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Celebrating 21 years of growth and recruiting with a smile


Ready to return home after time abroad and in Sydney, Sally Bartley was recruited by mentor and director of Richardson Recruitment Beulah O’Hara in 2001.

Little did she know that more than two decades later, she would continue to walk through the same doors with a big smile.

In 2007, Sally and her co-director Ali Kimmorley purchased Richardson Recruitment, entering into a new business venture that would change the recruitment scene.

This is where peoplefusion was born.

Fast forward to 2022 and Sally is celebrating her 21-year anniversary working alongside Ali and the team she helped proudly build in Newcastle.

She attributes the success of her career to the people who have surrounded and supported her, which includes her family, team, business partners and loyal and amazing clients which have often become mentors and friends.

“I feel so lucky that Ali and I have been able to successfully run a business together while also remaining great friends,” Sally said.

“We still go on annual holidays together with our families and laugh and smile every day we walk through the door, which can sometimes fade when you work as business partners.

“Luckily for us, the bond has remained strong.”

Sally still loves what she does every day – mainly due to the people she gets to work with.

Meeting them, hearing their stories and coaching them to think about different ways they can apply their skill set is what drove her to be a passionate leader within her industry sector two decades ago, and still inspires her today.

“One thing I can say I am most proud of, is when I walk into an organisation, look around the office and see so many people who have built fabulous careers and allowed me to be part of that,” she said.

“I feel pleased to know that I have helped so many businesses grow over the years and people flourish in their careers.”

Working as a recruitment specialist and a successful business owner can come with its challenges, too.

Sally has learnt to focus on what she can control and the way she responds so she gets situations back on track and find the right outcomes for all involved.

She’s seen many changes throughout her working life, starting with the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) to the mining downturn and now the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout this, Sally has learned to step forward positively and support those around her, focusing on the things she can do to impact change in a positive way.

“The biggest lesson I have learnt over the years is to not fall into the emotion of every situation,” she explained.

“Instead, hone in on the areas I can influence and move the situation a step forward in a positive way to support all involved.”

Over 21 years it is safe to say the major change in the industry has been the introduction of technology.

“We used to have green card boxes with candidates’ names,” she said.

“We now live in a fully-automated cloud-based environment.

“Being able to have video chat helps us to promote our clients’ jobs in a very competitive market.”

Sally knows that over the next decade there will be even more changes coming their way, but her main goal is for peoplefusion is to remain relevant, continue to add value to their business clients and candidates, and provide a professional platform for her and Ali’s loved and valued team.

“We know working with challenges is part and parcel of being in recruitment,” she said.

“But, being able to continue delivering our services while also thinking of different ways we can do things better to get our clients and candidates the outcomes they deserve is the number one goal.”

Talk of an early retirement is not in her plans either.

Even after 21 years, Sally is still honoured that people in the community trust her to guide them to their next role or build their business team.

“I love what I do because I get to talk to different people every day,” she said.

“To be able to meet people, help business owners and team leaders grow their teams is why I come to work.”

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