CONNECT: The Knowledge Network (A)

Case Solution

Joan Winn
North American Case Research Association (NACRA) ()

In 1992, Maureen Clarry and Kelly Gilmore left their jobs to start CONNECT: The Knowledge Network, an information technology consultancy. Maureen and Kelly did not receive a salary for the first six months of operation and hoped to keep expenses low by working from home. When both women became pregnant, they had to redefine their business model and find a suitable office space. They found an old Victorian house with a separate building to serve as the on-site nursery and created a family-friendly office environment. They focused their business strategy on creating a network of “partner” consultants to advise large companies in the Denver area on data warehousing and information systems. In 1998, when companies attempted to expand their workforce in an increasingly tight job market, CONNECT expanded its temp agency to include permanent positions. This new line of service required an increase in the workforce at CONNECT and in one year CONNECT grew from 8 to 20 employees. The economic downturn from 1999 to 2000 led CONNECT to realign its business, forcing some long-term employees and newly hired recruiters to lay off. This case documents the process that Maureen and Kelly and all CONNECT staff went through to make difficult downsizing decisions.

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