Traci Ivester, ClearStar
We invite you to sit back, relax, and join us for a great interview with: Traci Ivester, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, ClearStar
Earning her degree in Criminal Justice was the starting point that led Traci to the background screening industry. Traci indicated that she has always been drive by a desire to play an important role in keep others safe and upon graduation, she entertained thoughts of going into law enforcement. She had a brief stint in an internship with a parole officer in south Georgia and while it was very interesting, she realized it was not her calling. However, fate intervened and a friend of hers was working in the privacy security industry and needed people to help with research. After working there a few months, the firm opened a background screening division and a new career path began.
One thing led to another and seventeen years later in the industry she finds herself at ClearStar. Traci emphasized that one thing she has noticed is that the loner she works in this industry, the more she realizes what an enormous impact we have on people’s lives. She added, “What we do, it’s not just pushing data back and forth, we handle delicate information and we assist our clients in making hiring decisions and creating safe work environments. In addition, it is also our responsibility to serve the applicant and to help them understand the process and to provide them all the information that they are entitled to under law.”
Traci also hit on what appears to be a recurring theme amongst the people we interview: How much she enjoys working with the people in this industry and “that the industry is filled with some very dynamic individuals working together to make our industry better.” She added, “The majority of us have the same goal – to be advocates for the applicant and the employer. Maybe we’re competitors, but the majority of us are able to pick up the phone and collaborate with each other. The majority of the folks in the industry are wonderful to work with.” She reflected as she noted that she attended the first NAPBS meeting in Arizona over ten years ago and formed some long lasting friendships. At that time, she was not working with ClearStar, but was a buyer of their technology and formed an alliance with others that were also clients of ClearStar.
She added that one of the things she definitely likes is working with her fellow coworkers at ClearStar. “Even though we all perform different roles, if one person or division needs help, everyone is willing to jump in to get the job done. It’s a very positive atmosphere to work in and to be a part of such a dynamic, caring team is an honor.”
Switching the conversation to focus on her business, she said, “First and foremost, our mission is to create a safer world, and we endeavor to do this through our values of quality, trust, transparency, and truthful representation. We live and operate by the credo of doing what it takes to make our world safer through our technology and service offerings. Our goal is to deliver accurate and timely information about people to those who have permission to see it.”
While choosing not to focus on any particular product or service, Traci emphasized that ClearStar has a team of dedicated developers who are constantly working to provide new features and enhancements to their systems and processes. She noted that they also offer a wide range of innovative solutions to help their clients operate more efficiently including things such as interactive applicant portals for submitting background information requests.
She beamed with pride in sharing that ClearStar has made Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500/5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies for the 6th year in a row. Also, ClearStar Background Check recently achieved NAPBS accreditation. Finally she wanted me to be sure to stress that ClearStar is more than just a technology platform. “We provide an array of screening services, background support, and we also provide a full array of drug testing services to satisfy our client’s needs through our MRO (Medical Review Office).
In addition, she wanted our readers to know that ClearStar is committed to giving back to our community in efforts to create a safer world. Examples of some initiatives include providing complimentary background checks to several non-profit companies, and ClearStar Logistics also offers discounted services to clients who work in conjunction with non-profit companies.
Moving conversation to my favorite question, “What do you see happening in the industry in ten years?” Traci believes in the future we will see the industry shift to even more technology-driven processes, fewer court researchers, more automation, and faster results. However, she believes the industry will always require a human eye to review the information on behalf of the applicant and the employer. She also thinks we will see more and more federal and state laws impacting the industry that will continue to affect what background screening companies can report.
While moving towards closing the interview I asked her, “Who is a person whether or alive or not that given the opportunity you would really like to meet?” Without hesitation she said, “To be honest, I’d like to meet my grandmother on my dad’s side. She passed away when my dad was a young boy when a drunk driver hit them head-on on their way home one Sunday afternoon. From her pictures, I can tell I have a lot of her features. Her pictures show an intriguing lady that was spirit and spunk. Anyone who knew her has vivid memories of how she doted over her family and how proud she was of her marriage and her children. She seemed to be the kind of person who was just happy to be alive. I have to believe a lot of my characteristics come from her and I’d love to be able to sit with her and have a conversation.” Clearly, Traci is a person that has a strong connection to her family and has an appreciation of the important role that family plays in each of our lives.
My final question was about her favorite quote and she offered: “You can’t just asked customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, the will want something new.” – Steve Jobs
She added that she believes this quote represents a lot of what ClearStar is all about: “Innovation and a deep understanding of the industry and our customers. We don’t want to be that company who just responds – we want to be a step ahead. We want to be able to offer our clients services or features that perhaps they didn’t know they needed, but that make a positive impact on how they operate.”