Back in 2002, Katie Hartley was a recent college graduate with a degree in PR and a passion for launching her career. At that time she could never have predicted where her professional journey would take her—to a career in background screening and a role as VP, Client Solutions, with Accurate.
Her journey was a unique one. After graduating, Katie struggled to find a relevant role that would allow her to apply what she’d learned in college. But her best friend was working for Accurate at the time, and arranged an opportunity for her to interview.
She didn’t get the job.
Coming Home, and Home Again
About six months later, Katie was able to land what she thought was her “dream job” at a PR firm. She was tasked, though, not with generating PR for glamourous clients and connecting with large media outlets, but with counting fortune cookies for an event the company was holding. Once the counting was done, so was Hartley.
Best friend to the rescue. Once again Hartley interviewed with Accurate. This time she did get the job. But the job was based in California, and while she liked it and the company, she yearned to return to her Midwest routes. So, after some soul searching, she decided to go back to her home in Kansas City where she was able to land a job with one of Accurate’s customers.
A few years in, she decided to look for opportunities outside of background screening so she called her former boss at Accurate to ask if she’d be a reference. Not only did her boss immediately agree to be a reference but suggested that Katie consider coming back to work for Accurate, this time without having to move to California.
She took the job.
A Great Fit
That was in 2008. Fast forward to 2021 and Katie is still firmly entrenched at Accurate, a company she has grown to love, along with the many colleagues and customers she’s encountered over the past decade-plus.
The people and culture are what have kept Katie firmly on board with Accurate for so many years, through significant growth and many changes.
The CEO, she says, took a chance on her all those years ago and she’s grateful for that. “So, I’m loyal to him, but honestly it’s just been fun to be able to grow with the company,” Katie says. In addition, she says, “the opportunities that I’ve been able to gain over the years and through that growth have been tremendous.”
She loves the background screening industry, she says, and is an active member of the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), where she’s had the opportunity to serve on the board of directors.
Accurate’s culture is built on four core values pillars that unify the company with a common purpose, define where they’re headed, indicate what they’ll do to get there, what they believe in, and how they will behave with each other and their customers. They are:
- Take ownership: be accountable for your actions, your team, and the company.
- Be open: be open to new ideas.
- Stay curious: stay curious even as you move forward.
- Work as one: work together to create the best customer and workplace experience.
The one that resonates the most with Katie is “Work as one”—it’s a value, she says, that is reflected in her everyday experiences with the company and her colleagues. And, she says, it’s a value that she leverages a lot with her team, emphasizing the importance of working together with every other area of the organization to meet client needs.
“It’s very important that we’re always working as one right through the customer journey from the sales process, through a closed deal, to onboarding, and beyond.
Experiences of a Lifetime
Katie says that she values the many and varied experiences and opportunities she’s had with Accurate since first being employed by them in 2002. But there’s one experience that stands out the most—the opportunity to travel with the company to South Africa to participate in a playground equipment installation that was part of a CSR program that Accurate participates in with Kids Around the World, a not-for-profit organization in California that builds playgrounds for children around the globe.
“That was one of the highlights of my life, for sure,” Katie says.
Other employees have also had the opportunity to travel with Accurate in support of their CSR events.
Supporting the Next Generation of Leaders
Katie says that she’s where she wants to be at Accurate, but reflects back on her career trajectory with the organization. One of the things that has always had an impact on her, she says, is when she would leave a role to take on greater responsibility which paved the way for someone else in the company to do the same by moving into her former role.
She has a passion for helping others move into leadership roles. “I really like where I sit right now, but what I want to do is make sure that I create room for growth for others.” She does that through coaching, mentoring, and being a resource for others, recognizing that not all employees are interested in leadership roles. For those who are, though, Katie is committed to being a resource and a catalyst for helping them get there.
In a way, she says, reflecting on her unique experience with the organization and the opportunities she’s had, it’s like paying it forward.