AEG Employee Spotlight: Chief Operating Officer Chris Rakel
1. Tell us about what you do at AEG.
While I’m still customer-facing for a select few accounts, my primary responsibility is to lead AEG and the amazing team we’ve assembled. Every day is different, but I’m working towards focusing solely on strategy and achieving the goals we have set for the company as a whole.
2. What inspires you most about working with the AEG team?
. I’m inspired by the idea of creating the path to wealth my employees deserve, while providing them with the freedom to do their job and focus on what they do best; I love getting to work towards that objective every day. I am surrounded by an amazing group of people, and I do my best to make a positive impact on their lives, helping them achieve both their personal and professional goals.
3. What are your goals for AEG?
My goal for AEG is to create a national organization that’s not only best-in-class, but also positively affects the staffing industry’s reputation overall—I want to change the narrative.
4. What’s the #1 quality you feel is important to achieving success in the staffing industry?
We’re in the people business, so there are going to be a lot of highs and plenty of lows throughout the journey. To navigate this constantly evolving industry, it’s vital you focus on what you can control. Be as transparent as possible and—most importantly—be true to who you are. Authentic relationships are the only things that will last in business, no matter the industry.
5. What are AEG’s toughest challenges?
Every challenge we face feels like the biggest one because we’re fully immersed in the moment. However, with hindsight, we learn and grow from each experience. The pandemic was undeniably intense and frightening to work and live through. As time passed though, things returned to normal, and we came out stronger on the other side.
Currently, we find ourselves amid some growing pains. As we continue expanding our business over the next few years, mistakes are inevitable. Challenges naturally accompany growth. There are likely to be some tough obstacles, but I know growth brings hardships that are worth it in the end!
6. What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
Throughout my career, I’ve celebrated numerous victories. In this stage of my journey at AEG, one of my greatest wins and proudest achievements has been hiring Eric. Not only is he exceptionally skilled in his role, but he has also assembled an outstanding team. His addition to the team ranks among my top accomplishments without a doubt.
7. What’s a unique trait or something that differentiates you from others in your position?
I’ve made a conscious effort to recruit individuals who can complement my shortcomings. I consider myself to be reasonably self-aware, recognizing both my strengths and areas where I have room for growth. Consequently, I genuinely strive to hire teammates who can fill those gaps in my expertise. It matters little whether they surpass me in intelligence or skill (I welcome that!); what truly matters is finding people who can bring valuable contributions to the table.
8. What’s the biggest benefit to partnering with a staffing firm in a job search/search for talent?
At AEG, we consider ourselves true partners rather than mere vendors. Our commitment extends to both candidates and clients, as we’re deeply invested in facilitating optimal hiring solutions. It’s crucial to understand that finding roles for candidates and identifying talent for employers are distinct yet interconnected goals.
With countless employers and candidates in the market, having someone who can effectively articulate your purpose, your opportunities, or your value as a candidate or business becomes invaluable. The true benefit lies in the ability to effectively convey your unique qualities and match them with the right opportunity or candidate.
9. If you could give one piece of advice to a candidate/client, what would it be?
When it comes to candidates, the best advice I can offer is to prioritize authenticity. It’s crucial to genuinely be yourself throughout the job search process. Securing an opportunity based on false pretenses won’t work out for anyone involved in the end. Instead, aim to find a workplace that accepts and appreciates you for who you truly are. This is where you’ll not only thrive personally but also align with the company’s values and goals.
For clients and other staffing leaders, my advice is to assemble a strong team and place your trust in them to excel in their respective roles. By delegating responsibilities and relying on their abilities, you can empower your team to perform at their best. Trusting them to handle their tasks allows you to focus on your own strengths and priorities as well, while fostering a collaborative and efficient work environment.
10. What’s your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?
My absolute favorite thing is watching my kids engage in whatever activity they’re passionate about at the moment. Both of them are avid soccer players and seeing them on the field makes me so proud. Otherwise, going to sporting events around town is always a blast!