You’ve passed them in the halls, seen their faces on Zoom calls, and exchanged e-mails. You know their job title and department and might even know their extension by heart. But do you truly know who you are working with? Get to know our Chief Operations Officer, Heather Schimmel!
Who are you?
I lived in a lot of places growing up, moving from Upstate New York to Long Island and then eventually to Ohio. I went to college in Chicago at Northwestern University, and decided I wanted to live in Washington D.C. after college. I told my parents I would live there for a year or two and move back home after. I met my husband soon after moving there, and 20 years later, I’m still living in this area.
Arlington, VA is the place I’ve lived the longest in my life and it’s where I would call home. We live here with my 12-year-old twins, my 8-year-old and our two dogs – a 5-year-old and the recent addition of a 6-month-old. In my spare time, I say I love to cook, which isn’t exactly the truth. I just love to feed people and if there’s anyone willing to eat my food, I enjoy serving them. One of my real passions is doing triathlons. I’ve become a competitive triathlete and, at one point, was even sponsored by Luna Bar, which is a sub-brand of Cliff Bar. I’ve never been close to being a professional athlete, but I love the sport and competitions. I have spent years of my life volunteering to help women get into triathlons and to help knock down the barriers in the sport and welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone who is ready to give tri a try.
If you could trade lives with one celebrity for a day, who would it be?
Jennifer Garner. She seems to have a lot of fun on Instagram, so I’d go with her. You know what? Maybe Princess Catherine. I love the Royals and am so intrigued by them. I’d love to live the life of a princess for a day… that way I can figure out firsthand that I’m not cut out for the royal life.
Who were your inspirations or mentors growing up?
Hmm, I don’t know. Certainly, my parents and, to some degree, my aunt. My family is pretty buttoned up and conservative – very low-key vibes. My aunt is not like that at all. She is super loud and fun and has an excellent sense of humor. She embodied the perfect balance between work life and social life, and it was great having her around growing up because she just did things differently than my parents. It was great to have another adult in my life that had a different approach. I didn’t really have any famous inspirations or other public figures who I admired. I did have a George Michael and WHAM posters on my walls growing up, but that was more because George Michael was my heartthrob.
If you could time travel, would you go backward or forward? Where would you go and why?
I’d go forward and I would go see what my kids are doing with their lives. I would find out where they’d eventually settle so that I could buy property ahead of time to be close to them. It would also help me make sure they’re on the path to being fulfilled and I could preemptively help them along the way.
What is a hidden talent or something you’re great at that most people can’t tell just by looking at you?
Dancing. I have some amazing go-to wedding dance moves. My number one is the Jackhammer. It’s one hand, and one foot and just bouncing all over the dancefloor. I don’t know if it’s an actual dance move or something my friends and I just made it up in college, but it’s my move. If I’m at a wedding, I’m on the dancefloor from the start to finish.
You’ve decided to run the NYC Marathon. What’s on your playlist?
Whatever goes at 180 beats a minute. It has to be upbeat pop stuff to go with your cadence of running. Anything from Katy Perry or Gwen Stefani will do just fine. It has to be super upbeat though.
Did you find Tandym or did we find you?
There’s a really long answer to this, but the short answer is that Tandym found me. I was serving as a reference for one of the consulting firms the company is now using, which led me to a reference call with Larry Dolinko, our CEO. While the consulting firm told me CEOs never actually make reference calls, they didn’t know LD very well! One day, we had a one-on-one call to discuss market trends and Larry cut me off 10 minutes into the meeting to ask if I would be interested in joining Tandym. The rest is history.
You’ve just signed a one-year contract with the WWE. What’s your wrestling persona and intro music?
I’m not sure what my intro music would be. You know, these are questions you should ask my kids. They’d have a lot of fun with them. My persona would be something along the lines of someone who starts off slow, but then comes at you so strong that my opponents wouldn’t know what hit them. But for entrance song? I don’t know. I’m very outdoorsy. Really big into hiking and am more of a mountain than beach person. Let’s go with “West Virginia.” I love that song. It would really fit my vibe. Back in my 20s, I thought I’d do the Appalachian Trail one day. My husband and I joke about that all the time now. Is that something we want to do now? Probably not, because we’d rather just diversify and hike all over the world!
What does it take to be a successful COO at a company where our employees and offices are spread throughout the U.S.?
Lots of communication. And I mean lots of communication. You have to be deliberate about communicating by letting people know where we’re going, why we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. There’s no such thing as over communication. It also involves building networks and trust so that people all over the organization actually feel comfortable with sharing their experiences. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I pretend to. My job is to listen, be open to new ideas, and turn plans into reality. This will help me unlock the tools and the resources our team needs for success. And because I don’t have all those answers immediately, we need to foster trust and transparent communication so that people can come to me confidently and say, “this is how it really is for me.” The best ideas and solutions are here already. We just need to unlock them!
You have to watch the same movie once a week for the rest of your life or else the world will end. What’s it going to be?
Princess Bride! I love that movie! “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife! But after what you just said, I’m not even sure I want to be that anymore!”
What are some of your goals for Tandym for 2022 and beyond?
Well, there’s the relaunch of Bullhorn, our ATS. That’s the real big one. Hmm, I guess the other one is probably worthy of a full company memo, but it’s defining and helping to figure out our fulfillment roadmap for future success. In a sense, what is our vision for how we run and how we operate to ensure we fill as many job orders as we can and certainly a LOT more than our competitors could. In order for us to make smart decisions and carve the right path, we need to know where we’re going. We know that our high-level fulfillment strategy that serves as a foundation for our national powerhouse team in all four of our verticals. If I had to make an analogy, this roadmap is about how we are going to get there, but it first starts with where we are going and ensuring when we arrive everyone can be successful there. That way we know we are going to build the best fulfillment engaging in the business. It’s more about ’defining’ what this success looks like and understanding how we are going to get there. Are we going to go by train, by plane, or by car? Are we hiking on our way there? Like, what path do we plan on taking? Then, from there, we can invest in the tools and resources needed to enable the business and empower employees.
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life without any consequences, what would it be?
I cannot answer that question. I like food way too much. I have not met a food I didn’t like, and I can never choose one thing. I’m the person that goes around the table to make sure everyone is ordering something different just so I can taste everybody’s food. This summer, my family and I did our first food tour of a city. We chose Montreal. It’s an easy city to try new foods, and my kids were very happy with all the French fry and sauce options. I love the community and gatherings that come with food. It’s my love language, so I could never choose one thing. I want all of it!