Like many women, Rachel Anevski had the ultimate and often inevitable realization: She had become her mother.
When she decided to found Matters of Management, a Wayne-based staffing and consulting company specializing in talent acquisition and the growth and development of executives and organizations, she had become a working mom, juggling her business while helping to raise her children.
“My mother was a business owner, but I never thought of her like that,” Anevski said. “I just thought she was a workaholic who worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as a medical transcriptionist with her own typing business on the side.”
Anevski, however, is taking the concept of being a working mom one step further. Most of her contracted employees are women who left their full-time jobs to raise their children, but are eager to utilize their skills and stay in the workplace, she said.
“We lose so many intelligent women simply because we won’t let them work when they want to work,” she said. “My company is staffed with (parents) at home, some of whom have done recruiting before, some of who haven’t, some of who have coached or not, but all who are industry experts.”
It’s important to her that Matters of Management, or M.O.M., utilizes the talents of executive women who, for one reason or another, struggled with their career after having children.
“I’ve seen women who don’t go back to work when their children are young and then have a hard time re-entering the workforce when their kids are in grade school. I purposely went right back to work when my kids were young to be able to be home for them now, when they are remembering me interacting with their lives,” Anevski said.
Matters of Management, for both Anevski and her staff, provides both a financially sound and flexible lifestyle — one many are applying for.
What’s the buzz?
The abstract logo for Matters of Management (m2) was purposefully designed to mimic the tattoo of the bumblebee Rachel Anevski got during her first job in adult home services.
“I watched people with disabilities overcome odds, much like bees — which are aerodynamically incorrect — overcome theirs in order to fly,” she said. “I want to create that for organizations, for them to think of me and this company as partners for life, helping them to overcome their odds.”
Cardenas Grant, a minority- and woman-owned public relations firm in Philadelphia, designed the logo for Matters of Management.
“I tell women, ‘Here is an opportunity for you to partner with Matters of Management while working from (wherever) you want, at any time you want. All you need is your laptop and you’re good to go,’ ” Anevski said.
For Anevski, it all makes sense in the modern-day workforce.
“You are still as intelligent as you were before you had children or had to take care of your grandmother or whatever situation it is that has come your way that doesn’t work with a 9 to 5,” she said. “You can still make money.”
# # #
Anevski hadn’t always planned on being an entrepreneur — in fact, her plan was always changing.
After putting herself through the John Jay College of Criminal Justice by hosting karaoke and singing with an oldies group, Anevski earned her Bachelor of Arts in forensic psychology in 1999.
Her first job with Allegro Adult Services — which she ended up being so good at that she was promoted to director of residential services within a year — required her to work with people with disabilities while creating policies, procedures and team-building opportunities.
“I also had to understand how the state works, how management works and how goals work,” Anevski said.
But when her wedding night in Las Vegas was interrupted by a summer of rolling blackouts back in New Jersey, she realized she needed more structure.
“I was standing in an airport with my dress draped over my arm with two cell phones and two pagers trying to make sure there was enough food in all of the freezers for the group homes,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t be 24/7 anymore.”
Anevski left the nonprofit world in 2003 in order to decrease her workload by two-thirds while making the same amount of money as a scheduling coordinator for Smolin Lupin & Company, a public accounting firm in Fairfield.
“Three months in, I wrote a staffing plan and discussed with the managing partner how to grow the company,” Anevski said.
That move — plus becoming certified in professional human resources — helped promote her to human resources director and double her salary after she had been there a year.
When she was promoted to director of human capital in 2009, however, her compensation remained the same.
“People often asked me, ‘Are you a partner?’” Anevski said. “I was perceived as doing everything partners did, plus mentoring the assistant controller, overseeing the office manager, all of human resources, marketing and business development, etc.”
Anevski was told that in order to become a partner, she would have to bring in $1 million of new business — almost triple what a certified public accountant without her management responsibilities was bringing in at the time.
Not to be deterred, Anevski earned her master’s degree in organizational behavior from Fairleigh Dickinson University; earned a Lead New Jersey fellowship in 2012; and developed a billable practice for herself developing the infrastructure, human resources and marketing for other companies.
“I essentially became a profit center for Smolin,” she said.
Despite the strong mentorship and support in her career growth that Anevski received at Smolin — a firm she said “actively promotes women and those with families” — she felt she had accomplished enough in her pursuit to make partner to start her own firm in April 2013.
“My boss and mentor would always say to me, ‘What is the one thing you are always selling? Yourself.’”
# # #
One day, it dawned on Anevski that entrepreneurship may always have been the better fit for her.
“I worked on maternity leave with my first child (Nathaniel in 2005). When I had my second child (Caden in 2008), I took my work home with me,” she said. “I was dialed in. I did not want to miss a beat because I was so afraid that the people I had trained would take over my role.”
The irony in the acronym of her new company, Matters of Management, served as an important reminder:
“M.O.M. — I realized (it) right away,” Anevski said.
Not only would that shape Anevski’s hiring preferences, it would shape the organization and purpose of her multifaceted talent acquisition and strategic growth company.
“If (an employee) leaves on short-term disability, such as maternity leave, we can provide interim staffing for high-level roles,” she said. “That person doesn’t need to fear losing their job and the company doesn’t need to pool resources to cover that position.”
