President & Founder
After meeting her, most people wouldn’t guess that Deanna O’Connell spent 4 years proudly serving her country in the United States Marine Corps. But it’s true, Ooh Rah! After being honorably discharged in 1997, she made her way back to her hometown of Mentor, Ohio where she landed a job at the Sherwin Williams Corporate Headquarters learning all there is to know about the application of paint & coatings. She held a technical support role in customer service supporting the likes of big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Menards.
In 2002, she received “the call”. A large recruiting firm in Chicago was looking to start a recruiting practice in paint and coatings so Deanna packed up and moved to the windy city to embark on a new career. After only a few weeks recruiting in paint and coatings, a colleague needed assistance filling a few jobs in the food industry and in just a year, Deanna built up a remarkable clientele with some of the top food manufacturers in the country.
2008 was the year of plunges both personally and professionally for Deanna. In April, she married her husband Brian on a beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Just a few months later, she took the second big plunge and founded Red Kite Recruiting as a “kitchen table” recruiter. Working solo at home didn’t last very long as she couldn’t keep up with the needs of her clients and soon hired her first employee, Grace. With the hire of her 2nd full time recruiter, the team moved into their first official office space in Chicago.
In September 2016, Deanna moved the ever-growing company into the 2nd and current office space on the north side of Chicago in the bustling neighborhood of Wrigleyville just in time for the baseball post-season. The office is located down the street from a little baseball field where a little team won a big World Series after 108 years! Go, Cubs, Go!!
Deanna lives in the city in the neighborhood of Roscoe Village. When she’s not chasing down a client or candidate, she is chasing down her two boys, Kayden (7) and Kyler (4) and the family’s two dogs, Cooper & Leo. Weekends you will likely find The O’Connell Clan in Michigan enjoying fishing, boating, wake surfing or snowboarding.
What she loves about this business: “After 15 years, this business still excites me like it did on Day 1. I love helping my clients solve both long and short-term problems by assisting them in building strong leadership teams. Strong Leadership enables a solid foundation and at the end of the day, I’m helping to lay that foundation brick by brick. It’s truly a privilege to serve my clients in that capacity. Not only do we help build teams but we are helping to build the culture with each company we serve. Not only is that pretty amazing but we have a heck of a lot of fun doing it!”
Favorite Book: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Favorite Quote: “You don’t always get what you wish for. You get what you work for.”