EVP of Supply Chain & Transformation
Vice President of Operations
Director of Special Projects
Director of Operations
Operational Efficiency Consultant
Director of Inventory
Mike De Pietro
Enterprise Account Executive
Finance Advisor - Strategic Business Unit
Director, Human Resources
CCO & CEO
Matteo - Success Study
EVP of Supply Chain & Transformation
Matteo was senior director of worldwide supply chain for a leading designer and producer of luxury accessories.
Soon after starting a new job, Matteo’s new company turned out not to be a good cultural fit, but his efforts to find another job weren’t yielding the results he wanted.
Learning how to “pay it forward” as he built his social capital unlocked untapped potential in Matteo’s network.
Within four months, Matteo had four competing job offers, giving him the luxury of choosing the company where he felt the greatest kinship with his new team.
For seven years, Matteo worked for a venerable apparel company in New York City, culminating in a role as vice president of global supply chain. When the pandemic compounded existing economic pressures, however, the business struggled to stay afloat. Matteo saw the handwriting on the wall and put feelers out to his network for new job opportunities. He was thrilled when, before long, he was approached by a large, international designer and producer of luxury accessories, which offered him a role as senior director of worldwide supply chain.
It was an exciting change for him, but unfortunately short-lived. Within months, it became clear that Matteo’s new opportunity was not a good cultural fit. He launched another job search, but this time things proved harder than the first search.
“I started with a soft approach in the early summer. I hired someone to redo my resume and I took a couple of courses on LinkedIn,” said Matteo. “I used LinkedIn more heavily over time, but by late fall I had exhausted my network. I didn’t know where else to go to get referrals.”
Matteo had a good network, but his efforts yielded few results. Frustrated, he turned to a friend who suggested he look at The Barrett Group for help.
“I spent a week researching The Barrett Group and decided to give it a try. I realized I needed very structured help and I found it with them,” said Matteo. “I really love that the program combines, holistically, several different elements of job searching, like coaching, clarity, and offer negotiation tactics – I call them weapons.”
Matteo began the Clarity Program in December and was surprised by how much he learned about himself in just four or five sessions.
“My coach, Beata Piskorz, was very nice, very professional, and always available. Beata really challenged me to brainstorm different things about myself. She particularly homed in on character traits that emerged from my psych test that seemed a bit unusual,” said Matteo. “For example, I’m in the fashion industry, which is inherently uncertain, but it turns out that I like structure and compliance. Those traits lean towards industries where much is pre-determined. As we explored this, it revealed more potential career paths that I never would have thought to consider. It was an eye-opening moment.”
Matteo discovered that he now had three avenues he could pursue in the course of his job search: 1) fashion and luxury; 2) innovation, and 3) consulting.
“I was very excited by this information. We decided that I would not leave the fashion and luxury world, but that I would pursue all three avenues in my job search.”
After Clarity, Matteo transitioned to working with his career consultant, Isabelita Castilho.
“Isabelita was a force of nature!” said Matteo. “I cannot say enough good things about her. She was also great about availability – and I was terrible about bombarding her with meeting requests. She is the kind of coach that is tough but in a fair way. She would sometimes tell me to stop and focus. I really appreciated that from her.”
The first things they worked on were Matteo’s resume and LinkedIn profile.
“I had already hired someone to redo my resume back in July, so it was already in good shape. But The Barrett Group team made it even better,” said Matteo. With LinkedIn, I learned that your profile shouldn’t be a cut and paste of your resume. That change alone has been impactful. I also changed my header and picture. All this coaching was very beneficial.”
For Matteo, the most valuable aspect of his TBG experience, however, was learning how to optimize his social capital.
“Learning about the concept of paying it forward from Isabelita was a lightbulb moment for me. I had a decent network and had always kept good relationships, but I realized from her that I wasn’t maximizing them,” said Matteo. “When I started to nurture my network using pro bono consulting in the way Isabelita suggested, that is when my job search really started to take off.”
Matteo came to fully appreciate the power of paying it forward from his experience with two or three particular people in his network.
“One of my contacts knows a lot of people and had provided me with some names a few months back, but nothing came of those contacts,” said Matteo. “After I hired The Barrett Group, I called him again and offered to put him in touch with a former boss of mine, who would be a great professional contact for this guy. During that conversation, he was surprised to learn that I was still looking for a job.”
That’s the moment that unleashed the potential of Matteo’s social capital. His contact provided him four to five more names at high-caliber companies that he could connect with.
“That individual was responsible for two of the job offers I got,” said Matteo.
Matteo found that his paying-it-forward efforts quickly created a dynamic job search. Within two months, he had as many as four job offers, not to mention several other budding opportunities.
“The most difficult part was making sure I was getting good offers from all the companies. Isabelita was always a point of reference for me. I tend to rush things during job offer negotiations, but she told me not to message the hiring managers too much or I might appear overeager and get a lower offer. It paid off!”
In the end, Matteo accepted a position as executive VP of operations and transformation for a luxury fashion company in New York City, where he got a great feeling about everyone he met.
“The human element is important to me, and, here, the whole team seem to be really good people,” said Matteo.
Matteo is thrilled by his new opportunity, and he knows that he has all the tools he will need if he finds himself in the job market again.
“This pay it forward thing is so easy, yet it’s such a powerful tool,” said Matteo. “Once you see the potential it can unleash, it’s fantastic! It’s one of the best things about the TBG program!”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Diane - Success Study
Vice President of Operations
Diane had a distinguished corporate career when she decided to launch into a consulting role.
