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A question from her 6-year-old son in 2007 was the impetus, at least in part, for Marcia Zaruba O’Connor to launch her company.

O’Connor’s son asked, “Mom, can I see you more?” O’Connor paused, then responded, “Yes, yes you will.”

She went on vacation that summer, read the book “The Alchemist” and came back to work and quit her job. The same month, with a personal $10,000 investment, she launched The O’Connor Group.

The O’Connor Group provides outsourced human resources and talent acquisition solutions to small and mid-market companies.

Starting a new company in 2007, just as the Great Recession hit, proved challenging. O’Connor waited three years before she hired her first full-time employee. Since then, the company has grown to 75 employees, and The O’Connor Group bills 125 clients a month.

The O’Connor Group plans to expand this year to Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Tampa, Florida; and long-term it plans to continue to grow its national footprint. Revenue doubled from 2020 to 2021, and a 75% increase is expected in 2022.

“We love being innovative and creative and being the first one in the market to try something new,” O’Connor said. “It’s really important to stay on top of the curve and to share it with our clients. We have an amazing company newsletter called “The Connector” that is read by over 10,000 people bimonthly! It’s been a lifesaver for so many of our clients and we offer learning sessions around CEOs, CHROs and talent leaders.”

In 2021, O’Connor became the first female president of EO Philadelphia, and she was an Enterprising Women of the Year award winner.

The O’Connor Group received several awards in 2021, including Inc. 5000, Best Places to Work In Pennsylvania, PBJ Healthiest Employers, Quartz Best Small Remote Companies, Soaring 76 and Philadelphia 100.

O’Connor sums up her leadership with a few key lessons: Do the right thing. Say thank you. And follow the core values she set for her company.

“Having and growing a business you have to always do the right thing,” she said. “Obviously, you need to do great work and hire great people, but if you don’t hire according to your company values, you will have issues down the road. Our four core values (are) Integrity, Curiosity, Collaboration and Execution, and we live by all four. Also, say thank you — two words that don’t get used enough. You take care of your people, they will take care of you.”


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