85 Broads Member Spotlight: Ruth Ross

November 13 2013

This week's member spotlight shines on Ruth Ross, President of R Squared Resources, consultant, coach and speaker.

Ruth's keen insights into one of the most crucial components of your business success - human resources - is a culmination of a 30 year career and several personal experiences. With a forthcoming book and a thriving business, we were fortunate to have Ruth take the time out of her day to give this interview.

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Officially I’m a thought leader, speaker and (soon to be) author on the subject of employee disengagement and re-engagement. Unofficially, I’m a recovering corporate addict who finally broke away from a 30-year career as a successful senior human resources executive when I had my ‘face-in-the-mirror’ moment and diagnosed my own bout of employee disengagement. I’m so lucky to be able to use my credibility as an expert in this field along with the authenticity I bring to the table given my own experiences to help others to re-engage and re-invigorate their careers. 

What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?

My biggest challenge spanned over twenty years. During this time I was bullied at work by four different bosses and yet managed to not only rise above it, but also to thrive in my career and achieve much success, in spite of the toxic work environment. I have spent a lot of time mentoring and coaching other people going through a similar situation and am glad that I can give back this way. No one should ever have to be subjected to this kind of treatment - in the workplace, at school, the locker room, or anywhere!

What was your biggest career breakthrough moment?  

In 1996 I made the decision to move to San Francisco for my career when I was offered a great new opportunity and it turned out to be the best move my husband and I could have made. It was scary to leave New York - where I had built up a solid reputation in my field and had a huge network of colleagues and friends - to a city where we only knew a few people. I ended up working for two outstanding companies and accomplished a number of my career and financial goals. Now San Francisco is where I’ve launched my business. 

Finish this sentence, “I knew I had made it” when…. 

In September my work on employee engagement was featured in Forbes.com, which has led to a number of opportunities. It was so exciting the day it came out to see the article in print, but more important to me was the reaction I had from people after they read the article who told me how impactful it was for them as they reflected on their own work situation. 

If you could go back and talk to your younger self (before your career really began), what professional advice would you give her?

I would absolutely tell her about the power of networking and building relationships. I have always made it a priority to do this in my work and it definitely has paid dividends for me along the way. I would also suggest to her that they should never be afraid to ask for a mentor and eventually a sponsor.  One of my greatest joys looking back on my career is the value I got out of being both a mentee and a mentor. I learned so much from those relationships that I still refer back to today. 

What is your secret to success? 

I never gave up, even in the face of some tough and frustrating times. I know that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I’m meant to be doing today and that the journey to eventually get here was worth it. I’m able to stand up and authentically tell others what it’s like to be disengaged and ultimately re-engage yourself in order to live a happier life. 

Why are you a member of 85 Broads?

I get energized by other successful women and being able to share and learn from each other. The women I have met through 85 Broads are all accomplished and I look forward each time we have an event to meet someone new and see how we can help each other.

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