After two years in a consulting role, Diane realized that she preferred and wanted to return to a corporate environment.
Focusing on tools to leverage her social capital, Diane quickly saw successes but was holding out to find the right job – when an unexpected development demanded her attention.
After an extensive assessment of an exciting opportunity, Diane found her path forward and negotiated a better salary, better perks, a better title and a sign-on bonus that more than covered her career management fees.
Long before engaging The Barrett Group, Diane had an exceptionally distinguished career, working with some of the most exclusive brands in the world. She had been a senior vice president for a designer and marketer of luxury tableware and then a luxury goods corporation, serving as a chief information officer for prestigious luxury brands. Eventually, a friend of Diane’s convinced her to make a change. “A good friend of mine owned a consulting firm and was preparing for a crucial launch. He was looking for someone to handle the operations side and to actually execute the launch. I thought it would be very interesting and was excited about it.” So, Diane made a leap.
And Diane landed. “We successfully launched the product.” But like with any leap in life, it’s not just about the jump and the landing, it’s also about where exactly you find yourself in the end. “After two years in the consulting world, well, it was something that just didn’t appeal to me. I realized I was more cutout for corporate positions.” And so, Diane determined that she needed to summon up the strength and courage, and time and energy, to make another leap.
From the beginning, Diane recognized that she needed certain skills—skills that she felt she lacked. “I was all over. I was in my late fifties, and for all of my career I had never had to network or seek employment. I was always sought out or retained by search agencies or whatever. So, I really didn’t have the skills or know-how to use products like LinkedIn and those kinds of things.”
Diane recognized the true value of such skills. She did not need to be convinced that better marketing, promotion, and use of technology can determine the success or failure of a brand. “So, I started to do some research, and I looked at a few different companies. The Barrett Group was one of them, and, basically, after speaking with two other companies, I chose Barrett. I liked what they had to say. I liked the process they described. And I thought they could be beneficial, helping me seek what I wanted to do.”
Diane quickly got to work together with her consultant. “So, I became very active. On a weekly basis. I did my homework with my consultant.” First, they focused on the tools needed to promote her brand, including her resume and her LinkedIn. “Learning how to use some of the more sort of hidden or secretive features of LinkedIn was extremely helpful.” They then used those tools to promote her brand through leveraging her social capital. “I re-established contact with a lot of my former coworkers and such, which was extremely helpful. I networked with people who were peers at the time I worked with them, but who were now in executive roles like CEO.”
Diane quickly got results. “I landed an interview with a sporting goods company in New York.” But the purpose of The Barret Group is not to find a job for their clients. It is to find the right job for their clients. Diane rejected the opportunity with the complete support of her career consultant. “I ultimately decided that it was not something I was interested in, based upon their structure and things of that nature.”
And then came a twist. “In the middle of all of this my friend sold his consulting company to a firm that specialized in SAP consulting.” The new management showed they appreciated Diane and offered her a new opportunity. “They asked me if I would stay on as the VP of operations.”
Diane and The Barrett Group pivoted immediately—together and in sync. “I spoke to my consultant about it, and we looked at the pros and cons of continuing my search or moving forward with the new management.” Diane was now at least tempted to stay. “In the end, I considered a variety of factors, like some of the things that were promised to me, some of the opportunities that I would have, and the fact that I would now be part of a much larger organization with more structure. So, I decided to stay.”
Although a decision had been made, neither Diane nor her consultant lost focus. “So, my consultant at Barrett and I switched gears and she helped me negotiate the package with the new ownership. She was extremely helpful, taking me through the steps to do that successfully.”
Diane’s consultant had proved her value to Diane during the decision-making process, and she proved herself again during the negotiations process, a necessary step to making her decision a reality. “I probably would not have negotiated the salary and everything else I ended up with, you know, the perks that came with it, the terms of the contract and all those other things. I can't thank The Barrett Group enough.”
“I had been a chief information officer. The operations officer role was something I had never really been in before. It was new and exciting, and I looked forward to it.” And, finally, like many Barrett clients, she of course had a better salary, better perks, and a better title, as well as one other outcome. “You know, I received a sign-on bonus that more than covered The Barrett Group’s fees.”
“I have talked to many people who have been considering The Barret Group and have successfully joined the company. I would say that if you really feel you don't have those skills, don't try learning them on your own, because time is of the essence, because most especially because the people I do reference calls with are sort of in my same situation, a seasoned professional with a lot of younger competition.”
“I would say that it was so worth the expenditure of fees versus the return. So there's a great return on investment.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Bibi - Success Study
Director of Special Projects
Bibi was chief administrative officer for a large university, where she worked for 24 years.
Bibi wanted a change, but she didn’t know how to navigate the modern job market.
After learning her professional value and best practices for a successful job search, Bibi had the confidence to try for her dream job.
Leveraging the unpublished market, Bibi’s dream employer offered her a position and invited her to write the job description herself.
Bibi had spent 24 years working as an administrator of a large state university. In addition to leading a team of staff members across several divisions and streamlining administrative processes, she had significant financial and budgetary responsibilities. Bibi enjoyed her work for many years, but over time, she became disillusioned. The higher she rose in the organization, the less her values fit with the mission of the university. She decided to take a leap of faith and try to find a more fulfilling career.
