As a Talent Partner for inTulsa, Phillip blends his love for connecting with people, an interest in psychology, and an appreciation for business together as he helps people find the perfect new role to advance their career goals.
How did you start your career?
While I was in college, I worked at a restaurant full-time. It was a very fast paced environment. I enjoyed that kind of work when I was young; it was really fun. At the same time, I was in school studying psychology.
Toward the end of my senior year in college, I got picked up by Enterprise Rent-a-Car because I fit their model of a management trainee. It was also a very fast paced environment working with a lot of people, highly focused on selling. But that wasn’t what I went to school for, and I decided it wasn’t what I was meant to do.
Then a friend who was working in human resources told me their company had an opening for an HR Coordinator, and I applied and was hired. That’s how I got my foot in the door in this field. I love connecting with people. And HR is a great way to combine that passion of working with people with the business experience I have.
How did you end up in your current role as a Talent Partner at inTulsa?
After working as an HR Coordinator, the company I worked for moved into the role of a payroll administrator, but that role wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. So when an opportunity came to work with our talent acquisition team at that company, I jumped at it. I thought, “This is it. This is what I want to do.”
However, while I enjoyed working as a recruiter there, I felt a bit stifled in the recruiting process because the company wanted a cookie-cutter approach for the positions they were trying to fill. If someone didn’t fit, they were out, and left on their own.
When inTulsa came on my radar, what appealed to me the most is that they were candidate-centered. If one role didn’t work at one company for a candidate, we could try to fit them elsewhere. I love that.
What gets you excited to go to work in the morning?
I love working with the candidates. And we’re not just helping people come to Tulsa for work (which is one of our roles). I also enjoy helping people already in Tulsa to upskill their skill sets and giving them new opportunities that would be unavailable to them otherwise. That approach is a huge part of growing Tulsa economically, not just for people coming to Tulsa but for people who are already here as well.
I’m from Tulsa, so I love being able to have a positive impact on the growth of the city and being able to share the magic of Tulsa with non-Tulsans—or pre-Tulsans, as I like to call them. This role is a great way to use my experience and my skills, and that’s what I love about it.
What’s a day in the life like working at inTulsa?
There’s a lot of meetings! I’m always connecting with people, whether it’s virtually or in person in our office space.
We have a great team at inTulsa. I love all the people I work with, and appreciate how we’re all mission-based. I’ve never worked for a mission-based company before, and that’s really been fulfilling to be a part of.
We work not only with people who are interested in coming to Tulsa, but on our internal team we have a mix of people who are either from here, or have relocated here, or have even just visited here who just get that Tulsa is a great place to be. It’s really cool to see all these people from all different walks of life who buy into this mission.
What are the advantages of working with multiple companies and candidates?
Working with lots of companies gives us the opportunity to pivot candidates. If they’re not chosen by one company, it doesn’t mean they’re not qualified or not a good candidate for another role elsewhere. It’s really nice to be able to say to one of our clients that I’ve already talked to someone who is a great candidate, and let’s see if we can get them in here. That’s the nicest part of working with multiple candidates and multiple companies.
What are the most critical elements to consider when you're partnering with candidates and businesses to find the right talent fit?
When it comes to helping people find the right job, we really try to focus on what they’re interested in. Sometimes their interests and job experiences are not the same things. So, if that means getting people into upskilling programs or courses that would help them land roles that meet their interests, we can promote that.
That also lends itself to the company side. At inTulsa, we really enjoy working with companies to say, “We have a candidate that may not exactly fit the mold, but they are smart and willing to learn.” Now that we’re in our second year of business, most of our business partners are repeat clients, so they trust us when we tell them, “This is a good person to consider as a candidate.”
What can candidates expect when working with inTulsa?
We are really connected with the overall ecosystem here. Tulsa has a lot of companies, start-ups, and movements all heading toward this level of economic development that Tulsa has the potential for. So, we connect into resources for that.
For candidates, what you can expect from inTulsa is our genuine attention and effort. Everyone at this company understands the magic of Tulsa and is dedicated to making it a place of diversity and inclusivity.
The biggest thing is that we’re candidate-centered. We understand that everyone needs to start somewhere and be given a chance to show what they’ve got to give to the world. At inTulsa, we can focus on candidates and not just the bottom-line. We can focus on promoting people.
What advice do you have for people early in their careers, or who are making a switch to a tech career?
My biggest piece of advice is—it’s never too early or too late to learn something new. And don’t be afraid of the imposter syndrome. Just because you haven’t done something before, it doesn’t mean you’re not capable of learning it. Everyone has to start somewhere. So, check with your local resources—like inTulsa! This is exactly what to do, which makes us a great place to start.
How has Tulsa grown over the years?
When I was younger, I had two very different sides of my family. My dad is one of nine siblings from a big Latino family living in Dallas, TX. It’s a huge city, with tons of people. My mom’s family split her time growing up between Tulsa and a farm outside Henryetta, OK. I got to see two different sides of the American system.
To me, Tulsa always felt right smack dab in the middle of that. It felt like the perfect fit for me. But growing up, I never anticipated staying here because at the time, Tulsa seemed too small.
But after the BOK Center was built, downtown Tulsa just exploded. I came back to the area after college and saw how much Tulsa had grown. I just knew something was going on here. There’s movement and energy, and I just want to be a part of it.
What do you love about Tulsa?
I’m a huge patron of the arts! I did musical theater in high school; that was a huge thing for me. And here's a little-known fact about Tulsa—we have an amazing arts scene. TheTulsa Performing Arts Center is in the top ten in the nation for opera and attractions they bring here, like all the touring shows. Tulsa is a very artsy city. There’s a lot of fine arts and live music, which is one of my favorite things about living here.
What would you say to people who are considering moving to Tulsa?
Tulsa has some amazing restaurants and bars. It’s actually very foodie. For a small city in the middle of the country, we’ve got all different kinds of food from all kinds of cultures. For example, we have a great German restaurant called Margaret’s that is amazing. We have a Caribbean restaurant called Sisserou’s. We have all different types of cuisines. And anyone who is interested in cocktails definitely needs to check out The Valkyrie. It is one of the best bars!
Also, the affordability of Tulsa is something to consider. My husband and I were just able to buy a house with a yard for our three dogs, and we wouldn’t be able to do that if we lived in a different city that didn’t have the accessibility of homes like that. We’re on the outskirts of Tulsa, and even in 8 a.m. traffic, it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to get downtown.
The community of Tulsa is something that you don’t get everywhere. Here. you have the feeling that you can really have an impact, that your voice can be heard.
On a personal note, what books, music, or podcasts are you enjoying right now?
I am a huge podcast person. Anything by Crooked Media, like Pod Save America or Pod Save the World, are definitely ones I listen to every week. I am also a huge fan of reading, so I listen to a lot of literature podcasts, like re-reads of Game of Thrones or Harry Potter. I like to read along! I also went through a huge phase of Greek and Roman Mythology, and I love the retellings—books like Song of Achilles, Circe, all of those. I’m absolutely obsessed with them.