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Jen Burns, partner, Quest Groups LLC in Boise


Jen BurnsJen Burns’ meteoric rise in the world of high-tech recruiting can be attributed to one thing – hard work.

Burns became the first person at Quest Groups, a small staffing firm in BoDo, to produce a $1 million desk. Proving it wasn’t a fluke, she repeated the accomplishment last year. She quickly went from employee to partner at Quest Groups, which has grown from 12 employees to 45 within four years.

“I’m a big believer in making your own luck,” Burns says. “The million-dollar desk. No one at Quest Groups had ever done that. I had a great year and a great team. I worked hard enough.”

Burns, 29, says her experience playing soccer at Boise State University prepared her for just about anything that life would throw at her.

“Once you survive being a Division I athlete, you’re like ‘I can do anything,’” Burns says. “There were times you wanted to quit, times when you asked if you were good enough. If you are strong enough to get through that and knowing that if you work harder or quit less than 90 percent of the people out there, you usually are successful.”

Burns has been the top contributor each of the past three years at Quest Groups. The company itself is a bit of a success story.

“If you don’t quit and keep going, you are going to be successful,” she says. “Even at our company, we weren’t supposed to be this successful. Then we started turning heads. If you work hard enough, you can reap all these rewards.”

Burns has a sense of humility for someone who has accomplished so much in so little time. In addition, she’s traveled to four continents (excluding North America) in the past four years thanks to her performance at work. Things are getting crossed off her bucket list at an amazing clip.

Burns says she would like to establish a foundation to be a part of something on a consistent basis. She’s passionate about women’s health causes, education and anything that betters lives.

“If I died tomorrow or next week, would I just be in the newspaper as that local, 29-year-old girl or would someone remember me for doing something in that time?” Burns asks.

Co-workers say she doesn’t have to worry about her legacy.

“Jen has also always been a leader in the community and continues to inspire others with her willingness to roll up her sleeves and get the job done the right way,” writes Brad Stith, an executive at Quest Groups, in a letter recommending her for this award. “Her energy is contagious. Not only is she an outstanding leader, she is a consummate advocate for giving back to those organizations that have helped her and her family achieve both personal and professional success.”

It all comes back to her work ethic.

“I never wanted to be the person who is looked at as the lazy one,” she says. “I’d rather be the person who may not be the best, but is the one who shows up early and stays late.”

Most memorable airplane ride: “I earned a trip to Africa and I was with one of my best friends who has a severe anxiety of flying. She just had a child and her anxiety was through the roof. We’re landing in Senegal and people are running out and spraying a bunch of stuff. I’m thinking ‘we’re landing in the yellow fever zone of Africa.’ Then we flew to Johannesburg and it was like that the whole trip. It was the craziest airplane, and we were on there for like 20 hours. That was really my first adventure and how we got there just made it memorable. It was on the bucket list, and we had a great time.”


About Nick Jezierny