Connect with Jada:

Jada Willis is a business owner, podcaster, author, and HR professional. When she’s not helping small businesses create scalable HR processes, Jada is usually listening to a podcast or spending quality couch time with her wife. When COVID isn’t a thing, she travels, enjoys the spa, and other adventures. Jada is passionate about being a problem-solver and helping others succeed.

Cool! We have a few questions…

What jobs did you have before you landed where you are today?

I’ve been working in Human Resources in some way, shape, or form since 2001. I started as an HR Intern at Ponderosa Steakhouse working for chicken wings and mashed potatoes. I begged an HR Director for a chance to learn. By 18 years old, I had participated in sexual harassment investigations, attended corporate strategic planning meetings, and interviewed and hired managers in 3 different states. I didn’t receive any money, but the experience was priceless. The chicken wings were pretty good, too! 

Prior to Willis HR, I have been a: 

  • Human Resources Business Partner
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Recruiting Specialist 
  • Target Store Manager
  • Server/Runner
  • Computer Lab Assistant 

I believe that every experience has led to Willis HR, an opportunity to help small business owners reach the goals that have previously been unobtainable. 

I have this passion for helping others. It’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

What do you wish outsiders knew about your job or industry? 

Everyone should know that, without the right HR partner, a company of any size is like a boat without a rudder. At Willis HR, our team is typically providing guidance, stabilizing or implementing new processes, and chartering the path for growth. A business has the greatest chance of succeeding and reaching its people, purpose, and profit goals with relevant HR systems. HR can be much more than just payroll, benefits, and filing.  

What’s the #1 question clients or customers ask you? 

Initially, our clients usually want to know how an outsourced HR firm can really get to know their company quickly and customize HR solutions. (That’s actually one of our strengths) 

Initially, our clients usually want to know how an outsourced HR firm can really get to know their company quickly and customize HR solutions. (That’s actually one of our strengths).

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned the hard way?

There are a few that I could list, but one worth sharing is that everyone isn’t a potential client. It’s okay to have an ideal client. 

Our ideal client has a true desire for an HR partner, sees the value of their employees, and has less than 50 employees. We build partnerships with our clients, and that’s how real results occur. This is our sweet spot. But, it took a little while to get to the point where we weren’t working with clients that just wanted to check a box. 

I have learned not to compromise my (our) values for money. We want to be a good fit for the right client. We even state on our website “We don’t say yes to every prospective client.” That’s one of the great perks of being an entrepreneur, the freedom to choose who you serve. As HR professionals, we terminate employees—it’s just the nature of our work. But, I naively didn’t think about the fact that I had to terminate clients. Ugh!  

What’s one book, podcast, series, or movie you’d recommend…and why?

I’m going to say, “The Big Leap.” Once someone operates in their zone of genius, lookout. This book helped me realize what a zone of excellence and zone of genius really was for my company and myself. It was life-changing. My fulfillment level went up and revenue increased!

What’s one way the SOCO community has shaped your life?

SOCO was the community that I searched Columbia for. A space to be a game-changing entrepreneur with vulnerabilities, mistakes, and insecurities. The members are insanely smart, generous, down-to-earth, and truly embrace others in the community. I’m thankful to be a part of it. 

What improvement do you hope to see in your own life in the next 12 months? 

I have learned that when I am taking care of myself and refilling my cup in the ways I need most, I am a better HR, leader, wife, daughter, friend, and stranger. I am structuring my morning routine and self-care to be able to fully make a positive impact on the lives I get to interact with on a daily basis.