MANSFIELD — Beth DeLaney is in the business of people.
As president and owner of Spherion Mid Ohio staffing services, people are her product. And she treats her product like gold.
"We are unique in the fact that when you have companies, they normally manufacture a product," she said. "I don't manufacture a product; I hire people and place them into career opportunities and hope they can have a great career wherever they are."
It's the basis of Spherion's extensive involvement in the mid-Ohio community. Besides invested relationships with more than 200 employers throughout nine counties, including Richland and Ashalnd, 80 percent of Spherion's internal staff volunteers their time by serving on local committees and boards.
"For years Beth has said, 'I am more than a person that writes a check,'" said Jessica Hiser, business development and client relations director. "We never sponsor something just to sponsor it; we ask ourselves, how can we get involved and how can we add value?"
It's this commitment that led Spherion to be a Richland Source Newsroom Partner at the Platinum Level to show their commitment to independent, local journalism. Its financial support, like all Newsroom Partners and Richland Source memberships, goes directly to newsroom operations.
Richland Source was founded in Mansfield during 2013 by local businessman Carl Fernyak on the belief there was an audience in north central Ohio hungry for a different local news product - one that was modern, forward-thinking, community-focused and represented what it was like to live and work in the area.
DeLaney has a similar entrepreneurial spirit; nearly 30 years ago, she answered an ad in a newspaper for a job at a staffing agency that would eventually become Spherion, having no idea what exactly the job would entail.
"In the staffing industry, you don't have to know a lot about staffing. You have to know how to deal with people," she said.
The daughter of a football coach, DeLaney was always independent and driven. She quickly rose through the ranks at Spherion and was given the opportunity to purchase the mid-Ohio territory as an area-based franchise in 2001.
Spherion shares another quality with Richland Source - a commitment to solutions.
"We're a staffing agency, but we're a solution agency," Hiser said. "We adapt, we find solutions and we find what works for you...and because we're a solutions company, when we see needs in the community we want to offer a solution."
When presented with the opportunity to support Richland Source, DeLaney was especially drawn to the work in solutions journalism.
"We all have different hair-pulling times with media anymore and we don't know what to believe, but I 100-percent believe that when an article is written by a journalist that has to do with solutions for our community, that's the real facts," DeLaney said.
"I just feel really confident that what you're writing, I can read and make up my own mind, and by the end I know what direction I need to go to help solve the problem."
Through their role in the community, Spherion has seen firsthand the impact solutions journalism has had on the community. DeLaney's company was one of the first to financially sponsor the Community Baby Shower in September 2017.
"We're seeing these movements to the positive, and (Richland Source) is coming on to get these stories out there," Hiser said. "It was a big trust thing; we're funding something that we don't know what the end is going to be, but that speaks a lot to Richland Source that we wanted to go for it.
"It's not waving a magic wand, it's building on a bigger story."
At the end of the day, DeLaney said, the goal is to make a difference in people's lives. Part of the vision statement for Spherion Mid Ohio is to be thought leaders, educators, and philanthropists in the community.
"Solutions journalism is thought leadership," Hiser said. "It's getting ahead of stories and finding needs and finding problems, so if we're not the ones getting that information out, we're going to support those that are. It aligns to where we anchor as a company and what we believe in."