Go Back

Nicole Making a Difference

“For the last five years, I could only find temporary positions in the suburbs that would never lead to a fulfilling long-term career. For one job in particular, I traveled three hours one way, and it just didn’t work because I am a mom of four children. I came to Cara with the hope that things would be different; that it would be unlike any other job agency I had worked with before.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with a job agency who says they are listening to you, but they really aren’t. From the very beginning Cara and Cara Connects not only listened, but they got to know who I am as a person. I remember telling Ms. Vicki, one of my amazing teachers at Cara, what I was looking for in a job. The next thing I knew, everyone and their grandparents were calling me to see where I was applying and how they could help.

Cara Connects introduced me to an opportunity with The Hatchery, a food and beverage incubator dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs build and grow successful businesses.

I was excited because I wanted to work for a nonprofit, but I worried about the temporary nature of the role. I feared, after working for the organization for a period of time, that I would have the same, disappointing experience being told, ‘We love you, but we are going to go with another candidate. Can you train the candidate?’

What I didn’t know then was how different The Hatchery was from any employer I’ve ever had. It was so refreshing and wonderful to build a genuine relationship with the organization; they really did want me on their team and quickly turned my role into a permanent position.

I can’t express how happy I am to work at The Hatchery, my gratitude for Cara Connects’ process, and how great it was to make friendships along the way. I never imagined I would be where I am today.

My voice was never heard at work before joining the team at The Hatchery. I adore this team because I can be myself; they encourage me to share my ideas. Cara taught me to think outside of the box, and now I contribute to so many objectives and initiatives every day. I’m doing things I’ve never done before like grant writing.

I wake up every day with so much excitement to make things happen. Especially with this pandemic, there are so many needs and I’m asking questions like, ‘Are we helping the senior citizens who need food?’ ‘How can we support workers on the front lines who need stability?’ We are now opening up a Hatchery Kitchen, and everyone on the team voted for the name I proposed: ‘Hatch-Made Meals’.

I am so grateful to have found Cara and Cara Connects. I hoped for a good experience working with a job agency, and this was it. I feel blessed to not only have a job, but to have a job that I love.”

Click here for insights from Natalie Shmulik, CEO of  The Hatchery, about her partnership with Cara Connects, Nicole joining The Hatchery’s team, and how this trailblazing nonprofit supports Chicago’s entrepreneurs and job seekers.

Learn more about how #CaraConnects job seekers to opportunity, businesses to talent, emerging leaders to mentors, and employers to communities. Check back here every day from September 6 through September 13 to celebrate the intertwining stories of some talented employees and leading employers. Let’s get to work!