“My job was so much red tape and yucky politics,” said Bibi. “When I realized that I could retire and get benefits, I decided to see what else was out there.”
After so long at the same organization, Bibi had no idea what opportunities there might be and little idea of how to pursue them. She enlisted help to write a resume and create a LinkedIn profile, then she began applying to job postings. A few months later she started using recruiters.
“I wasn’t getting any response. It was depressing and scary,” she said. “I realized then that I needed help navigating this new world of the job market.”
Bibi’s job search was clouded by the stress of having left her previous position without a clear Plan B. “I felt demoralized and needed someone to help me recognize my own value,” she said. “Recruiters weren’t the right answer for me. They are paid if you’re hired, which is a different financial motivation than for someone who is hired to help you find fulfilling employment. I wanted someone to help me process the circumstances of how I had left my last job, give me confidence, and guide me in the process of finding another career. I wanted someone who cared about helping me to succeed and who could tell me ‘This is what we think you can do.’”
That is when Bibi discovered The Barrett Group. After only one week, Bibi knew what she really wanted to do – and that her dream was within reach.
“I was eager to do something I really care about, which is working with trees. But I never, in a million years, thought I’d be able to do it.”
Bibi was paired up with a consultant that she found to be a great fit. He counseled her on what the job market is like and what her job search approach should be – namely, tapping the unpublished market. He and his team gathered information about environmental groups, specifically one organization of which Bibi was a huge fan.
“Waffles was so supportive in ways that went beyond pep talks. I appreciated that he didn’t just tell me things that he thought I wanted to hear. He was reality-based.”
Bibi felt nervous about contacting CEOs directly, but she did it. “Waffles told me that I will hear back from only about 5-10% of people, but when I do, I will experience magic.”
By Bibi’s account, Waffles was right. She got few responses to her emails, but one that she did get was from the CEO of the very organization that she was most eager to connect with. He invited her to meet and promptly told Bibi that he wanted her to work for him. As he had no specific position for her to fill, he essentially invited Bibi to write a job description for herself. Soon thereafter, he offered her a job – and a salary that exceeded the salaries of similar non-profit positions.
“What I learned about the unpublished market changed my whole approach to job seeking and led to a very successful ending,” said Bibi. “To say it’s a dream come true is an understatement. I’m still in shock! I would never have gotten this job without The Barrett Group.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Matt Fretwell - Success Study
Director of Operations
Matt Fretwell was an entrepreneur who wore many hats: adjunct professor, author, church starter, pastor, and leadership and life coach.
After a long career starting successful businesses, Matt was facing burnout. He wanted to find one position that would fulfill his many passions, but he didn’t know what role that might be.
Matt got enormous value from being pushed to honestly assess his values in the Clarity Program and aligning them with his talents to develop a more fulfilling, strategic career plan.
Matt proposed creating a director of operations position to a startup nonprofit where he volunteered as a life coach, negotiating a graduated compensation plan they could grow into.
A self-professed visionary and innovator, Matt Fretwell had spent 20 years following his passions and creating successes out of just about everything he put his hand to. A talented chef, he launched his entrepreneurial career as owner and operator of several acclaimed restaurants. Later, his faith led him to create non-profit ministries, found and revitalize churches, develop doctorate-level training programs for other church starters, and pen multiple inspiring books. His depth and range of experience made Matt a sought-after consultant about leadership, ministry, and community engagement for many organizations.
Matt loved what he did, but over time, the challenges of juggling so many roles in his career began to wear him down. Facing burnout, Matt decided to make a change. He wanted to channel his gifts and talents into one position that would both pay the bills and fulfill his many passions.
“I was getting tired of having multiple streams of income. It’s a lot of work shifting gears,” said Matt. “I felt a push to transition to the business side of altruism and thought that a C-suite level position in the nonprofit world might align well with my gifting and talents.”
Matt knew well his strengths and interests: restoring humanity, community outreach, public speaking, strategic organization, and leadership, to name a few. He also knew, however, that finding a position that utilized all his qualities would be difficult. So, he enlisted professional help.
“I wanted to make a shift and do it right, so I figured I needed a team,” said Matt. “The Navy SEALs have a saying: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team.’ I chose longevity.”
It was humbling at first for Matt to be on the receiving end of coaching sessions because he was used to being the person administering consulting services to others. He was astonished to discover how much his thinking developed when he yielded to the process.
“The Barrett Group really exceeded my initial expectations. I thought I’d just need their help locating a good fit at the income level I was seeking. I didn’t expect to need help in personality assessment, but I was fooling myself. My [Clarity] coach, Ken Malouf, really challenged me to be honest and transparent about my values and goals. Those discussions revealed a lot about how I could follow my inclinations,” said Matt. “Sometimes it is beneficial for us to swallow our pride and recognize that we need a fresh set of eyes to look at our situation.”
Over four weeks Matt took various assessments. Then he and his coach worked together to identify goals that align with Matt’s talents and values and create a long-term personal strategic plan.
“It was eye-opening. You think you know yourself, but I learned that I have some deep-seated values that I was pushing away. This was partly why I was burning out. Ken would dig deeper and uncover things that I hadn’t put on paper. He’s got a great talent!”
Matt was equally appreciative of his coaching experience when he moved onto the next phase.
