Workforce.com

2011 Game Changer: Sara Sutton Fell

Founder and CEO, FlexJobs, Boulder, Colorado

September 29, 2011

Before flexible schedules, telecommuting, part-time jobs and freelancing became the norm for millions of Americans, Sara Sutton Fell created FlexJobs, aimed at streamlining the job-hunting process for those looking for something besides full-time, on-site work.

The idea was born from Fell's own desire for something other than a traditional job. While she was pregnant with her first child in 2007, Fell spent her time searching job sites and "realized pretty quickly how much junk there was," including outdated information, broken links and scams.

At the same time, she thought of all the untapped potential of stay-at-home moms, who were often highly educated, but had opted out of the full-time work world to care for their kids. "They've had a hard time finding jobs that let them juggle," Fell says.

Since the recession, the pool of job seekers has soared as millions were pushed out of work, and many are "open to looking outside of the box" for potential employment opportunities, says Fell, 37, who lives in Boulder, Colorado. By allowing telecommuting, or hiring part-time or freelance workers, she adds, employers can reduce their overhead and "can be a little more nimble in their hiring."

With her website, employers can submit jobs, but more often FlexJobs' researchers find and vet job listings, screen employers and weed out scams. Job seekers pay a monthly or annual fee to get details of the listings. The site currently has about 35,000 active users.

Brie Reynolds, the company's manager of content and community outreach who nominated Fell for the Game Changers award, says that by having the job seekers, rather than the employers, pay a fee, FlexJobs finds that the quality of applicants is higher. That, of course, makes the site more attractive to employers.

Reynolds, who has been with the company a little more than a year, says she's impressed with Fell's "understanding of the necessity of building a team," particularly when the company's 16 employees are scattered across the country.

There's time for "water cooler talk," and team members receive "a lot of freedom to try new things," Reynolds says.