Nicole Smartt

Co-owner and VP, Star Staffing

Nicole Smartt started off part-time as a receptionist in the staffing industry while in college and is now co-owner and VP of Star Staffing. Smartt has been in staffing for 13 years, and became a business owner by age 25. Her Petaluma, Calif.-based staffing firm appeared on the Inc. 5000 list last year for the first time — when she was age 30 — and again this year. Smartt has also written a book entitled Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work, and is a radio host on careers and a columnist for her local newspaper.

She has also been quoted in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. “I enjoy meeting with clients and learning about their industry and their culture and then meeting with our team to find a perfect match,” Smartt says of the staffing industry. Future plans for her company include continued growth, with plans to open three new offices in the next two years.