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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Fast-Track Career Matching Jobs and People

MTTeri Lindeberg is founder, president and CEO of the recruiting firm Staffwell.
Teri Lindeberg says what she means and knows what she's worth.

"If I lost it all tomorrow, it would be just fine," she said. "I'm a very talented business professional that could pick up and sell widgets and be successful. So I have no fears about life or anything."

Lindeberg, 37, is founder, president and CEO of Staffwell, a Moscow-based recruiting firm. Originally from Avon, Connecticut, she arrived in Moscow in 1996 from New York, looking for a new path in life. Already an accomplished saleswoman, she knew she had what it took to close deals but had not yet found a product that excited her. That all changed when she landed her first job in Moscow with recruitment firm Antal International, and the fires were stoked.

"With recruiting you get a lot of satisfaction," she said. "You're helping people find jobs. You're helping companies hire, which is a huge need that most of them have. And the market in Moscow is extremely dynamic, and in Russia in general."

After joining Antal, Lindeberg blossomed. Gaining a promotion every three months, she was on the fast track. She reached partner status within her first 10 months at the company and became Antal's first female, non-British national board member.

"Teri got her first break in recruitment with Antal just as the Russian market started to get really exciting," said Tremayne Elson, managing partner at Antal International.

"Her easygoing style made her popular immediately, and on top of this, she was also a great sales person and closer. A sign of Teri's personality and professionalism is that we still regularly meet up to discuss the market and trends. Our businesses are not really competing, so this helps."

With her workhorse attitude, Lindeberg eventually found herself managing nearly one-third of Antal's total turnover and made a name for herself within Moscow recruitment circles.

"I was a recruiter on their financial service team. That is where a lot of people in Moscow still know me from," Lindeberg said.

"I was their top performer ever in the company's history. I made them a lot of money in Russia."

But making money was not enough to keep her loyal to Antal. After more than three years with the company, she took a risk, something she finds comfort in doing, and went out on her own.

"Everyone in their career gets to a certain point where they have to develop," she said.

In 1999, the Internet was reinventing businesses all over the world, and Lindeberg had a vision for its role in Russia's recruitment market. She desperately wanted to be involved in the development of Antal's online business strategy, but despite her persistence, she was not given a seat at the table. As a result, in 2000 she founded Staffwell and immediately started connecting people online and in-person.

Staffwell takes a three-pronged approach to its corporate matchmaking -- traditional recruitment services, online recruitment, and career and corporate development. Lindeberg has aggressive growth plans to take Staffwell into the regions and beyond Russia.

Poised and sitting with her hands clasped behind a table in a colorless conference room, the auburn-haired Lindeberg asserts that drive, creativity, long hours and self-reliance have been key success factors. But her features soften and her laugh bellows when she talks about people -- clients, colleagues, friends and family. Lindeberg's no-nonsense approach to business is balanced by her sense of humor, which has carried her through some sticky situations.

"Years ago, I had a client who gave me a job description. ... It was for the personal assistant to the head of a Western bank. The job description was for a 25-year-old, 6-foot blonde, with a perfect model's body and face, smart, with an MBA, willing to work for $1,500 a month as the head of this bank's personal assistant," Lindeberg said.

"In 1997, the only women fitting this exact description were hookers from Night Flight. The Western bank's HR director agreed with me and was embarrassed she even had to give out this job description. I declined to take the job, explaining to her that in my opinion the search would be impossible as Night Flight hookers were likely making $1,500 a day and got to have a variety of men."

This vivacious nature has endeared her to many people along her career path.

"At Teri's wedding, I met the rest of the Lindeberg clan," Elson said. "Teri's definitely the wild one. She's found her niche in Russia. And I'm pleased that our paths have crossed, and we've both contributed to each other's success."