“I really enjoyed working with Lori Chevalier. There is a lot you learn in this second phase, much of it about social media,” said Matt. “I had always thought of myself as an experienced networker – I have thousands of connections on LinkedIn and Facebook – but I’d always been on the side of helping others. It was uncomfortable for me to be in the position of asking someone else for help. But I went with it.”
Matt also really valued how Lori pushed him to use metrics in his interviews, negotiations, and resume. What he thought had been a really good resume was not actually the case, so “reconstructing” his resume was highly beneficial. When he began shopping it around to recruiters, his inbox blew up with responses.
The Covid crisis hit in the middle of Matt’s job search and dampened recruiter interest, but he continued to use LinkedIn to find appealing opportunities and leverage his connections to develop an “in”, having faith in the process.
Matt was aiming for a C-suite level position at a nonprofit or a small business with an altruistic mission. He thought he might have found the right fit with a cancer foundation where he interviewed for a director of operations position. They wanted him to raise $5 million for their organization and he knew he could do it. But something felt off.
“I wish I could do for Salvage USA what this potential employer wants me to do,” Matt told his wife. He was referring to a startup nonprofit organization that engages emotionally-scarred military personnel in restorative, community-focused activities. As a volunteer life coach at Salvage USA, the organization had become near and dear to his heart. To his surprise, his wife suggested he talk to the team at Salvage about it.
As luck would have it, the founder of Salvage quickly recognized the value to his organization of bringing Matt on as a director of operations. He didn’t have the money to pay Matt much, but Matt proposed that he work largely on an incentive basis the first year, taking a percentage of any new money he might bring in, rather than a straight salary.
“He took my proposal to the board and they agreed!” said Matt. “That came about through the coaching I got with Ken and Lori. I utilized all the things I’d learned. It was comprehensive.”
Just two weeks into his new job, Matt is loving the challenge and a renewed sense of purpose from helping a cause he deeply admires.
“I’ve already submitted a half a million dollars in grant proposals to 12 different organizations. I have even more lined up. In the end, if I do my job well, it will more than pay itself off. I would have not have taken this position, with a compensation incentive like this, if not for The Barrett Group. They have given me confidence that I can do this!”
Agata Lewandowska - Success Study
Operational Efficiency Consultant
Agata Lewandowska was head of administration and facility management at the Polish affiliate of a multinational engineering and technology company.
Administration, Engineering, Technology, Finance, Health, Non-Profit, Audit
When her husband was offered a job in Geneva, Agata quit her own job in Warsaw and looked for a new one in Switzerland, but job hunting was challenging in another country.
Agata revised her CV and LinkedIn profile and worked hard to develop a network of contacts in Geneva where she knew no one.
Within about three months, Agata was offered a position as an operational efficiency consultant at a major non-governmental organization with a much better compensation package than she’d expected.
Agata Lewandowska was head of administration and facility manager at the Polish affiliate of a multinational engineering and technology company in Warsaw. She loved her job and was highly valued by the company for her skill in optimizing processes and creating efficiencies. However, she and her husband hankered for adventure, and they knew that they were unlikely to come by it unless they actively took steps to make it happen.
“I adored working at my company, but we wanted a change. Our life was very comfortable, but if you don’t consciously change things, you could do the same thing for your whole life,” said Agata. “So, my husband took a job in Switzerland, and we moved to Geneva.”
The move was good timing for Agata who was pursuing an MBA at the time and was stretched thin by the demands of her intensive academic load on top of work and family responsibilities. She left her job and spent her first year in Switzerland concentrating on completing her degree. Although she welcomed the relative break it afforded her, Agata’s new normal required her to fly back to Warsaw each weekend for classes and exams and left her no time to develop relationships in Switzerland.
As soon as she graduated, Agata was eager to get back to work. She had been out of the workforce for 10 months, by that point, but figured that having an MBA would open new doors for her. She underestimated the hurdles she would encounter, however.
“In Geneva they speak French. To work as a head administration or facility manager again, I’d have to speak fluent French, which I don’t – I speak French at an intermediate level. So, I thought I would target a role as a business analyst or project manager at an international company because I have solid experience in those two areas and, at an international company, I could use English,” said Agata.
Agata was industry-agnostic, which should have made her job search easier, but no matter how many jobs she applied to, no matter how well she fit an advertised position, her search went nowhere.
“I updated my CV and applied for numerous positions, but I got no responses at all. Nothing. It was like I was sending applications into the depths of the universe,” said Agata. “Many people told me I should forget about my experience and apply for junior roles, but I didn’t want to take a huge step back in my career. After three months, I knew I needed help.”
That’s when Agata found The Barrett Group.
“I had a list of top-level headhunters from my MBA program, but I didn’t want a headhunter. I wanted a job. Headhunters just try to fit people into jobs that are available. I wanted an organization with a different approach. The Barrett Group was the only company of this kind that I found.”
Agata started the Clarity program in December and valued the confirmation it gave her of her strengths and attributes.
“I have undergone lots of training and development programs, so I wasn’t surprised by the outcomes of the Clarity assessments, but after being out of work for so long I had started to doubt the value that I offer employers,” said Agata. “Clarity not only affirmed that, but also it gave me a good idea of how to leverage my strengths and discuss my weaknesses in a realistic and positive way.”
In the next phase of TBG’s program, Agata worked with her coach to revise her CV, her motivation letter, and her LinkedIn profile. At the same time, her coach gave her exercises to begin building her network.
