Sprint Turns 15

Naomi Marshall

08 May 2020 | Naomi Marshall

Hip Hip Hooray! It’s been a special week for Sprint, we celebrated our 15th birthday! A milestone that a lot of people have said I should be very proud of.  Trust me, as I navigate the ups and downs of the Covid-19 crisis there has never been a time where I have held my head higher.

It’s been a time of positive reflection as I look back on all of the stories that have made this business what it is today. I thought I would share some of these with you, and invite you to join me on this continuing journey.

It was the end of April 2005 and the idea of ‘going out on my own’, as it was so aptly put back then, had been on my mind for a while. Starting a company was very foreign to me, having worked for a number of large organisations where I was sheltered from the true operations of how a company runs – but let’s not bogged down in the detail, after all how hard could it be right??!  Starting a business 101: create a name, check the domain name is free, register with ASIC, develop some sort of a brand identity.  With all the “easy” stuff (eyeroll) out of the way it was now time to start filling some jobs.

As I began to prepare my transition from employee to employer, I was handed a farewell gift from my recent boss.  He flatly decided he didn’t want to manage the ‘small’ number of temps I would be leaving.  As he operated purely as a perm recruiter, he gifted me the Temp Desk.  I was elated, and a little anxious (of course I didn’t let him know that!) – they had to be payrolled the following Monday. Looking back, I now know it was his way of giving an encouraging push out into the big wide world.  I was starting a company with NO money behind me, and I had just bought my first house and used everything for the mortgage, how the heck was I going to pull this off?

So there I was on day one, with 16 temps, no money in the bank and a payroll that was due in less than 7 days. NOTHING TO WORRY about here!

Push push, drive drive, focus focus.…and finally after 3 gruelling days, I placed my first candidate.  I ‘pleaded’ with the client to process the invoice well before the person started, he obliged and the money was in the account the next day – the Friday before payroll was due for my temps on the Monday. Phew.

From there Sprint was literally off and racing – pun intended.  From humble beginnings in our first office in Pitt St to a slightly larger workspace on George St, trust me, there were stories to tell along the way.

It was 2016 when the true Sprint HQ was created. A beautiful heritage listed building with timber floor boards, high ceilings and arch windows – privately managed by a woman in her 90’s. I was invited for high tea to be interviewed as a tenant for the building – how fitting – I grew up in the country so I’m the master of a 3 tier cake stand!

My vision would finally be realised. What we have now is a recruitment office that instils a sense of fun & playfulness while creating only positive experiences for our candidates. No reception (no-one should ever be kept waiting), chandeliers, hedges, internal garden walls, pink bunnies…lots of fun theming for the interview rooms: The Alice in Wonderland tea room, Marilyn Monroe’s dressing room and the latest addition, The New York Whiskey bar. We rolled the dog in, we threw open the doors and we engaged with our own personal touch in the recruitment process.  Who says recruitment can’t have an injection of colour and personality?!

Hundreds of friendships have been formed, jokes told, candidates have laughed/hugged us good bye/opened up to us, staff have danced and we have all shared in one big happy business family.

I have truly loved every day (and continue to), but of course there has also been stress.  I can clearly remember days when I was running so fast that I would have heart palpitations – every recruiter knows the feeling when EVERYTHING is urgent and needs attention right at that very second!  True growth doesn’t come without some level of failure.  I can confidently say I’ve done many things right and made many excellent decisions, but I have also made my fair share of mistakes. You can only learn from them and keep moving forward.

We’ve gone through a GFC, had outstanding quarters followed by terrible months, experienced lucky strikes and set back after setback, worked long hours, hosted fun team events and now we are going through a pandemic.  It has been 15 years of a trillion different decisions on everything from pay-rates to website design and perfecting company processes….I am proud to say that I wouldn’t change a thing. Not one thing (well ok maybe this Covid situation could have ridden out a little differently) – have I mentioned we are pushing through a global pandemic???

Thank you to all of the amazing people I’ve met along the way. Past and present staff, candidates, clients, suppliers. I’ve lost count of the number of friendships and bonds formed. You have offered me the most memorable times in my career and I am forever grateful.

So let’s raise a virtual glass and say cheers to another 15 years ahead – Bring it on!

To honour this milestone celebration, I’ve unlocked the family vault and want to share my Nanna’s Chocolate Cake Recipe.  I’ve lost count of how many times our family has made this as it’s so quick and easy.

In a No-Covid World we would be having this for afternoon tea in the office to celebrate (who needs a reason?).  I’ve been holding onto the secret of what makes this so light but still decadent until now……it’s the vinegar!  Give it a try and let us know how it goes. I promise it’s fool-proof.

Nanna’s Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g butter – cut into pieces
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 ½ cups SR flour
  • ½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (white or brown, doesn’t matter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg

 

METHOD:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Put butter in a small bowl, add boiling water – leave to melt (doesn’t matter if there are still full butter pieces, it will all blend together with the beaters).
  • Sour milk with vinegar – stir to combine
  • Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Add butter & milk mixtures to dry ingredients. Add egg and vanilla.
  • Beat with either hand beaters or a mixer for 5-7 minutes until colour changes (becomes pale).
  • Pour into square or round cake tin (I use a 22cm square one as it’s easy to line with baking paper, two sheets across each other)
  • Cook for 50-60 mins.

Don’t worry if it forms a crack in the top. That’s standard.

Ice with chocolate icing – I use a mixture of sifted icing sugar (roughly 1-1/2 cups), cocoa (1 tablespoon) and usually a tablespoon (or a bit more of melted butter).  If it’s too dry I add milk, too runny just add more icing sugar and cocoa.

Stores for at least 5 days because it’s made on butter. However, mine never lasts that long!

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