Makervillage is supported by an assortment of amazing individuals and businesses. Today we feature a glimpse into the life of one of our advisors, and a great local entrepreneur, Layton Roberts.
A staffing agency. An art collection. A degree in Molecular and Pathogenic Microbiology. What do the items on this list have in common? Ordinarily nothing, but in this case, Layton Roberts is the shared denominator.
A sixth generation Roman and Darlington alum, Layton is currently the owner and visionary for Etowah Employment, a human resources company based in Rome employing thousands of temporary workers in the Southeastern United States. While you might expect a stiff uncultured suit, he is well acquainted with the work of Rembrandt and serves as a classic lesson in not judging a book by its LinkedIn profile. However, this paradox of passions is foundational to the enigma of Layton Roberts.
When he discusses his social circle, he mentions tweed jackets, cigar smoke, and politics. When he accounts for his free time, he references the Rome Area Council for the Arts, the National Monuments Foundation, and the Millennium Gate Museum. While you might be mentally painting a picture of a man sitting on a crushed velvet cushion, Layton graduated from the University of Georgia after studying biology, a very concrete and no frills education. As often is true, the multiplicity of life experiences creates multi-faceted individuals, and Layton is a prime example. However, for the sake of brevity and for the scope of this article, the identity of Layton Roberts can be distilled down to one word. Entrepreneur.
Outside of the desire to “be your own boss,” what is the value of entrepreneurship? And how can it change the world?
Entrepreneurship, of course, affords you the independence to do what you want when you want, and at the same time, creates an avenue for giving back to your community. And that last bit, that’s cool. That’s huge. Although I am a member of the Baby Boomer generation, I resonate with the anthem of Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials. We want to make a difference in our town, in our state, in our nation, and in our world, and it’s a burning desire.
However, I think the application can be tricky. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the world, but you have to identify in what way you’re going to do that. Is it through the lenses of local entrepreneurship and innovation? Is it a global movement? Personally, I think it is easier to be a catalyst for change when you can tackle it a bite at a time. When you focus on your region, you can see the ripple effect. It is like taking a small pebble, throwing it in a still lake, and watching the resulting concentric circles.
Although Layton owns his own business and is passionate about promoting the cause of other creative entrepreneurs, creativity is not the obvious theme of his life. A staffing agency means IRS forms, time sheets, and temp employee databases. However, Layton sees it with a different and richer set of eyes. Throughout his career with staffing giant Randstad and now with Etowah Employment, Layton has been on a mission to change the temporary worker culture. Largely the product of the generational gap between the employment expectations of baby boomers and twenty-somethings, “temp agencies” have a negative connotation. While the establishment may perceive career development as job-hopping, Layton sees it as a career matrix, the refining of a skillset through diverse employment opportunities and the exercising of those skills at different companies.
Through Etowah Employment and through informal mentoring relationships, Layton is the creator of creatives. His professional application of the creative process also breaks down any pretensions about the definition of creativity. It’s not only crafting a collection of short stories. It’s not only using film in the digital era. Layton Roberts knows it’s about finding your pebble and changing the world.