If she can, I can

Nadene Barretto is the founder of Eight Recruitment, a consultancy that is different, a little bold and pushes the boundaries, but very Novocastrian.

As a fun, charismatic individual with more than 21 years’ experience in recruitment, Nadene wanted to shake up the industry and create a brand that reflected her and her husband’s “nutty personalities”.

Part of her success lies in her generosity of spirit.  As a mother, wife and entrepreneur, an important part of her philosophy revolves around fostering relationships by putting candidates and clients at the centre of the business, and giving back to the community through sponsorship and partnerships.

  1. Do you know why your parents chose Catholic education for you? And why you chose to also put your children into the Catholic school system?

I come from generations of Irish Catholics. I don’t think there was ever another option. I absolutely loved my time in the local Catholic education system, K-6 at St Joseph’s Charlestown, Years 7–10 at St Mary’s, Gateshead and Years 11–12 at St Francis Xavier, Hamilton.  

I really wanted to go to Whitebridge High for Years 11 and 12, but my parents were having none of it. They knew Catholic schools offered a high-quality education and they told me it would “look better on my resume” – and they were right.  

It’s for these reasons I have put my three kids through the Catholic school system and also the fact the schools focus on the entire child — their mental, physical, and spiritual selves — as well as core values they take with them throughout their entire lives. 

  1. What led you to entrepreneurship in recruitment?

At the time of starting Eight Recruitment, I had been in recruitment for more than 11 years, working in Newcastle, the UK and Ireland and I knew the industry needed a bit of a shake-up.  We had three kids under the age of three and when my eldest was about to start school, I had to get the balance right between being a mum to three small children and getting a buzz from my career at the same time.  Back then, there just wasn’t an option for part-time work in recruitment so I created my own business where I could work the flexible hours I needed whilst challenging the status quo in the recruitment industry. 

  1. An integral part of your business philosophy lies in giving back to the community through sponsorship and participation. Why is this important to you?

Catholic schools promote service as an essential component of their curriculum, and really promote that community is at the heart of who we are. 

We have been really lucky in life and I feel that it is our obligation to give back and support the community.  We have been heavily involved in supporting a number of rugby teams, the kids’ schools and have worked very closely with our favourite charity, Got Your Back Sista. 

  1. Eight Recruitment recently sponsored the Mick “Whale” Curry Memorial Rugby Sevens. What drew you to support women’s sport? 

I was blown away that the prize money was significantly higher in the men’s competition than it was in the concurrent women’s comp. I remember thinking that shouldn’t be happening in 2020. I wanted our two daughters to see and know that women in sport and women in general are deserving of equal pay.   

  1. What are the benefits in organisations partnering together to deliver programs and support community initiatives?

It’s a huge win-win for everyone.   

A great example is the most recent rugby team we are sponsoring, the Newcastle Wildfires.  Newcastle haven’t had a team in Sydney’s Shute Shield competition for 18 years and the rugby community are so passionate they have completely supported the team.  Given how many of these businesses are hurting right now, the NHRU still managed to bring 11 businesses on board, at very short notice, to support the cause.   

There is no hiding the fact that benefits for the businesses is exposure to a certain demographic, but it’s also knowing that you are doing something for the community, you are giving back and are surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are doing the same.  

  1. How did your ambassadorship come about for Inspiring Rare Birds (empowering more women entrepreneurs)? What advice do you have for women looking to entrepreneurship?

I met Jo Burston when I first started Eight Recruitment more than nine years ago.  I kept coming across her profile in business publications, so I reached out to her to thank her for inspiring young women in business.  She invited me out for lunch and our friendship has kept growing.  When she asked me to be Newcastle’s Ambassador for Inspiring Rare Birds I absolutely jumped at the opportunity. 

I’ve met so many women, of all ages, who are more than capable of starting their own business but don’t back themselves. I tend to laugh and tell them “if I can do it anyone can do it”. That’s why Inspiring Rare Birds mantra of “If She Can I Can” really resonates with me. I have made quite a few mistakes along the way, but I will never die wondering “what if?” 

  1. Is faith a big part of your life? If yes, how has it helped?

Faith is still a huge part of my life.  One thing I have really taken from my Catholic upbringing is the whole believing is something that you can’t see, having faith that someone or something bigger than yourself is looking over you, whether you call it God, Energy, the Universe, whatever it may be, this belief has been a huge part of my life and has really helped me get through the past couple of months in particular.   

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Brittany Gonzalez Image
Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is Communications Co-ordinator in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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