Advocating for Maryland’s diverse LGBT community
Betsy Cerulo is the CEO of AdNet AccountNet, Inc, as well as the president of the newly launched Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Based in Baltimore, AdNet is an 8(a) management consulting firm that advocates for workplace equality and helps connect candidates and contractors to opportunities at regional organizations. Throughout her career, Betsy has served on numerous regional and national inclusion-focused organizations, including the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Presidents’ Educational Organization Certification Committee, the NGLCC Federal Procurement Group, the Development Committee for Chase Brexton Health Services, and the LGBT Health Resource Center Advisory Board. Earlier this year, she teamed up with Dave Imre, CEO of Imre, to create Maryland’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
OFFIT KURMAN: Can you describe AdNet’s unique approach to management consulting?
BETSY CERULO: AdNet is a very different workplace. In addition to focusing on the exemplary service, I focus on the people. I have a master’s in integrative health science. I pursued that training because I wanted to understand the human body. Since we spend so much of our time in the workplace, I wanted to make sure how people were wired, starting with myself, and how I could make the workplace a richer place, a better place, since we have to spend so much time [here].
We have a different environment and it’s not for everyone. Everybody brings in their past work experiences—sometimes biases, dysfunctions—and I have people come in with a clean slate, and there’s a lot of communication. But where AdNet is in 2017? Employees really appreciate it that we have open and honest conversations while we are giving our clients outstanding service, and it takes a lot of focus to do what we do—to find good people—so you have to make sure that your internal staff and your internal surroundings are free from the things that get in the way of having you be the best that you can be in the workplace. And that might sound corny but I try to take away the distractions as much as I can. I can’t necessarily take the distractions that come along with cell phones, technology—that type of stuff—but I try to work with the staff to make sure we take away the distractions that we bring in from the outside.
What drives you to advocate for workplace equality and excellence?
There are a lot of things that drive me. I have to say that in my day job with AdNet: finding people work, putting people in jobs; from an executive search standpoint, having people progress in their fields and become leaders in organizations—that drives me. Everything you talk about now—well, almost everything we talk about now politically—has something to do with jobs: unemployment; What’s the most popular job sector out there? How can we transition skills and make them portable into the up-and-coming sectors? Everything revolves around jobs, because if you don’t have a job you can’t do the things that you want—you can’t put your kids in school.
From an AdNet perspective, it’s extremely passionate for me that I continue to have a thriving company that puts people to work in the federal government, in the corporate space—put them in jobs that matter. Someone—let’s say, a staff accountant—that may not sound very interesting to someone who’s a CFO of a company, but that CFO started out as a staff accountant. We work with people at the beginning stages of their career, and often those people, as they progress, become our clients. That’s the greatest compliment—when someone comes back to you as a client and says, “Can you help me build my team?”
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