Movers and Shakers with Ines Temple

Tell us your name and a little about yourself.

My name is Ines Temple. I’m president of LHH Peru and Chile, the leading career transition and talent-development organizations in both countries. I live in Lima, Peru. I’m an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and regularly publish columns and podcasts on the new world of work, personal branding and employability.

In the 1980s, I was married to a successful businessman and was raising our three children. We had recently bought a new house and tapped into our savings to remodel it. Then suddenly and completely unexpectedly, my husband was laid off in a very disrespectful way. It came without any warning and the company did nothing to cushion the fall. He went from feeling like a valuable and valued professional to feeling desperate and filled with grief, rage, and bewilderment.

In our desperation, we committed all the mistakes that I now advise people not to commit. We sent everybody we knew a CV and directly or indirectly asked friends for a job — not surprisingly losing several in the process. I felt impotent for not being able to help. My husband took a position with his family’s business and that wasn’t a good move, either.

During this time, I wrote an article for my NYU alumni magazine that talked about outplacement and how, if the company had been more humane and had offered to help, it would have made such a difference in our situation.

I started working with DBM — later acquired by LHH — and opened an office in Lima. My office eventually became the largest in Latin America in outplacement services, and we’ve helped more than 50,000 — including 11,000 top executives — go through the upheaval of losing a job and finding their new path.

What exactly does your company do?

We work with companies undergoing changes that impact people’s careers. When a company decides to let someone go, we help them do so in a respectful way that includes helping those people on behalf of the company to find new jobs — to actively redesign their futures.

No one is exempt from involuntary job transitions. We help those in transition in their search for a career that gives them professional and personal satisfaction while contributing to their development and the fulfillment of their dreams. We show them how to continually elevate their level of employability.

What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

When I started my company in 1993, people thought I was crazy to think I could build a business around finding jobs for people who’d been fired. It took a lot of convincing and passion to show our value to companies. The cycle of a company is not just hiring, developing and firing people in any way they care to. We help close the circle of a person’s employment with the company in a way that’s consistent with the company’s stated values of respecting their staff.

Today, I head offices in Peru and Chile, which are affiliates of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). Both companies are very well known for not only job placement, but executive coaching, and personal marketing and branding. We are evangelists for how companies need to let people go in a way that’s respectful and shows consideration for their well-being, their dignity, and their self-esteem.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

I discovered over the years what I call “the power to rebound.” It’s not only about being resilient and rising again after a fall. Think of it in terms of how a ball is thrown hard will bounce higher. That concept gave me the belief that people can gain power after a fall — that the stronger you push someone down, the higher that person will go as a result of the new personal strength the fall gives to him or her. It’s occurred in my life, and I speak often about it when I give presentations and in articles, I write. Facing fears and frustrations will fuel a passion to keep going.

Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?

I admire many successful people and who are capable of living in accordance with their values and who have a passion for doing good. I basically admire people who continue even when their path is difficult — who face large challenges with the odds against them and don’t give up. They can be anonymous people, like the people who face congenital diseases, or who have to leave their lives behind to escape the war.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

I have 11 mentors — people who helped me when I was starting my career who I could go to for advice. They helped me avoid mistakes. Some didn’t even know they were my mentors, but the time they gave me, the advice they shared and the affection they showed were key to keeping me going.

What do you see as your greatest success in life?

My family; my kids. They were quite small when their father died. They’ve all grown into good, successful and trustworthy people. I’m also very proud of my book, You, Incorporated: Your Career Is Your Business. It’s been quite successful and continues to sell well all over the world — even in countries, I’d never expected. I receive letters from readers sharing how it helped them in their lives and careers. That was the point: I wanted to give inspiration, and I think the book accomplishes that.

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