That innovative idea would soon resonate with 35 clients in Anevski’s first year of business — but not soon enough.
“I was developing my business at home while building my house when the bank told me our loan wouldn’t be approved until I had a job,” she said.
Biz in brief
Company: Matters of Management (m2)
Employees: Five to seven independent contractors at any given time
Financials: Undisclosed — under $1 million in revenue.
One more thing: “I was sitting with an accountant at (Smolin Lupin), having started to understand the business of accounting and realizing how they were able to make so much money at an hourly rate,” Rachel Anevski said. “I said, you and I can partner when I leave and create this company called Matters of Management. We talked about it for a minute, but it always stayed with me. … That was 13 years ago. He left the firm to become a chief financial officer. I saw him a year ago, and when he asked me what I was doing, I said, I did it. I started the company.”
In order to obtain “proper” employment, Anevski approached Citrin Cooperman, a public accounting firm in Livingston.
“I said, ‘I have a consulting and executive coaching business, but I can develop business for you,’ ” she said. “They didn’t mind that I had my own business as long as I didn’t exercise the staffing agency portion due to their own staffing practice.”
Anevski worked for the firm as director of business relationships for a year before her business was officially up and moving in 2014.
Citrin Cooperman, of course, became her first accounting firm client.
# # #
Today, Matters of Management has 70 clients consisting of private companies with five employees all the way up to large firms, such as the accounting firm CohnReznick with offices in Princeton and Roseland.
“I have made more money doing this than ever before,” Anevski said.
She and her team not only provide growth strategy (i.e., mergers and acquisitions, leadership changes, strategic marketing development, organizational infrastructural development); human resources consulting (i.e., employee relations issues, job descriptions, employee manuals); and executive coaching (i.e., succession management, leadership initiative development, overcoming obstacles), but also talent acquisition within the professional services community (i.e., accountants, lawyers, engineers, executive operational roles).
“I created a 12-week onboard program that helps acclimate experienced hires into their new companies,” Anevski said.
For example, if Matters of Management places a certified public accountant in a firm, the company will partner with an at-home or former CPA to help walk the candidate through the program.
The five to seven independent contractors who work with Matters of Management — on an unheard-of 50/50 split — can therefore act either as virtual recruiters or experts in their field.
“Right now, they are all based in New Jersey, but they do not need to be exclusive to New Jersey due to the virtual nature of the job,” Anevski said.
Currently, Matters of Management employs two women specific to marketing, one woman specific to human resources, one woman specific to legal, one man specific to manufacturing and one woman specific to organizational administration.
“It’s really important to me to help find people jobs in which they can love what they do,” Anevski said. “We also take on fewer clients so that we can really match people perfectly. We don’t take on every company that wants us to recruit for them because I never want to place someone that wants to leave.”
While Anevski would like to add up to 30 new clients over the next six months, she said her workload is personally at capacity.
“Therefore, I have no option but to grow,” she said.
Back in the game
Alex Pasckvale spent 12 years as an account coordinator for Keating Public Relations in Florham Park and senior marketing coordinator for OSG Billing in Englewood.
When her two kids reached school age, Pasckvale needed more flexibility.
Rachel Anevski, CEO and president of Matters of Management, hired Pasckvale as an independent contractor last December to assist with, coach and recruit for marketing.
NJBIZ spoke with Pasckvale about being a working-from-home mom:
What was it that brought you to Matters of Management, and how has it helped you maintain a more flexible lifestyle?
When I met Rachel, she offered me an opportunity to use my strong marketing skills while also setting my own work schedule. Timing was critical, too. My husband had just started his own mortgage company, and I wanted to contribute to our household finances during the start up. I am also able to balance volunteer commitments and be a part of my children’s school and community activities. When I came across Rachel’s ad, it presented a great compromise; I can make my own hours — working before kids wake up, while they are in school, after bedtime. m2 helped me get back into the workforce.
Does the company’s setup hinder your ability to grow professionally?
I’ve enjoyed recruiting and executing marketing initiatives for m2. Rachel has put her trust in me to deliver a marketing strategy to grow the company. She has pointed me to resources to build my knowledge of the accounting industry. Even though we aren’t in an office together, we can communicate easily over email or phone.
# # #
Anevski has hit her stride finding both a balanced lifestyle and fast-paced career — at least one that works for her.
“Yesterday, I was the acting director of marketing for a firm in South Jersey, having initially started there as a consultant developing their growth strategy,” she said. “Today, I am virtually coaching the entire executive team at a manufacturing company in human resources and communication; writing a growth strategy report for a company in Brooklyn; volunteering my time helping a (nonprofit) get a grant; managing 250 open staffing positions; and coaching my children’s soccer games.”
Somehow, in the midst of all that, Anevski also finds time to serve on the corporate advisory board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Jersey and also on the boards of the Association for Accounting Administration and Sound of Gol, an organization that gives inner city girls the opportunity to play soccer and travel for community service.
“Balance is really personal. I’m OK with the ebb and flow of things not being in perfect order,” she said.
Her career with Matters of Management, she said, while always busy, is fulfilling and flexible enough for her to be the happiest and healthiest she’s ever been.
“I love that this business allows me to help other people do what they love while also giving me the time and flexibility to coach a great soccer team and watch my kids play baseball,” she said. “I want to be in my children’s lives; I don’t want to simply be a spectator.”
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @megfry3