As Crossroads Career ministry moves forward, let’s look back at God’s faithfulness in writing His Story in our history. The ministry was first birthed in the hearts of three people – Betsy McCall, Whit Blakeley, and Brian Ray.
From Crossroads Career Services Founder – Betsy McCall
Fishing for People Almost 30 Years
There was no denying the unhappiness and lack of fulfillment I was feeling in my job. I was a woman in a man’s world selling capital equipment to paper mills and manufacturers of plastic products.
I had wanted to be an outside sales person for this manufacturer’s rep firm but soon after I left the confines of functioning as the office manager and handling inside sales I realized I was out of my element. I had genuinely wanted the challenge and to prove that I could be successful doing outside sales. I was successful but the dissatisfaction with my job began to grow more and more. I had to figure out what it was that I wanted to do that would bring me enjoyment in my career and to quiet the voices in my head that were pointing me towards more personally meaningful work.
I was introduced to a book called What Color Is Your Parachute? Contained within that book was an outline of exercises to complete that would help me determine what I might be good at doing. I had to write down the things in my life that were enjoyable for me; the things I felt I had accomplished. I had to talk to people about what they observed I was good at doing. When I completed the exercises, the results pointed toward doing something in the area of human resources … possibly recruiting.
From Sales to Recruiting
I explored and researched the world of recruiting and decided to leave the manufacturer’s rep firm where I had been working for several years. I was not happy doing what I was doing. It wasn’t meaningful to me. It wasn’t making a difference in people’s lives. I wanted to be helpful to others and to help them find enjoyment in their work. The idea for Crossroads Placement Service was researched, born and officially started on June 9, 1986.
Crossroads Placement Service eventually became Crossroads Consultants because of expanded human resources services it was providing. It helped Christians find jobs within Christian organizations and Christian organizations seek candidates who were compatible with the culture of their organization and the jobs they were looking to fill. I contacted Christian businessmen working in Christian organizations that I already knew through other connections to see if they would be interested in me locating (at a reasonable cost) individuals who would “fit” the culture of their organizations and had the skills they needed to fill their open positions. Some of these organizations signed onto the concept right away … businesses, churches, non-profit organizations! Churches in the Atlanta area were willing to advertise Crossroads to their congregations. Calls started coming in from individuals who wanted to work for Christian organizations and more calls came from organizations needing placement help.
A new entity, Crossroads Career Services, was born on October 19, 1987 at a time when I realized that I needed help to handle the growth rate of Crossroads Consultants. In just over a year, we had received approximately 2,500 calls from potential candidates and over 100 calls from Christian employers needing help. Crossroads had been able to place 40 individuals into various jobs with Christian employers.
While Crossroads was gaining momentum, unbeknownst to me, two things were happening. Fellowship of Companies for Christ already was trying to match Christians who were sending their resumes to them with positions that were open in their member organizations. And in January 1986, Brian Ray, then director of human resources for Chick-fil-A, prepared and presented a proposal to the Board of Directors for Fellowship of Companies for Christ to assist the abundance of candidates who could not all be hired by Chick-fil-A to possibly find places of employment with other FCCI member companies.
From Crossroads to Primus and Reisa
FCCI ultimately decided to ask Whit Blakely, who owned Atlanta Outplacement Counseling Center, to explore a business plan to combine his outplacement services with an organization that could match Christian candidates and Christian employers. I had recently been introduced to a few individuals at FCCI, and they suggested to Whit that he contact me to see if we could combine Crossroads Consultants and the Atlanta Outplacement Counseling Center. I thought the time was right for this to occur because of my need for help. We launched Crossroads Career Services in October, 1987.
After a year or so of operations, it was clear that the combining of the two entities was not compatible, and Crossroads Career Services went dormant. I began working for Brian Ray’s retained search firm. After six years, I learned how to be successful in retained search work and in October 1995, I formed my own firm, The Reisa Group. Brian contracted with me to continue doing search work, plus other new clients came on board.
What began as an idea that God planted 30 years ago now still exists in the services offered by The Reisa Group. After a number of years of Crossroads remaining dormant, Brian Ray put forth the effort to reorganize as Crossroads Career Network and is once again helping individuals to find meaningful employment.
The Reisa Group continues to offer a smorgasbord of search services that clients can choose from …. writing position descriptions and fliers, writing and placing ads, screening resumes, interviewing candidates, referencing and initiating background checks. The majority of its clients are Christian owned and operated businesses or Christian non-profit organizations. For more information about Betsy McCall and The Reisa Group, visit www.reisagroup.com.
Perhaps you are a pastor, volunteer in the ministry or a person seeking guidance? We’d love to read your part in God’s work in and through Crossroads Career ministries. Please leave a reply below…