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Key Hires and How to Find Them

Learn the how-to’s of finding key hires for your company from experts in the Talent Acquisition space. 

Christian Miller of Poplar Ventures sits down with Marie Watkins to discuss how to tap into Marie’s 25 years of experience recruiting and vetting thousands of key hires on high-growth teams at Medallia, Bing, Poshmark, and many more as she’s built Polaris Talent. Learn her tricks and tips on finding the perfect person to grow your company and answer questions such as ‘How important is culture to an early stage company?’, ‘Should I hire a specialist or a generalist?’, and ‘If someone only has an 80% match to the job description, why would I hire them?’

Marie Watkins Polaris Talent CEO and Founder

Marie Watkins

Founder & CVO, Polaris Talent

Marie Watkins

Instead of having a midlife crisis, in 2017 Marie Watkins decided to get a tattoo, buy her dream car (actually it’s a bigass Chevy Silverado), and ditch the corporate world to start Polaris Talent Inc, where she is the Chief Vision Officer.  She has 25 years in HR and Talent Acquisition for technology companies from 2 people to 200K and is passionate about helping companies find the right talent to hire and in helping job seekers find a job they enjoy going to on Monday morning, because life is too short to dread the 9-5. For over 20 years she has hired people who make the tech we all know and love. From proof-of-concept tablets in the ‘90s, firmware engineers for the first smart devices, Ecommerce engineers for the first wave on online shopping in 2000, to more familiar names such as iPhone apps, Bing, Xbox/Kinect, Verizon’s CloudSwitch team, and companies working on space and aviation tech.  If it is a skill needing to be hired, she can find the talent to match. We don’t know what skills will be hot in 5 years, but we know she’ll still be able to find them. 

Marie is a subject matter expert in entrepreneurship and leadership and is trying to smash the established norms of business by helping underrepresented minorities get their ideas from napkins to reality. She spends her free time coaching napkin-stage startups and giving talks and webinars to local community groups. Marie has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Italian Literature from UC-San Diego, a Master’s degree in English Literature (Renaissance Feminism to be specific) from Claremont Graduate University, and certificates from Palomar College (Native American Studies) and UCSD Extension (Online Curriculum Development) which just proves that Liberal Arts degrees are worth getting!  Marie’s mantra is “Sometimes it’s better to cut across the grass than stay on the sidewalk.”  A Wisconsin native (and Packer’s ShareHolder), Marie splits her time between Racine, WI and San Diego, CA.

Christian Miller

Christian is a Senior Associate at Poplar Ventures where he manages deal sourcing, due diligence, market research, and Poplar’s industry presence.  On top these he also provides ongoing support to all of Poplar’s portfolio companies.  Christian brings a successful track record of sector focused investing and leveraging strategic/enterprise relationships to provide unique value-add opportunities.  Prior to Poplar, Christian spent four years at TRP Capital Partners, a middle-market transportation focused private equity firm.  While there he served on the Board of CarLotz (NASDAQ: LOTZ) and closed on more than $200mm in equity transactions.

Roma Watkins Polaris Talent CMO and Co-Founder

Christian Miller

Senior Associate, Poplar Ventures

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Polaris Talent, Inc.

Phone: 262.676.2482
Racine, Wisconsin
Ramona, California