Over the past six years, Crystal Kardys transitioned from recruiter to vice president of innovation and organizational effectiveness. She has been designated a member of WilsonHCG’s President’s Club five times and named a 2014 WilsonHCG MVP Recruiter.

Kardys also leads the company’s global innovation strategy, which prepares advanced client solutions, including analytics, recruitment technology, recruitment strategy and implementation management. She says that her greatest professional accomplishment was the creation of WilsonHCG’s Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands Report. Her research and analysis team has just published its third annual report.

“I took a less traditional path for someone with a recruiting background,” Kardys explains. “Rather than moving into a recruitment management role, I focused on my passion for analytics, research, project management and technology. By taking on stretch projects and self-education, I was able to build a skill set that eventually led to my current role.”

Kardys had the good fortune to be raised by strong women, to find great mentors, and be given ample opportunities to try new tasks, even if it meant failing. “Without these benefits, I feel I wouldn’t be the woman I am today, or be where I am professionally,” maintains Kardys.

“Listen twice as much as you speak, deliver on commitments and be honest.” That is Kardys’ personal philosophy. Her advice to younger professionals is to find a mentor who will encourage, give insight and guidance, and humble you when it is needed. She adds, “Persevere through challenges, as those obstacles help you develop a strong foundation for innovation and leadership.”

Kardys believes diversity is a key competitive advantage for any business. “Without it, an organization’s innovation can quickly stagnant. When I think about diversity and inclusion, I think about valuing and appreciating those who are different from me, and realizing that our differences help us all obtain a more well-rounded perspective,” concludes Kardys.