Jim Lawrence has been an elite professional in the Talent Acquisition industry for over 20 years.  He was a star Track & Field athlete in high school and college, top sales leader and Branch Manager in Cutco/Vector, graduated from Washington State University and immediately married his high-school sweetheart and started their family.  He used his Vector skills and experience to get a job that was not normally offered to recent college grads, and he has been a super-achiever in his industry ever since.  He ran his own company for 12 years, has raised 2 daughters, and built a significant portfolio of real estate holdings in the Silicon Valley area.  His is a true Great American Success Story!

Q&A WITH Jim Lawrence

Q: Tell us what you remember about your early experiences and lessons you learned in your time with Cutco/Vector.

  • We talked a lot about fear of failure but also the fear of success. Being positive and having a constructive view of your experiences.
  • Goal setting, planning, and taking action are the 3 steps to success.

Q: You and I both got to work with Filippo Mancini, one of the most legendary leaders in Cutco/ Vector history, what are some lessons you learned working with Filippo?

  • His energy is contagious. His positive attitude is contagious.

Q: Your first post-college job was with a recruiting company and I’ve heard you tell the story that they didn’t hire new college grads but they hired you.  Tell us that story.

  • I knew I wanted to do something in sales and I went in for the interview process and when the recruiter asked me why I wanted to work there I asked her what the average rep makes there and she said $80,000 a year. I said, I’ll take it.  She asked why and I responded, “because I’ve never been average at anything and I’m not planning on starting now.  So I got the job.”

Q: You succeeded right out of the gate with that company and they eventually asked you to pioneer a program to help new college grads start with the company and succeed.

  • Yeah, I went around to all the senior sales people and asked them for what they do to be successful and out of that I created a training manual.
  • Sure enough they made me the Training and Development Manager.
  • My program was a 3 month program that took someone from no experience to being a successful sales person.
  • There are no born salespeople, it’s a learned skill that you can develop in others.
  • However, I do feel that drive is either present or not present in someone.

Q: You started your own company doing recruiting, what made you start your own company?

  • I was doing the client acquisition, the recruiting and training new recruiters so I was already doing everything necessary to run a company so I figured I would just take the leap of faith and start my own company. I figured that if I could do it for someone else, I could do it for myself.

Q: You had that firm for 12 years.  Where did your career take you after that?

  • I had a great run with my own company. Then I was brought into a start up that had less than 100 people and helped to build it to over 4,000 and went through a successful IPO.
  • I realize that I’m a really good at building, and not so motivated about maintaining.

Q: What are some of the most important attributes that recruiters look for in applicants for job openings?

  • Drive, a sense of urgency, a do-it now mentality, being willing to put in your best effort.
  • Also a proven track record of success and did you do something to distinguish yourself from others?

Q: What tips would you have for a young people who want to be able to achieve financial success?

  • Save your money! Don’t be the “rich friend” who pays for all your friend’s drinks when you go out.
  • Have a financial goal.
  • Don’t be afraid to stretch it a little bit, in terms of purchasing your first home.

Q: As you look ahead to the next 5 to 10 years, what are you most excited about?

  • Now that we’re empty nesters I think we’ll travel a bit more.
  • I’m really looking forward to building the team I’m a part of.


  • I love how Jim learned to put a positive spin on all of life’s challenges.
  • The importance of setting goals.
  • Bringing energy!


  • Branch Manager- a Vector/ Cutco manager, often a college student, who runs a sales office during the summer months.
Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina


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