Theresa Ulyaat, a former recruiting executive at Wachovia, is starting a new era in her professional career. That’s appropriate, given the name of the firm – NouvEon – where she began working last week.

At NouvEon (“New Era”), Ulyaat will act as its director of talent management and people care. is a 2003 Charlotte-based startup which provides business and technology consulting services to Fortune 1000 companies across the southeast.

But going from a conglomerate to a small firm with offices in three cities (including Raleigh) is not entirely a new challenge for Ulyaat. She is an entrepreneur herself, having launched two ventures.

Local Tech Wire asked Ulyaat about her decision to leave Wachovia, where for the past two years she was vice president for information technology and human resources recruiting, leading a staff of 40 people. Ulyaat, who earned a psychology degree at Russell Sage College, has more than 18 years of experience in human resources and capital, including sourcing, acquisition and retention. She founded two executive search firms before joining Wachovia. At NouvEon, she will be responsible for development of the firm’s people care practice.
Why did you decide to leave Wachovia?

My decision to leave Wachovia was not an easy one. I have great admiration for the brand and the history of the firm. The people at Wachovia are outstanding in so many ways. The opportunity at NouvEon presented itself through many conversations with the CEO T.J. Eberle, This was a decision made with coaching from my mentors, a very close review of the business model and core values of NouvEon and very real belief that I am joining a company that will be unforgettable in its industry.

You have started two other businesses. What drives you as an entrepreneur?

Creativity and Innovation are the primary drivers for me as an entrepreneur. I love to look at people, business and solutions differently than the status quo and I thrive in environments where this approach is celebrated and encouraged. I also value team work and a sense of family in the work place, something one can establish and nurture in a small-medium sized business very easily.

As head of people practices for NouvEon, what will be your primary goals?

The primary goals for the Talent Management & People Care division will be centered around identifying, acquiring and retaining the best of the best to join the NouvEon team and just as importantly to establish practices within the firm that support, develop and encourage employee engagement and productivity. I have a lot of passion in both areas and am committed to making NouvEon a destination organization for the most talented professionals in the field.

In the announcement of your hiring, NouvEon’s CEO said firms are in a war for talent. Do you concur, and if so why given the difficult economy in which many more people than usual are looking for work – or seeking better opportunities?

I absolutely concur with Mr. Eberle’s comments regarding the War for Talent. This “war” does not cease simply because there is a higher volume of candidates on the market looking for work. The “war” is for quality, not quantity. Best Recruiting practices and People Care initiatives work to retain those individuals who are top in their field – and there is always a battle for that talent. And when we do succeed in hiring them….we must retain them. That is why I am here!

What were the primary talents you screened for in IT recruiting for Wachovia?

Wachovia sought individuals who excel at Leading Themselves, The Business and The Team. Qualities in support of that are what we sought

I had an outstanding team of recruiters at Wachovia recruiting in all areas of Information Technology: some of those skill sets were: technology leadership and individual contributors in applications development, software developers, technology delivery managers, network architects and engineers, production services specialists, project managers, business analysts, quality assurance analysts, mainframe support people and so much more.

What were the primary talents you screened for in HR recruiting for Wachovia?

In the spirit of Lead the Team, Lead Yourself and Lead the Business, HRCR Recruiting sought talent who embodied engagement, leadership, curiosity, and a desire to get things done. The HRCR space at Wachovia is diverse and varied. We were responsible for filling roles in Compensation and Benefits, HR Business Partners aligned with our businesses, Recruiting professionals, Organizational Consultants, Leadership Practices Consultants, Workforce Analytics specialists, Policy professionals and more.

In comparing/contrasting those qualities, what stands out as most important in hiring the right people?

I believe that while skill set can be important, it’s never more important than attitude, innate ability to solve problems and business issues, passion, commitment and integrity. Skills can be taught – these things are really embedded in an individual and therefore much more difficult to teach someone. Hire for attitude – teach the missing skills!

Why should clients come to NouvEon for services?

NouvEon is a special place that embodies what I mentioned earlier – expert problem solvers, passion, commitment and integrity. Clients should come to NouvEon because of the brilliance of the team but also because we care about them, their satisfaction and we care about the team. The commitment to the role they have hired me for says that. PEOPLE matter. And when the team matters to a firm the people that work for that firm are productive, engaged and have a higher likelihood to be excellent than if that is not the environment. Here at NouvEon, we are focusing on the right things and the right time.

That is a win for current and potential clients!