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Meet CEO, John McKenna

New ways of expansion and growth are always on the horizon for John McKenna, founder of the Emerald Group and owner of the newly acquired Peachtree Versatile Assistants. Whether it is his business’s core values that encourage him to continue upholding these principles in new and modern ways, or it is a gap in the ever-changing recruiting industry that pushes him to progress, he is always looking for the next chapter of business.

McKenna says “I tend to have a habit of not being happy with being ‘comfortable’ in business. I think that when leaders get comfortable, they become stagnant and happy with the status quo.”

How It All Began

John’s history in the staffing and recruiting industry began when a good friend of his recommended he try his skillset in a recruiting agency.

It wasn’t but a few months later that John realized not only his passion for recruiting, but also his ability to make an impact in the industry. “Recruiting was something that I came to really enjoy and excel at… Before I knew it, I was running recruiting teams internally for several large banks and mortgage lenders.”

His outlook and passion are exactly what led him to open the Emerald Group, a now highly-accredited business with experience in mortgage recruiting, specifically in insurance, logistics, medical, and real estate, in 2019.

Fast-forward to early 2022, McKenna was still on the hunt for new opportunities. It was later this year that he came across Peachtree Versatile Assistants, a talented staffing solutions provider that excels in finding the right talent for businesses, and made the decision to acquire them.

Per McKenna, this is more than a hopeful leap toward what he believes to be a wonderful opportunity; this is a carefully curated strategy to expand both businesses like never before. 

The Choice To Acquire Peachtree Versatile Assistants

The decision to acquire is a monumental move for any business. It requires a well thought out process, as did ours.

John also says “I am always curious about other businesses and was researching possible acquisitions in the recruiting and staffing industries. When I came across the Peachtree Versatile Assistants opportunity and got to know the owner, Raquel Wilson, I just knew it was a fit… Raquel had built an amazing business with an incredible corporate team, and did all of the sales herself while running the company day-to-day. I found that to be truly amazing…”

Entrepreneurs tend to have similar thinking, and, undoubtedly, a will to succeed. It was more than this that we saw with Peachtree Versatile Assistants. We not only predicted great synergy between the businesses, but also an extremely beneficial relationship for us both: for the Emerald Group, we saw growth in the virtual assistant staffing world with added resources to sales and marketing. For Peachtree Versatile Assistants, we could give them the ability to serve their clients direct hire needs.

Differentiating Fractional Administrative Support From Direct Hire

Staffing and direct hire are two totally different animals; the latter is much more cut and dry. For direct hire, we receive a search from a valued client and we work diligently to get it filled. 

On the other hand, staffing has many moving parts and must be carefully managed. Each client we work with has a very specific need and deserves to be matched with a hand-picked virtual assistant based on skill set, capacity, and personality. 

Tying Into Trends 

With each new year that passes, we gain a better grasp of the staffing and recruiting field, whether this means the detailed differences between staffing and direct hire, or the nuances that  one of the two bring.

However, every new year introduces new trends into the market. “While I am new to the VA staffing business, I spoke with every leading company in the VA staffing business to see how they operated and to get to know our competition. VA staffing was not a big space a few years ago, but since the pandemic hit, it has exploded.”

New companies are entering the space. Staffing is relying heavily on technology. Diversity and inclusion are an expectation and no longer an assumption. More businesses are operating remotely than ever seen before. 

Now, a company that may challenge themselves with adapting to or focusing on these trends may expand quickly, but that is not our goal; we do not wish to become the largest VA staffing firm in the industry. Instead, we want our clients to stay with us for the long term because we are confident in our ability to add value and support their business. 

Acknowledging Challenges

Challenges are, well, unavoidable. In fact, they are inevitable: times change, new trends emerge, and crises like the pandemic do and will happen. 

We like to think of challenges as a way to make us better, and while we see larger corporations and even tech players join the playing field, we are not ones to sit on the sidelines. 

We believe Peachtree Versatile Assistants will help empower us to solve the problems faced by those in the industry for two reasons: 1) they have the best and most experienced corporate team in the VA staffing industry, and 2) our team at Peachtree Versatile Assistants is most selective about the clients we work with and with the virtual assistants that we contract with. 

“We want to continue to serve great people and clients with the best virtual assistants in the business,” says John.

A Unique Approach And Vision

We are here to leave a lasting legacy. Our client retention is over 94% – a very high, unexpected number in our space. 

“Our sales team only partners with the right clients, those who understand the scope of what our virtual assistants can help with. Our matching process is completely tailored to the needs of our clients. Our relationship specialist team provides white glove service to our clients. Our talent acquisition team goes through a very selective process to ensure we are only bringing on the best virtual assistants in the market,” says owner John. 

Our vision is simple: Continue to build and grow the company with the best people in the industry. We will continue to add like-minded people that will provide value to our company, clients, and virtual assistants. That mentality alone will position us for continued success in an ever-changing industry. 

If you think your business would benefit with having a virtual assistant supporting you, count on us and our new wing of business with Peachtree Virtual Assistants to get the job filled. Reach out to our team here