“It felt like the revision of my documents took a long time, but I realized later that it was designed that way to give me time to do the networking exercises. I had little experience with that, and I had very few contacts at all in Switzerland – 95% of my network was in Poland,” said Agata.
Agata’s coach, Rebeca Gelencser, had her start by reaching out to contacts in Poland to get used to the process. Then she showed her how to reach out to people in Switzerland.
“I didn’t have a lot of confidence at that point, but Rebeca was so supportive of me. She seemed more confident in me than I was in myself!” said Agata.
As Agata developed her network, Rebeca showed her how best to communicate her skills.
“After about a month, I could see things starting to roll. I would talk to someone, who gave me the contact information of someone else. It was a really precious exercise,” said Agata. “To be honest, I never got to the point where I felt entirely comfortable with it because then I found a job!”
Agata’s coach learned of a great opportunity and brought it to Agata’s attention.
“Rebeca saw a position for process optimization at a major non-governmental funding organization and connected me with the recruiter. This was the first job I applied to for which I felt my skills matched 100% and which also matched my requirements. It seemed perfect for me.”
After submitting a CV, Agata was invited to interview and take an assessment. She was delighted when the recruiter then invited her to apply for a second position in a different department.
“I was pursuing opportunities in two different departments. I finally got an offer from the first one, which I preferred. The offer was way higher than I expected, and I accepted it without waiting to hear about the second position.”
Agata is delighted to be back to work and in a role that offers challenge commensurate with her experience. The uniqueness of her success isn’t lost on her.
“It’s really hard to get a job if you arrive unemployed in a country where you have no network. All the immigrants I know in Switzerland said it was inevitable that I would have to take a lower-level position.”
Agata credits The Barrett Group program, and especially her coach, for helping her to forge a new path.
“I used to wonder who on earth would pay for a coach. I felt that I could always motivate myself – but that isn’t always the case. I often felt so discouraged. But Rebeca gave me strength and optimism after every conversation. She made me feel that I could do it,” said Agata. “The Barrett Group was so valuable because it offered me a different approach. I’m not yet comfortable with networking, but I’m sold on the process, and I’m going to keep working at it.”
Gian Toro - Success Study
Director of Inventory
Gian Toro was general manager of sourcing for a private, regional auto dealership in the Midwest.
When his company’s management required staff to work from the office during the Covid pandemic, Gian resolved to quit, but first he wanted help finding a better and more challenging position.
Gian learned how to quantify and present his accomplishments to make them attention-grabbing both on his resume and in interviews.
In under three months, Gian was offered a challenging new opportunity as director of inventory for an exciting, virtual auto sales initiative with the potential to make 50% more in compensation.
As general manager of sourcing for a private, regional auto dealership in the Chicago area, Gian Toro oversaw and managed the full lifecycle and profitability of inventory and successfully lead and directed 12 people on his buying team. When the Covid pandemic began, Gian became increasingly frustrated with management for setting a policy requiring staff to work from the office.
“Although I spent 90% of my day behind a computer screen, they wanted my team and me to be in the office every day,” said Gian. “I got a lot of pushback from my team about that, and I had to figure out how to rotate 12 people into and out of the office each day to maintain social distancing. It was a big point of contention and a poorly thought-out policy.”
For peace of mind, Gian decided to leave the company and seek new opportunities closer to family in Charlotte, and possibly in a new industry. Before even launching his search, he resolved to enlist the help of an executive coach.
“Before I got my last job I missed out on a great job in Charlotte in the construction industry. I would have been a strong match for the role, but I flat-out flubbed the interview because of differences in industry nomenclature and because I wasn’t prepared for the kinds of questions they would ask,” said Gian.
This time Gian wanted professional support preparing for interviews and making sure his resume shone. He researched several organizations and settled on The Barrett Group (TBG).
“Once I saw what The Barrett Group offered, that was it. They seemed to have the most complete package,” said Gian.
Gian started with the Clarity Program and found that the results of the DISC personality assessment cemented the suppositions he already had about himself and helped him refine the characteristics of the role he wanted: leadership, design, and implementation.
“I’ve taken other personality assessments, but what I like about DISC is that you can apply the findings to the next step – namely, ‘Are you in the right job?’” said Gian.
Gian met weekly with Sharon Richter, his Clarity coach first.
“I liked working with Sharon. We really connected well. We had insightful conversations and she made it fun to go through stuff that could have been boring and tedious,” said Gian.
In the next phase, Gian got enormous value out of his meetings with his career coach, Lori Chevalier.
“Lori was awesome. I was always excited to meet with her. She really challenged me,” said Gian. “It was hard for me to quantify my accomplishments, but she really pushed me to do it in a clear and concise manner. The change in my resume was like night and day – and I didn’t embellish a thing! To a hiring manager it popped, rather than being just another piece of paper in the pile.”
Gian also credits Lori with excellent interview preparation.
“Interviewing was one of my main concerns,” said Gian. “But Lori taught me how to present myself as more than a guy buying inventory – I am building and training teams, creating processes and procedures, and writing policy.
For Gian, learning how to identify his accomplishments and break down the business impact of those accomplishments was huge.
“I know the value I bring to the table, but quantifying it into dollars, translating it into a concise resume, and talking it through during an interview is hard. The Barrett Group helped me process all that.”
When Gian officially began letting people know he was looking for a job, things moved very fast.
“I asked a contact of mine for feedback on my resume, and he happened to know of someone who was looking for someone with my experience and skills. Within two weeks we were all connected,” said Gian.
