to explore the digital corners on every search. If you’re having a first conversation with one of us, Madison is probably the reason why!

Ryan is an Emmy-award winning news producer with a strong history in the performing arts. Funny and outgoing, he’ll meet you with a journalist’s curiosity and actor’s joie de vivre.

Meghan brings her previous advertising agency experience to Salmela. She is a natural-born conversationalist and delights in every interaction with candidates and clients alike. Meghan can find something in common or a shared interest with just about anyone. (No really, it’s AMAZING.) She is also a foodie, loves cooking, and is always looking for the next opportunity to try an adventurous recipe.

Kate joins Salmela after a decade of non-profit arts leadership, where she shared her passion for building community, education, inclusiveness, and arts access. Her superpower is helping professionals identify their strengths and set them on a course for greater success. After work, she can be found reading Shakespeare, doing yoga, or prepping the next generation of theatre stars for college.

Cory spends his day advising senior leaders on talent acquisition strategy. He is happiest on his bike, skis, or helping his daughters rehearse lines. He began his career as a National Team Coach for the U.S. Ski Biathlon Team, followed by experience in pharma sales. In 2005, he founded Salmela. Today, Salmela places leaders across the healthcare industry. Salmela is the go-to vendor across marcomm disciplines in healthcare and beyond.

Chief Financial Officer, Olympian, and Health Coach, what can’t she do? When Kara is not managing the Salmela Financials, she spends her days educating and supporting people as a health coach. If that wasn’t cool enough, she also competed as an American biathlete at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

Megan focuses on individual career wellness and team development for the healthcare advertising industry. As a natural networker, and with a career background in health/wellness and international corporate project management, Megan has the experience necessary to understand your needs. She enjoys being outside with her family, volunteering in the community, trail running and practicing yoga.

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