O’Neill Undergraduate Alumni Spotlight – Dana Leone


Name: Dana Leone 

Organization: Planet Forward 

Position: Vice President of Recruitment 

Location: Chicago, IL 

Alma Mater: Indiana University, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs  

The Career Hub had a chance to connect with Dana recently and get her career insights and advice for O’Neill students. 

Can you tell our students a little bit about yourself and the work that you do? 

  • Planet Forward is a recruitment agency that supports the HR realm. Planet Forward’s main objective is to help find professional talent for industries in the energy, environmental and manufacturing fields. The type of applicants Planet Forward recruits are different types of engineers, project managers, and more. Dana Leone is the Vice President of Recruitment within Planet Forward. 

What did your professional journey look like from college to your position today? 

  • While Dana Leone was a student at O’Neill School, she majored in Public Policy with a focus in Management. While at a career fair she was recruited by CH Robinson where she received her internship and then later was hired for a full-time position. After enjoying her position with CH Robinson, she was ready for a new challenge and utilized her brother, a Kelley student at the time, who had access to many job opportunities through a portal online. Through this job portal Dana was able to apply for jobs where she came across Planet Forward. Since then, Dana has been with this company for 10 years. 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow your career path? 

  • Advice for students and fresh graduates is to use their university network! IU alumni are proud graduates, and they want to help other IU graduates. Do not underestimate the strength of these connections. If she had not used her brother as a resource and taken a chance on a new career opportunity, she would never have been employed by Planet Forward. 

What skills are most important in your role? 

  • Keeping an open mind is extremely important in this recruitment while maintaining a resilient mindset. Within this role, deals can fall through and not giving up goes very far. Additionally, having fun and creating a positive environment within the workplace can make going to work an enjoyable experience. Lastly, persistence is key while facing professional challenges at work because every experience is a growth opportunity. 

Favorite networking technique or strategy? 

  • Dana Leone’s favorite networking technique is to utilize career portals, such as Handshake, when searching for job opportunities. Also, what worked for her while she was a student was taking advantage of career fairs! A career fair is how she got her first full time job opportunity. 

What drives you to be successful in your job every day? 

  • Dana is highly experienced and has been with Planet Forward for 10 years. She enjoys staffing and understands it fully, which allows her to be successful. This profession has many financial incentives and is very flexible since she can work remotely or from an office setting. Personally, Dana goes into the office at least four days a week since the culture within Planet Forward is so enriching. All these factors encourage her to be fully motivated when she comes to work each day. 


By Kiersten DeVries
Kiersten DeVries Peer Educator