The position was with an auto dealership network to build out a pandemic-induced initiative to buy, sell, and service cars entirely online for customers who don’t want to visit a dealership at all. Gian’s role would be to buy cars, develop teams, and manage inventory in a way that limits physical points of contact between people.
Gian had multiple interviews with various people over several weeks at the end of which he was offered the position.
“I was looking to get out of the auto industry because I was looking for a new challenge. But this challenge is big enough to entice me to stay. Plus, I can be Covid-conscious and work remotely from wherever I want to. That is huge! Not being 800 miles away from family will be fantastic,” said Gian.
Two months into his new role, Gian couldn’t be happier.
“I would have missed out on this job if I had not hired The Barrett Group,” said Gian. “There was nothing that wasn’t valuable about my experience. Everything played a role in making me ready to land this job. For me to have done so in the time I did…I can’t say enough good things about The Barrett Group.”
Mike De Pietro - Success Study
Enterprise Account Executive
Mike De Pietro was an enterprise account executive for a startup that offers university career centers a software platform to facilitate the job-seeking process for graduates and recruiters.
Software, Recruiting, Startup, Health & Wellness
Soon after starting a new job, Mike knew that he had made a mistake. Hoping to avoid another career misstep, he sought professional help in reflecting on and making his next move.
After looking at his life holistically, Mike better understood what motivates him and he determined to prioritize culture over job title and paycheck in his next job.
Within four months, Mike landed a similar position in another startup that offers the culture, corporate structure and employee support that was lacking at his previous position – and at a better compensation level.
Mike De Pietro was an enterprise account executive in New York City for a California startup that provides an enterprise-level SaaS platform for university career centers to facilitate the job-seeking process for new graduates and the companies that recruit them. He was brand new to the company.
For years, Mike had worked in the human resources and talent space at tech startups, juggling a variety of responsibilities from doing sales demos, generating leads, and working with junior sales team members to build robust sales pipelines. He was recruited from his previous job to do a similar role at this new company, and he decided to make the change, not least, because he was offered a compensation package that was more in line with where he thought his compensation should be at this point in his career.
Within three to four weeks, however, he was planning an exit strategy.
“It was a disaster from the start,” said Mike. “Except for receiving a laptop out of the box, I had no communication from anyone at the company before my start date. No employment forms. I was working remotely, and I couldn’t get in contact with anyone on my first day. I couldn’t get benefits set up. There were red flags all over the place. As a salesperson, I wondered, ‘If I can’t get benefits, would the collateral material be in place when it came time to close corporate deals?’ I knew I needed to get out.”
Mike’s frustration made him think it might be time to get out of the sales and startup worlds altogether and try something completely different. A transition like that, though, would require professional help.
“I was tired of it. That’s what made me sign up for The Barrett Group [TBG],” said Mike. “I definitely wanted a professional resume writer because I didn’t know how to tell my story well. And the more I thought about it, career coaching – and the reflection that comes from that – seemed really attractive.”
Mike soon began meeting with Justin Hellman, his TBG Clarity coach.
“Clarity was great, really helpful! It was good to work through the personality pieces of work – the importance of management style and culture,” said Mike. “And for the first time ever I focused on the holistic perspective of my career. I considered ‘What is important to me?’ and ‘What do I want my life to look like?’ That changed my mindset.”
Although he had initially thought that he was done with sales and wanted a wholesale career change – perhaps to work at a museum or a foundation – Mike realized through his Clarity exercises that many aspects of sales, like autonomy, are actually quite important to him and he may not find them in other careers. Moreover, pursuing jobs that fueled his passions could compromise him financially.
“Clarity was a dash of reality for me. It reframed things for me. I asked myself what in work and work-life balance would make me happy. Would the stress of taking a massive pay cut, especially living in New York City, be worth doing something different? Given where I am in life, I decided it would not.”
In discussions with Justin and, later, Larry DiBoni, his career consultant, Mike concluded that a sales position was the best choice for him as long as his work environment had the right culture, a good leader, and stability. He also learned that he could get exposure to the non-profit institutions that inspired him by joining their boards – even as he continued to make the income he was used to. Lastly, he resolved to find a job that had a physical office to go to.
“I have experienced a lot of mental wear and tear from working remotely in my apartment. It is important to me to have the option to be around colleagues a couple of days per week,” said Mike.
Armed with a new outlook and a solid plan, Mike got to work on his job search, starting with a redo of his resume and LinkedIn profile.
“My Barrett Group resume is far more in-depth than anything I have ever had. I would not have been able to write it, myself,” said Mike. “It was also so helpful to know what to include and what to omit in my LinkedIn profile. The result is that my resume and LinkedIn profile now tell a story, rather than just providing a summary of my experience.”
Mike also focused on cultivating his network and building social capital.
“The work of building social capital was new to me. My network is not as strong as I’d like it to be, so it was helpful to reconnect with people,” said Mike. “Phoning is the best. Staying in touch beyond hitting the ‘Connect’ button on LinkedIn is important because there are a diverse set of connections in the real world. You never know when someone might be hiring or need your experience.”
Within about two months, Mike started getting interviews. He fielded a few interesting opportunities, but the winning one came through a third-party recruiter who found him on LinkedIn. Ironically, the opportunity was very similar to the one he wanted to leave – an enterprise account executive for a five-year old startup that markets an enterprise platform to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies – in this case, to support the mental health and well-being of corporate employees.
