Lexington, KY – “It’s an interesting time to be in human resources,” said Bev Clemons. As owner of Lexington’s CMI Human Resources Consulting, she knows that this is likely an understatement. With the economy having left a growing population of workers with no job and nowhere to turn, Clemons’ task of helping place the employees of her client companies through CMI’s “career transition” services has become increasingly more difficult. As someone who was driven to her career by a love of helping others, however, Clemons is up to the task – as disheartening as it may be to witness the growing influx of the laid-off population.
“We have many, many professional level folks who have been in their jobs for 21, 23, 27 years,” she said. “They haven’t interviewed anywhere in years, so we have to re-educate them through interview processes and coach them through that.”
Clemons’ own career path started in the human resources department of a wholesale grocer when she was in high school – and it was her own “resourcefulness” that led her to the place where she came to own her own business.
“I worked in Payroll and Benefits and managed the Truck Drivers’ fund, and I loved every minute of it,” she said of her first job. “Upon learning that I was an artist, they offered me a position in their in-house advertising department, which I accepted and stayed for the next 6 years.”
Interestingly enough, Clemons’ stint in advertising eventually led her back to HR. When she was downsized from the Lexington ad agency for which she worked, Clemons turned to a former client (CM Management) to network over lunch.
“[The owner's son] mentioned during lunch that they needed some marketing materials put together, and asked if I would have interest in helping,” Clemons said. “After lunch he showed me to a desk and I had a job. Voila!”
In April 2000, Clemons bought CM Management (now CMI Consulting) from her former boss. Today, on any given day Clemons finds herself counseling clients, networking, and sitting on a lot of boards, including Commerce Lexington, Bluegrass Society for Human Resource Management and the National Association for Women Business Owners (NAWBO), where she is currently president of the Lexington chapter. Clemons said her involvement with various non-profits and “being a good community citizen” has been “paramount to the success” of her company.
Growing up in a single-parent household with her mother as the primary parent figure informed Clemons early on of the inequalities and obstacles that women often face. “Seeing the obstacles that [my mother] encountered made me not want that for other women,” Clemons said. “I want women to have the same opportunities as men do.”