Vicki Pfeifer has a passion for giving back. From her military service to her volunteer commitments, she has helped make the world a better place. Now the power of connectivity has led her to serve her community as a member of the recruitment team at Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU).
Vicki joined the Air National Guard before college, working one weekend each month and active duty each summer until graduation. She then balanced various human resources roles in both her civilian life and 24-year military career. She was a training manager in her enlisted role before being selected to be an officer and rising to the rank of major. Vicki shares, “In my officer roles, I was a commander of student flight, where I helped about 30 youth prepare for basic training. I also ran the division of diversity and inclusion, teaching courses and managing that office.” In her civilian career, Vicki managed recruitment, hiring, and employee relations for Northwestern University; she worked her way up to consulting manager before becoming an at-home parent to her first child. Later, Vicki moved to New Hampshire, had her second child, and retired from the military.
Never one to stay still for long, Vicki opened her own photography business and took a class in social media, then dedicated her time and new skills to a plethora of volunteer opportunities. She has helped grant wishes for a dozen children through Make-a-Wish Foundation NH, works with a ministry team at a local residential program making connections with teens by participating in fun activities together, and volunteers her photography services to a team that supports and empowers children of abuse, neglect, and trauma placed in foster care. As a former volunteer coordinator at an organization for families experiencing homelessness, Vicki also helped manage their website and social media. She encouraged her daughter and son to give back to the community as well, setting up kid-entrepreneur businesses for each that generated donations for cancer research and the Fisher House Foundation, which offers military families a free place to stay while a loved one is in the hospital.
In early 2023, Vicki was ready to rejoin the workforce. Her younger child, whom she was homeschooling, was nearly finished with high school and beginning the college application process. “He was preparing to go off into the world, so it was time to think about my goals and what I might like to do,” she says. “I wrote down an affirmation: it’s going to be part time, have flexibility, and utilize my skills and my resources. I want to give back and I want it to be important work. I just need to start somewhere.”
Searching online for human resources jobs, Vicki called Leddy Group “absolutely randomly,” and Regional Director Amber Payne answered the phone. “I told Amber I was looking for something part time, and she said we don’t have many jobs like that, but talking with you, I think you’d be a good fit for WOU.” When Amber explained WOU’s mission of removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities, Vicki was hooked. Amber says, “From our first conversation, it was clear to me that Vicki wanted to impact lives in a positive way. The special thing about Vicki is that a lot of people say that, but Vicki means it. She has a wonderful positive energy that allows her to connect and build trust with people quickly.”
Vicki met with Susannah Chance, Senior VP of Human Resources, and was thoroughly impressed with WOU’s approach to hiring: “After all these years in human resources, hiring hundreds of people and looking at thousands of resumes, this is the first organization I’ve ever been to where the message was, ‘We hire a person that’s a good fit, and then we go from there.’ I’ve never felt that energy.” With her incredible skills and commitment to service, Vicki would succeed in multiple roles at WOU. Susannah recommended two different options for her to pursue: Career Resource Specialist (CRS) and Recruiter.
Vicki loved her field interview for the CRS role, but the Recruiter position would accommodate her commitment to homeschooling her son, so she happily joined the recruitment team. Her responsibilities include prescreening and conducting initial interviews with CRS candidates. “I look for a good match for WOU, if this person might fit within our culture. Very similar to the way I came on board, is how we hire for these roles as well,” says Vicki. “I absolutely love my job! It’s amazing.”
She also loves that her manager, Director of Recruiting Stacey Plamondon, lives by the philosophy that Vicki describes as, “How do you fit for us, and how do we fit for you?” Vicki says, “I don’t think I could work for a better person than Stacey. She sees us as people with lives and as part of the WOU family, and she wants to support us so that we can be the very best recruitment team that we can be for WOU.” Stacey says, “We are so appreciative that Amber referred Vicki to our recruitment team at WOU. When I met Vicki for the first time, I knew she would be a great fit for our organization. Since starting with us in May, she has made a great impact on our recruitment efforts. Candidate feedback has been nothing but positive, speaking about how kind, thorough, and knowledgeable she is. We are excited that Vicki chose to join our team.”
Vicki is thrilled to continue her zest for life at WOU: “I love that the organization sees me holistically as a person and wants to see all the different ways I can grow. I’ve been so impressed.” When she shared an interest in offering her photography skills to WOU, Stacey connected her with Owner Mary Leddy. “I’m pursuing ways to support the marketing group through videography,” says Vicki. “I’ve been wanting to do that! I would love to jump in. That’s my personality – if there is a need, I’ll try it.” Vicki is so grateful that she called Leddy Group that day, saying, “The power of connectivity within WOU and Leddy Group has been impactful. Right at the forefront of me coming into the organization, Amber looked way outside of the box and initiated a conversation. That conversation changed my life in such a positive way.”