“The actual job role is basically identical – same title and responsibilities. It’s funny, though, because it feels very different. There is an office, the benefits are better and there are equity options, which is huge. But the most important thing is that there is a corporate structure that promotes employee communication and collaboration. This is a culture I could be happy in for years.”
Not only has Mike found a new employer that offers him the kind of employee support he felt has been lacking in his last few positions, but also the new company’s mission, itself, is to help corporations provide its employees with better support.
“It’s so bizarre that I’m going to be able to talk about a platform that provides employees with what I needed. That’s why I’m looking forward to the job so much.”
Kayvon Bahramzadeh - Success Study
Finance Advisor - Strategic Business Unit
Kayvon Bahramzadeh was a manager in global strategy and financial planning and analysis for a growing, private, European market research firm.
Market Research, Small Business Consulting
Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Global Strategy, Business Development
Kayvon felt undercompensated, unsupported, and culturally disconnected from his company and he wanted a new career in a new city, but he had no idea how to make that happen.
Kayvon carefully assessed what he wanted and was qualified to do, then he worked methodically to communicate his value proposition to his network and third-party recruiters, aggressively pursuing the most attractive opportunities.
After learning that an entrepreneur he esteems was involved in launching a management consulting business near him, Kayvon connected with the company, promoted his candidacy, and landed a role as finance advisor in their strategic business unit.
Kayvon Bahramzadeh wore many hats at the private, European market research firm where he worked. Initially hired to help build out the global sales and corporate development strategy for the growing company, Kayvon was left rudderless when his boss, the only other person in the strategy group, left the company. Then, Kayvon was tasked with financial planning and analysis work at a previously acquired subsidiary that operated in North America. The job of a co-worker in Germany taking parental leave was later layered on top of his responsibilities, too. Stretched thin, Kayvon began feeling that the time had come for him to move on.
“I was doing three completely different jobs in different time zones. I got little support and no additional compensation. I felt like I was floating around the organization,” said Kayvon. “I got great experience, for which I’m grateful, but it wasn’t a good cultural fit. I felt like an external consultant, not an integrated part of the team and the operations.”
Kayvon knew there was something better out there for himself, but he didn’t know what and he didn’t know where. Working remotely, with a baby at home and a second on the way, he and his wife moved to Phoenix, Arizona to be near family, and Kayvon began job searching.
“I knew I needed help early. I started by looking at job posts on LinkedIn and Indeed, but I had no idea what I was doing. It was like starting a huge jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the picture looked like,” said Kayvon.
A former professional baseball player, Kayvon had discipline, self-confidence, and work ethic in abundance. He also had an MBA. But his baseball career had delayed his entry into the work force, and he knew that limited work experience and little job search experience would challenge his job search. So, he enlisted the help of The Barrett Group (TBG).
“I was behind, playing catch-up, so it was really important to me to learn how to market my strengths and skills in a corporate setting. I also wanted to find an employer that valued the mindset of an athlete.”
For four weeks Kayvon worked with Stacy Ballinger Moles in the Clarity Program to understand the job search process.
“I loved the Clarity Program. It helped me understand who Kayvon is – as a person, a critical thinker, and an employee. I realized that I should be making a life choice, not just finding a new job,” said Kayvon.
“Stacy was a great mentor. She helped me develop a strategic job search. She had me make a checklist of all the criteria I wanted in my ideal job and measure each opportunity against it,” said Kayvon. “I had an ‘A-ha!’ moment when I discovered skills that that would be of great value to an employer and my self-fulfillment. I took notes on everything I learned from Stacy and referred to them throughout my entire job search.”
With Stacy’s help, Kayvon ruled out sales jobs, instead targeting financial, strategy, and business development roles. His experience in these areas, they thought, might enable him to leverage a vertical, versus a lateral, transition. Kayvon also limited his search to smaller, newer companies with a results-focused culture where hard work and accountability are rewarded and whose leaders are athletes, entrepreneurs, or former military and, therefore, of a similar mindset to Kayvon.
Kayvon particularly credits Stacy with bringing him down to earth.
“We had disagreements at first. I wanted my next job to get me closer to where I saw my peers, but Stacy explained why it wasn’t possible right now – that I needed more experience. There was a lot of optimism on my end and a lot of realism on her end.”
After Clarity, Kayvon felt so grateful to have two career consultants, Barbara Limmer and Waffles Natusch, to set his wheels in motion.
“Barbara and Waffles were both so valuable in different ways. They were like a mother/father combo – the perfect balance!” said Kayvon. Barbara was nurturing – such a sweetheart. She helped me understand everything about the industries in Phoenix and formulate strategic plans of action as needed. Waffles was harder on me, which I really needed. He reviewed job descriptions with me, taught me what I should be looking for, and told me what I had no shot at. For example, if someone wanted 10 years of experience, Waffles insisted, ‘Don’t even look at it!’”
New to Phoenix, Kayvon had limited connections, but Barbara taught him now to build a network. Kayvon learned that, because he was still early in his career, his tack should be different from most TBG clients. Instead of relying on the unpublished market, he should get his name in front of as many people as possible. That meant, in addition to connecting with his personal network, he should reach out to recruiters directly.
