Sonoma County Latino business leader's path to CEO started with high goals at her first job

Rosanna Hayden

Chief Executive Officer

Artizen Staffing

101 Golf Course Drive, Suite 300, Rohnert Park


Rosanna Hayden, CEO of Artizen Staffing, is a winner of North Bay Business Journal's 2018 Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Professional background: Business major with emphasis in accounting. Work history prior to Artizen focused solely in accounting/finance positions for privately-held companies.

Education: San Francisco State University, College of Business, concentration in accounting.

Tell us your story and that of your organization: My first job was as an accounting clerk, but I knew, even then, that I wouldn't rest until I had become a CFO. I gave every task assigned to me 100 percent and never cut myself any slack if the outcome wasn't what I had targeted.

I viewed any shortcomings as a learning experience and never repeated errors a second time. I was always willing to spend the time it took, by taking additional coursework, reading books or spending longer hours at the office, to achieve the goals I wanted.

By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had been promoted to a management position which led to several others and ultimately to my becoming CFO.

I believe in setting goals on regular basis, so once I became CFO, my next goal was to become owner/CEO of my own company. While working in my capacity as a CFO, I was hired by Artizen, Inc. which at the time was a consulting services company with a smaller staffing and recruiting services division.

My CEO at that time, recognized that in addition to possessing strong financial skills, I had many other favorable business leadership attributes and could do much more in the business arena than what was listed on my job description.

Within one year I was promoted to COO, became an owner of the company shortly thereafter and most recently in 2018 became CEO. My company grew with me and eventually expanded from one office in San Carlos to three northern California office locations including our Rohnert Park headquarters.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Over the past year, through my leadership and much hard work from my team and we have tripled both our client base and bottom line profitability.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

On the personal side, while being a single mom and having to work long hours, raising three wonderful children who have strong ethics and big hearts.

On the business side, having won eBay's Highest Rated Temporary Labor Vendor of the Year Award when I managed the account. Amongst over 40 vendor companies represented, and in front of several former employees and industry friends, I was presented with the award.

It was not won simply for having the highest number of placements but also included how I interacted with their corporate management to ensure successful placements per their guidelines.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Given that we have tripled our growth rate over the past year, and are continuing our growth trajectory, my biggest challenge today is how best to structure systems, offices and people to set the stage for Artizen Staffing's next level of growth.

Words that best describe you: Before I knew what a Honey Badger was, one of my team said I was just like one. It was meant as a compliment and very true as in researching further according to Dr. Taunya Lowe, the 16 leadership traits of a honey badger are as follows:

Relentless, tenacious, has a reputation for performance, doesn't use fear as an excuse-ever!!, determined to succeed-never afraid of larger than life challenges, outcomes driven, utilizes the law of timing: timing is everything with a leadership bias; focuses on her strengths instead of her weakness, she doesn't associate or waste time with negativity –resourceful, practices the law of reflection, strategic planner, risk taker, creates opportunities for others, and understands the importance of networking and collaboration.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest obstacles I faced early in my career was being taken seriously as a female business professional. I remember being a manager of a division and having to tell my chief operating officer to whom I reported and who frequently was overly touchy, “My name isn't ‘honey', ‘baby,' ‘cutie' or ‘sweetie,' my name is Rosanna and you better learn to call me by it.”

In short, I quickly addressed the issue, demanded that I be treated as an equal, and gained the respect of both senior management and fellow female team members who were often faced with similar circumstances.

Another issue I experienced as an early manager was not wanting to delegate tasks.

I knew I could rely on my own work product but was uncertain and uncomfortable with delegating to others who I supervised. Eventually being older and much wiser, I changed my leadership style to focus on doing the things that would ensure my team's success in order to gain my own.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I think that Artificial Intelligence will play a much more meaningful role in helping to quickly identify and recruit top talent.

Whether that's by using Chatbots to handle the bulk of repetitive HR tasks or as Stafory's Robot Vera already does, contact and qualify candidates directly on our behalf for job openings. For the staffing and recruiting industry, this will herald marked changes in business processes and jobs and job requirements for internal hires.

Who was your most important mentor?

My Nicaraguan-born mother who was an immigrant to the U.S. She instilled in me her own belief that there is nothing you cannot achieve if you focus your mind on it and make it a priority in your life.

On the business side, Jerry Sweeney, CEO of the Spacebag company, New West Products was an amazing mentor. I was the CFO of his company and through Q&A and observing him and how he handled many difficult business situations, learned creative ways to win in all areas of business ownership and leadership.

Tell us about your community involvement:

I have served the local community by participating on the board of directors of the Professional Association of Sonoma County in HR. (PASCO). My initial position on the board of directors was that of VP of Scholarship Outreach.

In that capacity, I increased scholarship funds raised and granted and number of actual scholarship awards to over three times those previously granted. In 2018, nine scholarships were awarded to local SRJC and SSU students.

In my current capacity as VP of Membership, I will strive to increase awareness in PASCO and increase membership by demonstrating the value add in participation in PASCO. I am an active member of the Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. I participate in and supports fundraising activities sponsored by PASCO, the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County and the Church of the Incarnation (Incarnation 100 Charity Benefit Bike Ride – Fundraiser for The Living Room, Sunday Open Table, and St. Andrews Food Program) and has been a generous financial contributor to the Child Parent Institute and the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

"Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live." -Anne Sweeney

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: American entrepreneur Jeff Bezos who is the founder and chief executive officer of and owner of 'The Washington Post.' “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

Quick takes...

Current reading: “9 Keys to Successful Leadership: How to Impact and Influence” by James Merritt

Most want to meet: Warren Buffett who is an investor, speaker and philanthropist who serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”

Stress relievers: Lifting weights and cardio kick boxing at the gym

Favorite hobbies: Mountain biking, foreign travel, photography, floral arrangement, renovation and home repair, and reading

Rosanna Hayden

Chief Executive Officer

Artizen Staffing

101 Golf Course Drive, Suite 300, Rohnert Park


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