Dawn Fay and Billie Watkins Receive Inaugural Award by The New York Business Journal
The fortune of being in an environment where I’m able to learn and grow each day while also being given the freedom to share ideas and feel supported by my team is definitely not lost on me. Nothing is more inspiring to an aspiring C-level female professional than being surrounded by smart, sharp and innovative leadership at her company. But when two of those leaders are female and they’re recognized for it, it’s almost too much to handle.
This December, Dawn Fay, district president for Robert Half and Billie Watkins, district president for Robert Half Legal were each named winners of The New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence Awards.
For nineteen years, Dawn has been moving up the ranks – and around the country – with Robert Half as the only constant. With a background as a financial analyst, Dawn had laid the groundwork for success and now oversees the Professional Staffing divisions for Robert Half. Just observing Dawn at work, you’ll see resolve, dedication and determination personified. She is constantly on top of her game, yet still finds the time to ask you about your weekend. She’s a professional in every sense of the word, and it’s proven in the way that her team and colleagues look to her for insights and advice.
When I asked Dawn how she felt about being honored as a Woman of Influence, she said “I’m very proud to be an honoree of the Women of Influence award, and in such good company – especially alongside Billie Watkins, who has been a wonderful colleague over the years. I love what I do each day and being recognized for it is just icing on the cake.”
Then, somewhat selfishly, I asked Dawn what she feels is the key to longevity and success in one’s career, “As I was developing my career, I always looked to business leaders and my network for what I could learn from them. Now that I’ve come this far, I realize that having a clear professional path and absorbing as much as you can from professionals you admire is invaluable to your success. There really isn’t a magic formula – the truth is, when you love what you do and you put the work in, the end result can be wonderful.” I guess she just makes it look easy!
Billie Watkins joined Robert Half Legal in 2006, ten years after receiving her JD and working with the Louisiana Department of Justice. Before I even got to work with Billie, I’d heard words from colleagues like “powerhouse” and “dynamo” when referring to her – but it’s hard to really know until you see it for yourself.
Don’t quote me on this, but I don’t think even Billie knows the last time she was in one place for any extended period of time – she’s typically taking media interviews on her way to the airport or answering my phone calls as she’s boarding a plane – I get exhausted just hearing about her schedule. But you don’t get as successful as she is by not being productive! Billie has also served multiple roles with Robert Half Legal, from Chicago where she ran Central US and Canadian operations, to New York where she is now overseeing Northeast Operations. And, between her many responsibilities, Billie finds time to craft leadership blogs on topics like the effective management of legal teams and lends her own time and expertise to being a mentor.
I asked Billie about how it felt to be recognized, here’s what she had to say: “When I heard about with The New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence award, I was thrilled! I am fortunate to be surrounded by such great teams, colleagues and leadership every day and being selected and recognized with so many other admirable recipients, is an honor. I was especially happy to be celebrating in that success with my fellow Robert Half colleague, Dawn Fay.”
Naturally, I was curious about her innate ability to manage a stressful workload, Billie told me “In the workplace I hold myself as accountable as I expect my teams to be – the beauty of a team is that you don’t have to carry all of the responsibility on your own, but you must always uphold your end of the bargain. This thinking motivates me to ensure I put into practice all I’ve learned about time management (and always keeping detailed notes!) so I can get the job done.”
Who and what motivates you at work? Share your stories below!