‘The People Are the Best Part of the Business’: Dawn Fay, Operational President, Robert Half

By Robert Half on March 22, 2023 at 10:30am

Dawn Fay, pictured above, is an operational president at Robert Half. She leads Robert Half’s permanent and contract finance and accounting and administrative practice groups throughout the central United States and New York Tri-State region. The original version of this article was published in Half Times, the digital magazine for Robert Half employees.

Dawn Fay says the bonds she’s formed with her colleagues and clients during her 26 years at Robert Half have kept her loyal to the company and its mission. She enjoys diving into candidates’ backgrounds and stretching the definition of “what’s possible” for companies who come to Robert Half for talent solutions.

“The people are the best part of the business, plain and simple,” says Dawn. “At Robert Half, we impact communities in many ways — helping businesses hire the best people, helping people find careers and giving back. It’s an unbelievable circle we’re in.”

Dawn was promoted to her current role as operational president in October 2022. She has held several other high-profile leadership roles at our company, including regional director, district president and most recently, senior district president. That is a strong record of achievement for someone who says she first landed at Robert Half “sort of by mistake.”

In 1996, Dawn and her fiancé (now husband), Rick, were in a long-distance relationship and deciding where to live. Dawn was working as a financial analyst in New York City — but North Carolina’s biggest city, Charlotte, beckoned with its thriving banking center. A family friend, who worked at Robert Half’s Charlotte branch, invited Dawn to talk about the city.

Once she learned more about Charlotte, and Robert Half, Dawn says she was sold on the idea of a career change. She recalls being intrigued by the people she met and the prospect of making one-on-one connections every day at work. But she says it was Rick who ultimately convinced her to take the job.

“He said, ‘This is what you do anyway. You keep in touch with people. You connect people. You always help people do things,’” Dawn says.

A commitment to continuous learning — and mentoring others

Dawn likens her job at Robert Half to running her own business, but with the advantage of having access to decades of experience and robust resources in the talent solutions field.

“I’ve always been intrigued by business,” Dawn says. “Early in my career with Robert Half, I had exposure to such a variety of businesses, from mom-and-pop shops to large firms.”

She adds, “I’ve always been a people person, and I enjoy the team aspect at Robert Half. I love being in control of my own destiny. And our company culture affords me the ability to exercise my motivation and drive, and my passion for leading teams and learning something new every day.”

Known for her leadership, collaboration and charisma, Dawn has played a pivotal role in helping to shape Robert Half’s future as an organization by participating in company task forces focused on technology and flexible work. She’s also helped build the Robert Half brand as a national media spokesperson for the company.

Additionally, Dawn helped to launch the Global Women’s Employee Network (GWEN), one of Robert Half’s Employee Network Groups.

As driven and successful as Dawn is, she says she never forgets the importance of humility. She embraces a “rookie mentality” and always continues to learn. She’s also mentored others throughout her career through programs at Robert Half and the greater community.

Read Dawn’s tips for how to be a mentor in the workplace — and in life.

Looking forward to the next new chapter at Robert Half

Dawn says she’s as enthusiastic today about working at Robert Half as she was in 1996 when she stepped into her first role with our company in Charlotte. She looks forward to bringing teams together across geographies to share insights and experiences, cross-pollinating best practices, and embracing technology to help Robert Half continue to grow as a company.

“I’m excited about the new chapter,” Dawn says. “It’s one I didn’t see coming.”

Outside of work, Dawn is president of the Salvatore Family Foundation, which her late parents established to support various nonprofit organizations. She is also involved in the community through her work with organizations like the Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success and Upwardly Global. The New York Business Journal also recognized Dawn as a “Woman of Influence” in 2015.

In her free time, Dawn loves playing golf, spending time with friends and family, and rooting for the New York Rangers, New York Giants and New York Yankees. She also may be the No. 1 fan of The Boss.

“I’m the biggest Bruce Springsteen fan,” Dawn says. “I’ve seen him and his band on tour 86 times, and my goal is to get to 100. I’ll get there!”

Follow Dawn Fay on LinkedIn.

More From the Blog...