Photos & Video by Ryan Stopera
Meet Kelly Rietow, the leader behind Roo Solutions—one of the 12 values-driven businesses that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to change our collective story for the better. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 14, which they will match dollar for dollar.
All About Roo Solutions:
Roo Solutions provides “HR When You Need It” for nonprofits and small businesses. That means offering simple solutions, peace of mind, and most importantly, the gift of time back to busy executive directors and business owners. “When leaders have an experienced, practical human resources partner to guide them, they can focus on leading and fulfilling the mission of their organization,” says owner Kelly Rietow. “And when staff know that HR is a trusted resource, they can focus on doing the good work that furthers the mission.”
With every new client and interaction, Roo learns more about the challenges facing our communities and values the ability to contribute, in a small way, to furthering inclusion and equity in our communities. Kelly contributes to that work in a big way: she’s on the advisory board of Girls Taking Action, she’s the Board Chair for Project Pathfinder, and an avid supporter of Costumers for a Cause. And though she describes her path to starting Roo Solutions as becoming “an accidental entrepreneur,” she hasn’t looked back.
POLLEN: What are some of the biggest challenges in being a small business owner?
No surprise here, but work/life balance can be a challenge. When business is strong, you work on Friday night and Sunday afternoon (and yes, also on Saturday). When business is slower, you have the opportunity to refocus on marketing, research, and product development. Over 10 years I have become much more comfortable with the financial ups and downs. Paying myself a modest, consistent salary helps maintain a sense of normalcy regardless of revenue ups and downs.
POLLEN: What’s the culture of your team, and how have you worked to build and reinforce that culture?
Roo likes being “small” and has no desire to have a large staff or provide cookie cutter services. With just a small handful of trusted partners and subcontractors, we can maintain intimate, trusting relationships with long-term clients. We believe that simple is better and we ensure that any solutions recommended fit the organization’s culture and business model.
We focus on doing the work that we love that also adds value to the client. If a client doesn’t need us anymore, we will tell them. In the earlier years, it was difficult to say “no” to a client that wasn’t a good match for Roo’s services. Today, we are much more likely to part ways with a client early on that isn’t a good match for our values or skill set.
POLLEN: Has your approach to connecting with community changed since you started your business? If so, how?
I don’t think our approach has changed. We are curious by nature and enjoy networking to learn about the work of other people and organizations in the sector.
POLLEN: What is your greatest source of pride in your work?
I am most proud that I have played a small part in launching four individuals into their professional HR careers. As an organization, Roo is most grateful for the opportunity to help so many organizations be successful in their HR practices, so that they can focus on their overall purpose.
Join Kelly: DONATE TO MATCH THE HIVE TODAY
Find Roo Solutions and give them an online hug for supporting Pollen.