Six months ago, Recruit Action Partner Domenic Calcara shared a small personal post on LinkedIn with a big message. The special note shared twenty-five years of being with his spouse Steve and highlighted the proud elements of their life that they built together. He finished his post with a potent reminder that his corporate coach, Claude Dionne, states to him regularly, “to be good, you must be well.” The seven-word statement seems simple, but to Domenic, it sums up how he’s built a relationship, family, business, and life that makes him proud.
Like most humans, upbringing and experience have shaped who Domenic is today. Raised by a Sicilian father and a French-Canadian mother, he learned to love the cuisine and traditions of his distinct heritages. Whether he was learning how to make wine with his grandfather or meat pies with his grandmother, Domenic feels fortunate to have experienced the very best of the two cultures.
Domenic was a shy kid with relentless ambition. At thirteen, he secretly landed his first job at a local Harvey’s while his parents were on an extended vacation. His tenacity earned him incredible work experience, independence, and an impressive $2,000. He learned early that each job could teach him something new about himself. When he was nineteen, he worked at the Cineplex Odeon movie theater chain. The unforgettable experience helped him break free from his reserved persona and embrace his true identity. He loved working in the movie theater and he was great at what he did. Before long, he was an assistant manager and realized the new responsibility meant he had to conquer his shyness. So before each movie screening, he went in front of the audience, sometimes hundreds of strangers, and welcomed them to the theater. He was scared to death, but he knew he needed to face the challenge to change who he was.
Domenic’s willingness to overcome his fears helped him thrive at Cineplex Odeon and in life. His growing confidence and comfort with himself inspired him to share a secret he had kept for a long time. Shortly after turning twenty-one, he sat his parents down and told them he was gay. “I realized I needed to live the life I wanted to live, and I wanted to make sure I could be surrounded by those I loved,” says Domenic. While the experience was incredibly terrifying, the outcome of telling his truth only made his relationship with his parents stronger.
That same year he met Steve, the person who has become his pillar and partner for life. Meeting Steve helped boost Domenic’s inner strength and commitment to pursuing his path. For example, upon hearing of a General Manager position opening, Domenic climbed the stairs to his boss’s office and asked him for the job. Soon after his bold encounter with the company’s brass, he was managing a cinema and on his way to being a regional training coordinator in charge of hiring and training assistant managers and managers throughout Quebec.
Domenic’s experience at Cineplex was a transformative experience for both his life and career. It was the job where he learned that he loved working with people and in the human resources sector. At the time, he was pursuing an accounting degree at the Université du Québec in Montreal. However, the invaluable work experience motivated him to change course toward a certificate and spend more time gaining experience from his job. His extensive knowledge in discovering, training, and onboarding new talent also refocused his career toward recruiting. He soon left Cineplex for a National Recruiting Manager position at Randstad, leading to a two-year stint as a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Manulife Financial. The ten years Domenic spent mastering the recruiting sector and growing his relationships prepared him for two monumental life changes.
While enjoying a quiet weekend at their cottage, Steve and Domenic rented a six-hour Italian movie that expressed an emotional story about a single dad. The film profoundly impacted the couple, inspiring an unforgettable conversation about their legacy, heritage, and shared desire to have a child. Shortly after, Domenic and Steve registered at the Centre Jeunesse de Montreal to start the adoption process. Less than two years later, the couple met their son Michael.
The arrival of Michael was nothing short of life-changing. “Having a son created challenges that we had to face. We had to learn more about who we are and how we would work together to raise another life,” says Domenic. The new family member required thoughtful communication, constant common ground, and meaningful compromises. For example, when the agency contacted them about Michael, the couple only had seven days to prepare their home for his arrival. After a whirlwind of IKEA and Kijiji shopping sprees, they were ready, and Domenic gave Manulife less than a week’s notice before beginning his paternity leave.
When Domenic was beginning his challenges with fatherhood, Francois Paiement was starting an exciting business venture. One year after the global financial crisis, losing his job and welcoming his firstborn, Francois launched Recruit Action. He intended to provide meaningful balance to his life and the lives of the candidates he recruited. Francois approached Domenic about the business, and the two friends instantly realized they shared the same intention for a human-focused company. An organization that provided optimal work-life balance and took time to make candidates and companies feel heard, understood and appreciated. Seven months later, Domenic became a partner at Recruit Action and began working with Francois to build the organization into a place they both dreamed of working.
Looking back on his path, Domenic recognizes how critical his focus on his well-being was to be a good father, life partner, business partner, and boss. He says, “I needed to be surrounded by the people I love and focused on the things I loved to do.” The Recruit Action Partners know they cannot expect their team to perform at the highest level unless they feel good about themselves and their life. Therefore, Domenic, Francois, and Kristyn Oleskewycz prioritize providing tools, events, and constant support to ensure their employees thrive. Domenic knows what it feels like when chronic stress can impact your well-being and every aspect of life.
One and a half years after joining Recruit Action, he experienced incredible anxiety about the company’s future. Domenic was checking the company bank accounts daily and questioning whether the business would survive. Thankfully he understood that he needed to take a big step back and find the right help in order for him to refocus on his well-being. Domenic met with a therapist that gave him skills to manage his anxiety and a doctor that created a six-month plan to focus on improving his health. He also met with Francois and talked honestly about his feelings and shared the steps he was taking to make his wellness a priority. The courageous conversation strengthened their personal and business relationship and their shared commitment to ensuring physical and mental health is a priority for everyone in the company, including the owners.
Twenty-six years ago, Domenic probably would not have shared such a personal message on LinkedIn. Back then, he was shy, unsure, and afraid of judgment. However, each individual and professional challenge inspired him to rise to the occasion and push himself out of his comfort zone and closer to his true self. His family, spouse, and business partner embraced his challenges, and the love they gave helped push him through the obstacles to come out stronger than ever. When you surround yourself with people who care about your well-being, you empower them to be good at everything in their lives. It’s no coincidence that Recruit Action prioritizes a human approach toward their employees and clients. Helping to place candidates in environments where they feel safe, comfortable, connected, and proud enables them to feel great about who they are and become exceptional at what they do. The life and career that Domenic has built are proof of why it is critical to focus on being well before you can be good.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about Domenic and Recruit Action.