The Henrietta Gordon story.
But that is precisely what Henrietta (Henny) Schmeltzer did.
E arlier in her life, Henny braved challenges that could have caused her to face the world with trepidation. Born into the heart of the Great Depression, she was orphaned when she was 12-years-old; then she and her four other sisters moved in with her oldest and newly married sister. Instead, these events shaped how she approached life—fearless, tenacious, and driven.
There wasn’t money for college, but the pretty brunette had a sharp mathematical mind, an almost photographic memory, and innate business sense. After graduating high school, she landed a bookkeeping job in the heart of New York’s Garment District. Soon the 5-foot-tall Henny was supervising 20 people. She quickly developed a reputation among the other workers: she was tough but fair.
When Henny was 23, she wed Jay Gordon and they were soon proud parents of two sons, Jeff and Alan. Jay’s career as a Doctor of Podiatry bloomed and the family migrated to neighboring Westchester County. For a few short years, Henny’s focus was on being a wife and mother.
T hen in 1960, heartache struck again when Henny’s sister, closest in age to her, died. Henny went through a sad and restless time; she was unable to concentrate. Her doctor had an unusual prescription: she should find a job to help occupy her keen mind.
She read of an employment agency for sale and she catapulted into a new role as owner of the Northern Westchester Employment Agency. At first, she was a one-woman show: screening potential candidates, administering clerical tests, meeting current clients and potential customers, and doing all the administrative functions.
Under her guidance, the company thrived as Henny gradually built her team. The employees dubbed her a “dynamo.” She mentored, nurtured, and sometimes challenged them to be the best they could be. In the 1980’s, Henny recruited her sons, Jeff, and then later Alan, to join her in running the business.
W hen the stock market plunged on Black Monday in1987, the labor market followed. Employment agencies faced a dearth of jobs. However, healthcare was facing a severe shortage, making it one industry that needed help. A local hospital asked the company to help them find talent. They did and success begat success. By the end of the decade, the company had transformed into The HealthSearch Group, one dedicated to all facets of healthcare recruiting.
Henny slowly turned over the leadership reins to Jeff and Alan, but even in retirement, she remained engaged, caring about clients, employees, and the business. She eventually saw three generations of her family join the company.
Henny was a savvy businesswoman, a role model and inspiration to many of those who knew her. She exemplified character and values of integrity, a passion for results, and cultivating lasting relationships.
The HealthSearch Group is proud of Henny’s legacy and that we continue to share her values in our work, with our customers, our candidates, and with our colleagues.