“If you have a dream and it means that much to you, take it all the way.”
That’s the motto of Betsy Cerulo, founder and CEO of Adnet/Account Net Inc., and it’s helped her grow over the course of a nearly three-decade career into a resilient and fearless leader who’s steered her recruiting and executive coaching firm through three economic downturns.
Her employees are encouraged to challenge the status quo as they promote fairness and equality in the workplace. During the recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, Cerulo went against the advice of key company leaders and nudged the firm toward the fertile ground of earning federal contractors.
Her resulting years-long effort to achieve an 8(a) certified federal contractor designation from the Small Business Administration — the program is designed to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the federal marketplace — using LGBT diversity as a social disadvantage was a major win for the firm, she says.
Likewise, the company began to weave executive coaching into its recruiting efforts, allowing it to maintain a 97 percent retention rate that is well above the industry standard.
Cerulo worked with a small group of dedicated volunteers In 2016 to create the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce and became its president. The organization helps ensure more Marylanders earn equal rights in the workplace and broader economy. She’s also a past board member with Chase-Brexton Health Center and served on the organization’s development committee.