From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
Meet TorchLight Hire – an Alexandria-based business that has been on the Inc. 5000 list for four of the past five years! We talked with Heidi Parsont, President & CEO, to learn more about the business and how they have continued to sustain growth over the past decade.
AEDP: Can you tell us a little about your business and what you do?
Heidi: TorchLight is a staffing and recruitment agency. From contractors to consultants to full-time permanent positions, we find the talent our clients are looking for. We specialize exclusively in marketing and communications talent—everything from creative to digital to traditional marketing and PR roles to BD, fundraising, and development positions.
AEDP: How did you get started?
Heidi: In early 2012, I was at a crossroads in my career. I had been in staffing with another agency and thought I wanted to do something else. Despite my departure, candidates continued to reach out for advice. When that job wasn’t a good fit, I realized that I missed recruiting and making matches, so I decided to try it on my own.
AEDP: Would you share a fun fact about yourself?
Heidi: When I met my husband, we realized that we had a shared love of travel. I also quickly realized that my dual national husband (French/American) had the golden ticket for living abroad. For the 2019-2020 school year, we moved to France with our two middle school-aged children and lived outside Paris for the year. While Coronavirus put a damper on it, we had an exciting year filled with lots of travel, new friends, foreign cultures and delicious baguettes!
AEDP: And what is the most rewarding aspect of running TorchLight Hire?
Heidi: When I started my business, I had 2 very young kids. Flexibility was the thing I needed most. I wanted to attend my kids’ events and pursue other interests. I set up the company remotely and as I began to hire, I was able to offer new employees flexible schedules. The flexibility and remote nature of the work attracted strong candidates who might not have otherwise considered working for a start-up. We have had excellent retention because of this. We were remote before remote was the norm!
AEDP: Last question is a two-part: what’s your personal favorite thing about Alexandria, and why did you choose to locate your business here?
Heidi: Personally, I love our quality of life in Alexandria and being so close to DC without actually being in the midst of the city. However, my favorite thing about Alexandria is Del Ray. I’ve lived in Alexandria for 15 years but I worked in Del Ray in the mid-1990’s and have seen the incredible changes starting with St. Elmo’s and now looking at a diverse set of businesses along Mt. Vernon Ave. I love the small town nature of Del Ray and ability to eat so many different kinds of food from Mexican to Italian, from hamburgers to bagels. I also love how dog friendly it is especially now that we have a 2nd rescue.
We have been living here for 15 years so it was only natural that I would open here due to the remote nature of our work. The city was helpful in setting up the business and has a lot of resources available. Our Alexandria address also leads people to frequently ask about Old Town and where we are because so many people enjoy Alexandria.
To learn more about TorchLight Hire, visit their website.