We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Levine and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Susan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was excited to start a business and offer a luxury recruiting advisory firm that would seek out the very best talent and pair them with the leading companies. I saw the opportunity in the market to create a brand, and elevate recruitment services. I saw the need to peel off layers and really get to know the candidates – listen to their wants and needs, and find them a career, not just any ordinary job. The clients appreciated this approach, as they knew it would lead them to long-lasting relationships and strong hires. I have always loved a great challenge, and I was passionate about my vision. I was also excited at the prospect of having the very best recruiters on my team, much like a sports team. A team of professionals all moving in the same direction with the same goals – it was exhilarating to me.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I founded Career Group Companies, and all our affiliates, nearly 42 years ago. I’m often asked what sets us apart from others, and I am proud to say that it is never a one-man show. I think it began with me, my high standards, and my vision to build an extraordinary company that never lost sight of what is important in the recruiting industry; which is fantastic talent, extraordinary people, and connecting with the leading and very best companies throughout the country.

I am proud of so many things that it is hard to name just one! I am proud of the journey, how quickly it has gone, how much I have learned, and the opportunity to work alongside wonderful people that are dedicated, devoted, loyal, who all have a strong voice and have always been my running partners.

Success is never about one person; it is about the team. The best sports teams are not about an individual player, they are about the collective team driving it home. The collaboration, energy, and playing off each other’s ideas while holding each other up during tough times is critical.

I got to where I am today by being relentless, by having a strong vision of what the future should look like, and by using the most difficult and challenging times as an opportunity to connect with my inner strength and stay positive. It has been 42 years, and as with any relationship in life, it is not always easy. What differentiates you will be your ability to work through it and come out on the other end with solutions and growth – that is what makes a good leader and a solid and strong company. I was able to overcome the challenges because of my DNA – I am a strong woman who never gives up. I learned my greatest life lessons through difficult times, and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I always have wanted to surround myself with people who share that philosophy, who are willing to work hard, be loyal and stick by my side, so we could go through tough times together.

Career Group Companies is successful because of the people that work here. We have over 200 very different individuals, which I love. No two people are alike, just as no two companies are alike. I enjoy the interaction of people’s ideas meshing. We have grown so much, even in the last 4 years, amidst a pandemic and volatile employment markets. When the bottom drops out, which is inevitable, the secret is to stay focused, positive, and to come back stronger. So, I challenge myself all the time. Fear is what’s always motivated me to be successful.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a native Angeleno, Los Angeles holds a very special place in my heart. So, if my best friend was visiting LA, and they’d never been here, I would naturally take them to all the places that have resonated with me since I was young. There are so many different areas of Los Angeles and there’s so much history.

First, I would take them to the majestic Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory. It is the perfect vantage point to soak in break taking views, appreciating the magnitude of the City of Angels. One of my favorite restaurants in Hollywood is Mother Wolf, which is right by the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Next, we would venture downtown, which is a vibrant hub with historic architecture and a thriving arts scene. The district has undergone a remarkable transformation, with museums and cool art walks. I would want to show my friend the diversity that makes Los Angeles so exceptional. A visit to one of my favorite restaurants, Bestia, and Koreatown is a must.

With the downtown experience etched into our memories, we would make our way to the West side, and probably land in West Hollywood, where there are so many great restaurants and clubs. One of my personal favorites is Saltie Girl. Next, I would have to take them to explore the Bird Streets. Our adventure would be incomplete without a stop at Soho House or San Vicente Bungalows.

Our next stop would be the iconic Beverly Hills. You can’t come to Los Angeles without a stop at The Polo Lounge and the Beverly Hills Hotel, home of the legendary McCarthy salad and my favorite hot dog from their clubhouse. I would treat my friend to a cabana so we could spend some time basking in the California sun by the pool, or stargazing.

Then it would be time to hit Century City, which feels like a second home to me. I would have to bring my friend to Career Group Companies to visit our office and meet my coworkers and best friends. We would explore the completely remodeled mall, a shopaholic’s paradise. If my friend is a shopper, I’d have to take them back to Bevery Hills so we could visit Rodeo Drive, where every luxury store is.

Returning to my roots, we’d make our way to Brentwood. We could eat at Jon and Vinny’s or the Brentwood Country Mart – Reddi Chick BBQ has the best rotisserie chicken and French fries in the entire world.

Next, we’re heading to Santa Monica, known for the iconic Santa Monica Pier and boardwalk. You must ride the Ferris wheel and roller coasters, and I love walking on the boardwalk looking at all the beachfront houses. A slight detour to Malibu is in order – if you want a glimpse into the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous it’s the perfect place to drive around and look at the sprawling beachfront homes. There is an extraordinary Nobu on the beach in Malibu too.

After Santa Monica is Venice – which is so cool, everybody loves Venice. It’s like a mini-Soho, but in Los Angeles. There are interesting art studios, great outdoor dining, and amazing street vendors.

By this point we’re running out of time, this is easily enough to fill a week, but if time allows, we can journey to Newport Beach, Lido Island and Laguna Beach. You’re in California so you’d want to soak in the idyllic scenery, the palm-lined streets and the Pacific Ocean. Embrace the diversity, immerse yourself in the culture, and let the City of Dreams inspire your imagination. And that’s a wrap!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout to my husband and life-partner, Michael Levine, my two daughters, Emily Levine and Natalie Boren, and my Executive Vice-President in our New York office, Annie Papp. They are each an integral part of Career Group Companies; they made this journey possible with their support, guidance, and excellent listening skills, and I want to thank them for always keeping us on a positive path, as well as maintaining our standards and upholding our vision.

Website: https://careergroupcompanies.com/

Instagram: @careergroupcompanies https://www.instagram.com/susanlevine/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/career-group-companies/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-levine-2693741/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CareerGroupCompanies

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/career-group-companies-los-angeles

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