LandrumHR announced in January that Kara Bloomberg has been appointed chief operating officer.
“Under Kara’s leadership, we have reinvigorated our client service efforts and taken a fresh look at operations. We are now better prepared to deliver unprecedented service and human resources solutions to our clients,” says Britt Landrum III, CEO of LandrumHR.
Bloomberg has assumed responsibility for leading the overall strategy and operations for LandrumHR. In this role, she directs the operations of the company and is responsible for growth strategies as the company expands its operations nationwide.
“I am excited and grateful to be positioning LandrumHR for the future, as we leverage our knowledge and experience in human resources for strategic growth,” Kara says. “We strive to make the business of people easier for all of our clients every single day. We are expanding our footprint and our services to have a greater impact for our clients. I am honored to work with such a bright and talented team.”
Prior to this appointment, Bloomberg was vice president of operations and managed benefit options for LandrumHR clients, strategic planning, progress and performance, and process adjustments to ensure a great client experience.
Bloomberg joined LandrumHR in 2018 with a strong background in building relationships, strategic planning, business development, benefits administration, account management, HR consulting and human resources information systems (HRIS).
FAPEO caught up with Kara Bloomberg as she entered the second month in her new position to learn more about her PEO journey. One of the first things you’ll discover about LandrumHR’s new COO is that she’s a proud member of the Gator Nation.
“After graduating from the University of Florida (Go, Gators!), I started my career in sales in the employee benefits industry,” Kara begins. “I worked for various insurance carriers, including UNUM and SunLife, and then transitioned into consulting. Along the way, I had the opportunity to begin running operations for an insurance agency.”
Some people naturally lean toward sales while others prefer the operations side of the business. Bloomberg happens to love both.
“I found myself gravitating toward the operational areas of the business and spending less time directly with sales,” she recalls. “I never lost my passion for sales, however, and continued to look for opportunities that I could have my hands in both operations and sales.”
Bloomberg’s first encounter with the PEO industry was actually an adversarial one, but the more she learned about the PEO concept, the more she came to see that a PEO could be a good fit for clients and, ultimately, for herself.
“I spent a lot of time selling against PEOs as an employee benefits consultant. In particular, selling against LandrumHR!” Kara says. “I won some and lost some, but knowing what I know now about our industry, I did some of my clients a disservice by not recommending a PEO.”
Bloomberg’s interactions with the people at LandrumHR eventually led to her employment there.
“Although I competed with LandrumHR occasionally, I always respected the company’s reputation and the quality of their employees,” Kara says. “Britt and I began talking a few years ago about me joining the company, and he felt my blend of sales and operations experience could help take LandrumHR to the next level. I joined the company in January 2018 as the VP of operations, overseeing both PEO operations and sales. I left a great job that I loved, but I believed in Britt’s vision for LandrumHR. I respected the history and reputation of the company and wanted to make an impact on how we could shape LandrumHR for the future. With my recent promotion to COO, I am focused on growing the footprint of all our divisions (PEO, Workforce Solutions and Consulting) across the Southeast and assuring we have the processes in place to provide an incredible client experience.”
Bloomberg describes a typical day in her office with one word: Hectic!
“We hit the ground running every day at LandrumHR,” she says. “Our core values say it best: Learn, Share, Grow. A typical day involves all three. We are constantly learning from our clients and from each other. We are committed to sharing best practices amongst ourselves and with our clients. We have an incredible team of human resources experts with a depth of experience dealing with the complexities of HR. That brings us to Grow. In addition to striving for individual personal growth, we enjoy helping our clients solve their people problems so they can focus on growing their business.”
Bloomberg says that she and LandrumHR benefit greatly from their memberships in FAPEO and NAPEO.
“I have never known an industry that promotes knowledge and experience sharing the way the PEO industry does,” Kara declares. “Both FAPEO and NAPEO foster countless ways to get involved with our industry. The employees at LandrumHR are encouraged to become involved in both organizations to network, gain insight and share information. I am only one year into the industry, but I already feel like I have a tremendous support network. We share ideas and best practices and attend industry events that are sponsored by FAPEO and NAPEO.”
LandrumHR is a long-time member of FAPEO, and LandrumHR’s founder, H. Britt Landrum, Jr., was instrumental in helping to establish the association in Florida during the early days of the industry.
“We’re proud to be a long-time member of FAPEO and to have our general counsel, Amie Remington, on the board,” Kara says. “Several of our team members have been heavily involved over the years. The work FAPEO and its members do in ensuring legislators understand the unique issues facing PEOs is very valuable to our industry. The collaboration and sharing of knowledge among members is also a critical element to everyone’s success.”
As a newcomer to the PEO model, Bloomberg is pleased to be able to say she has joined the industry during a time poised for growth.
“It is an opportune time for growth in the PEO industry,” Kara says. “As our technology continues to advance, we are able to offer more flexibility, access and efficiencies to our clients. As an industry, we’re in a season of mergers and acquisitions. That creates a unique opportunity to combine forces to offer more to our clients, and we are pursuing multiple acquisition opportunities across our divisions. The people and culture of the companies we acquire are critical considerations for us. We are committed to a growth strategy that includes never losing sight of who we are along the way.”
She may be new, but just like seasoned PEO professionals within the industry, Bloomberg keeps her eye on legislation and regulations that could make it more difficult for PEOs to serve their clients.
“The threat of legislation is always a shadow on our industry. We must continue to educate our elected officials to help ensure the viability of our industry over the long term,” Kara says.
Bloomberg also believes that the lack of software competition within the industry will limit growth opportunities.
“I hope to see a surge of software vendors that realize the opportunity in the PEO space and are ready to get in the game,” she says.
Kara and Chris Bloomberg have four children between the ages of 11 and 15, and Kara says they all love sports.
“We are constantly on the go but enjoy family ski vacations and hiking in the North Carolina mountains on the rare occasions we can get everyone in the same place,” she laughs.
In addition to work and family, Bloomberg is active in community service, making her a natural fit within the LandrumHR corporate culture.
“In its 49-year history, LandrumHR has always been a company that cares about the needs of the communities we serve,” Kara says. “We
take a special interest in the needs of children and education. LandrumHR partners heavily with Junior Achievement and sponsors many of its events. We believe JA’s mission of empowering young people to own their economic success aligns perfectly with our mission of working together to enrich lives. Pouring into these students helps ensure that the next generation is prepared for career success.”
Bloomberg is chair of the Santa Rosa Education Foundation, which oversees many programs that create awareness of the needs of public education.
“We sponsor programs related to teacher grants and a scholarship program, Take Stock in Children,” Kara elaborates. “The scholarship program helps low-income children succeed by providing mentors to ensure students can take the next steps to a higher education after high school. My husband and I have served as mentors, donated scholarships and even started an annual fund-raiser in our community, Grillin’ in the Breeze, that connects our love of BBQ with our love for education!”