Bri Roark-Chieffalo Profile
Bri Roark-Chieffalo’s journey from the Big 4 to the business of recruitment was as much about discovering a passion for helping others find their perfect career path as it was finding her own true calling.
Bri graduated from Washington and Jefferson College with a degree in accounting before joining the prestigious public accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY), where she spent more than two years as an auditor.
“While I thought I was always supposed to be an accountant, I learned a lot about myself at EY that, little did I know, would prepare me for my actual career, which is not accounting,” she says. “I thought accounting was going to be primarily about numbers, but I actually learned how to build relationships and establish trust with people I have never met, at many different companies, in many different departments. Being a recruiter is legitimately about those two things — relationships and trust.”
A Natural Progression
Bri’s transition from public accounting to recruitment was motivated by her desire to have a positive impact on people’s careers, which started manifesting while at EY. While there, she found joy in helping and training her colleagues, and she actively sought opportunities to contribute to EY’s recruiting department.
“I found myself striving to help people more and more during my time at EY,” remembers Bri. “I realized I enjoyed training my staff and spending more time with them willingly. I was always reaching out to the recruiting department to see if I could get more involved with campus recruiting, and always volunteered to be on an interview panel.”
Yet Bri, still with the intention of remaining on her then-current trajectory, first connected with Pinnacle not to become a recruiter, but to help her search for another opportunity in corporate accounting. “I never thought recruiting was the next step, until I met with Pinnacle to go into corporate accounting,” she says. “During that meeting, it was very apparent that I did not love accounting; I just loved numbers. Recruiting was never a thought in my brain honestly, but it makes sense. All the things I enjoyed at EY were related to recruiting and the best part, I get to help people.”
The Rewards of Recruitment
Joining Pinnacle enabled Bri to leverage her accounting and finance background, so she could help other professionals seek, obtain and manage their own valuable career opportunities. As a result, Bri has encountered numerous rewarding experiences.
One of her favorites is when a candidate mentions being referred to her. It serves as the ultimate compliment, affirming her ability to make a difference in people’s lives. She takes pride in securing higher salaries and growth opportunities, assisting those who have been affected by a layoff, and truly listening to candidates’ pain points to help them find something that truly makes them happier.
One of Bri’s favorite types of rewarding moments as a recruiter is helping enact change in the lives of her clients through some special motivation. She too had once been very unhappy in her career; it took someone to hear what made her unhappy to make all the difference. Nothing makes Bri happier than knowing she helped someone else be happier in their life. After all, there is truth in the sentiment that we spend more time at work than at home.
“I am very biased towards helping professionals make the transition from public accounting to corporate,” she says. “I have a real soft spot for helping professionals know they need to move on, and I am very proud to say I have helped several public accountants make that transition here in Pittsburgh.”
Taking the Leap
Bri offers simple, yet powerful, advice to anyone feeling stuck or unfulfilled in their current positions.
“My advice is simple: explore,” she says. “If you are unhappy, stuck, unfulfilled in your current position/career, why would you not explore? Don’t be scared to take the step of exploring, have a conversation with a recruiter (preferably me), have the conversation with your boss, network and simply just explore your options.”
Bri notes that this self-examination is important for professionals to have if they ever find themselves at a career crossroads.
“You may realize how much you do love your company/position and make a simple change, or you just may find your next opportunity,” she says. “That opportunity could be life-changing. I help people find those life-changing opportunities every day. Don’t be scared to take the leap.”
She adds, “As someone who fears change myself, taking the leap was hard, but I did it. I will forever be grateful for Colin Powell and Theresa DiFulvio-Hepner, my recruiter at the time and now friend, who listened to my pain points. Without them, that leap would have never happened.”
Relationships and Trust
Apart from her career, Bri is also passionate about health and fitness. Daily exercise is her go-to activity when she needs to relax and destress. She makes it a point to start every weekend at Cyclebar with her best friend since first grade. It’s a time to let go of everything that happened during the week, spend quality time with someone very important to her, and be uplifted by her fitness family.
Her dog Roscoe, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is Bri’s pride and joy. On Roscoe: “Our favorite things to do together are nap on the couch, go on rides to his Mamaw’s house (my mom’s), and play with his entirely too large toy collection that may or may not be themed by the seasons.” Bri is a big sports fan, with Steeler Football season having a special place in her heart. Her family is very special to her, and being a family of all strong women, there is never a dull moment.
Last but certainly not least, Bri spends most of her free time with her husband, Patrick. They are high school sweethearts that are the definition of opposites attracting. “I always say he is everything I am not, and for that, I am forever grateful”, says Bri.