Erin Allen believes in the underdog. As President of Contemporaries Inc., one of the foremost staffing agencies in the DC-area, Erin looks for the diamond in the rough, the person who might not stand out in a crowd but who has the dedication and ambition to become a brilliant asset to any agency. It hasn’t always been easy; she’s worked hard for many years to help market and build her family’s business, and there’s little doubt that she has been instrumental in making it the leading long-term temp resource for federal agencies. What drives her, however, is the possibility her agency gives those who need work, and, most importantly, she’s someone willing to take a chance on them when few others see their potential for success.
Erin’s life has been a series of adventures from the very start. Born at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, her early years were spent within the nomadic sphere of military life. When she was 12 her family settled in Columbia, MD, and Erin became painfully aware of how much her accent and uprooted life made her different from her peers. So, she worked hard to fit in, supported by parents who believe in hard work and who prefer to see the positive side of things. Some people are born with that drive, and Erin is definitely one of them. It’s what helped her adjust to her new surroundings, and what eventually brought her to the family business.
Marketing a business and actively going out to recruit new clients is not for the faint of heart. Ask Erin and she’ll tell you about passing out fliers at the metro and the responses from passers-by who thought she was handing out political materials (you can imagine what that was like). After some time honing her chops in the trenches, she landed her first major account with Boeing. That’s a big deal for anyone, yet for Erin the account that had the biggest effect on her was a 22 year-old mother of 3 who was in need of a job that offered steady pay and the possibility of advancement based upon merit. This woman worked for Jiffy Lube and was an extremely hard worker who desired AND deserved a higher paying job. She did not, however, know how to put her resume together, didn’t have and could not afford to buy the appropriate attire for office work, and did not realize that her true value to employers lay in her incredible work ethic. Erin saw that potential and helped this woman with her resume, wardrobe, and interviewing skills, helping her get a job that forever changed her family’s life. This is the kind of thing that gets Erin up every day – helping people secure jobs so that they can begin to change their lives for the better.
It’s rare a thing these days to be a champion of both employees and employers. At first glance it might seem that each side would be at odds with each other; however, it makes sense that someone running a company whose business is to supply employees to employers would become highly attuned to the best and most welcoming opportunities for all. Erin’s passionate about laws that affect workers’ lives, such as paid sick leave, increased minimum wage, and the “ban the box” effort. So, in order to be an effective advocate for both sides, Erin has immersed herself in the local business community. She sits on the Board of Directors for both The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Contemporaries, Inc. is a founding member of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce and has been active in the group for 25 years. It is from this vantage point, as both a business owner and a supplier of employees to businesses, that she became instrumental in negotiating several labor issues in the county. The state and local jurisdictions have diverging interests when it comes to wages, fair practices, and large- vs. small business interests. As a member of the Chambers, Erin worked hard to help each side bridge the divide and strike an accord that worked in everyone’s favor, including the employees. Erin is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). She is dedicated to mentoring other women in business through the Women’s Presidents’ Organization, and has been awarded the Enterprising Women Award by Enterprising Women magazine.
Companies big and small have been relying on Contemporaries, Inc. for their staffing needs for years, and Erin’s extremely proud of her company’s reputation as a solid resource for federal government staffing, especially as the largest provider of staffing services to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Contemporaries, Inc. has even received recognition by the NIH for outstanding contractor performance. But like all good leaders, Erin has a life outside of work that provides balance, grounding, and loads of entertainment. Literally. Her husband is a rock star who regularly tours with his band. And when she’s not working or out on the road with him, she’s taking her daughters to horseback riding lessons, even riding a bit herself, or painting in her spare time.
For all of your staffing needs, or if you’d like to become a part of the Contemporaries, Inc., team, please visit www.contemps.com to learn more about this wonderful company.