“It was hard to reach out to people at first. However, I know I would be an asset to any employer, so my coaches asked me: ‘If you received a message from you, would you be excited?’ I said, ‘Yeah, because I bring value.’ Lightbulb! That changed my whole perspective – after that, I felt I was doing someone a favor by introducing myself to them.”
Kayvon and Barbara came up with a message that touted his story and Kayvon sent it to five third-party recruiters every day, working his way through the list Barbara supplied him. Typically, three didn’t respond at all, one would agree to keep his resume on file, and one would engage in a conversation and set up interviews for him. In this way, Kayvon saw his job search generate steam.
As interviews started rolling in, Kayvon focused on finding companies that aligned with him. It wasn’t easy, but one day his wildest dream came true.
Kayvon learned that a successful social influencer in sales and entrepreneurship, whom Kayvon has long admired, would be partnering with a business scaling expert and opening a management consulting business in Arizona. Elated, Kayvon connected with people at the company and scored an interview for a finance manager position. Although that application was unsuccessful, a position in the strategic business unit, which was perfectly aligned with Kayvon’s experience, opened some months later. He applied and, to his delight, was invited to re-interview and, this time, give a presentation to company executives about his cultural alignment with the company.
“I was so aligned with their core values that is was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done! I got an offer that night.”
Kayvon is thrilled that his job search played out the way it did because he ended up with his dream job.
“This company is a great fit for me. I think it’s going to be like an athletic arena in a corporate setting, which is exactly what I was looking for,” said Kayvon. “When I started job searching, I felt like an ant in an overwhelming world. I had no idea where I was or where to go. Getting me aligned with what I want, helping me understand what I’m qualified to do, and teaching me how to get my foot in the door and be taken seriously – that, in a nutshell, is what The Barrett Group provided to me.”
Some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Lynn Duke - Success Study
Director, Human Resources
Lynn Duke was chief human resources officer for a major school district in Georgia.
Education, Human Resources, Hospitals, Healthcare
After spending her entire career in the education sector, Lynn wanted a change, but she hadn’t looked for a new job in 30 years and didn’t know where to start.
After exploring her options and her goals, Lynn learned how to communicate her value proposition to prospective employers through her resume and during interviews.
Lynn accepted a position as human resources director for a regional nonprofit that advocates for the needs of senior citizens.
As chief human resources officer for a major school district in Georgia, Lynn Duke oversaw the HR needs of 2,500 employees and provided strategic direction and support across operations. She fell into her career at age 19 when she began working for the school district, worked her way up, eventually becoming head of the HR department. After a 30-year career in education, and a particularly challenging final year during the pandemic, Lynn decided to seek a role in a different industry.
In preparation for her departure, she hired a firm to write her resume and develop her LinkedIn profile. The firm didn’t offer coaching on any other aspects of job seeking, however, and Lynn still felt unprepared to enter the job market. So, when she gave notice to the school district in the fall of 2020, she hired The Barrett Group (TBG).
“I didn’t know how to approach a career change. I’d never actually looked for a job before and, while I’d conducted hundreds of interviews as the interviewer, I’d never been on the other side. I wanted to know what was important to communicate to a prospective employer,” said Lynn.
Lynn began her TBG experience with the Clarity program. She was skeptical at first, but she wound up quite enjoying the work she did with her coach.
“You don’t understand what Clarity is until you’re in it. I thought it was enlightening. It wasn’t surprising so much as affirming. It helped me know better who I am, and it framed what is important to me. It made me see that the highlights of my career have not been promotions and raises, rather the times when I was helping people. So, I knew that I wanted to find a job where I could help people and feel good about the work I was doing.”
When Lynn began working with her career consultant, Lori Chevalier, she reworked her resume and LinkedIn profile again, improving on what she’d done months earlier. After that, Lori asked Lynn to develop her social network – a task that Lynn began with trepidation but ended up appreciating very much.
“I hated the idea of reaching out to people. It’s so funny how the things you hate turn out to be the best parts. Life is busy, so I never made the time to do it before. But reconnecting with people I hadn’t talked to in a while and building our relationship was great. People were happy to give me their time. When I started with The Barrett Group I had only 50 connections on LinkedIn. Now I have about 250.”
Lynn spent a lot of time prepping for interviews, too.
“I wanted to know how to explain how I could go from 30 years in public education to a totally different industry. It was because of The Barrett Group that I was so well prepared for the interview process. Lori coached me on skills before every interview. We’d get job descriptions and come up with examples of what I could say. She asked me potential questions and provided feedback on my answers,” said Lynn.
Something that became clear to Lynn is that, in addition to always gravitating towards human resources work, she wanted to work for an organization whose mission was also to help people. That journey didn’t come without some frustration, however.
“My area of Georgia is booming in manufacturing, and I thought working at a plant would be appealing. Manufacturing companies didn’t give me the time of day, though. I never got a single interview.”
Lynn suffered an even greater disappointment when an offer for an attractive job in events and hospitality that she felt certain to get did not come through. But Lori helped Lynn to keep things in perspective.
“In hindsight, Lori and I realized that the job was probably earmarked for someone internally,” said Lynn.
It was discouraging when that door didn’t open either, but Lynn recognized in retrospect that in both cases the positions didn’t align with her new-found purpose: helping people. She restarted her search and within days she had a winner – a job for a human resources director of a regional nonprofit that advocates for the needs of senior citizens.
“I hadn’t been looking to work in this field, but when I saw the job post it hit home because we recently had to put my mother in a home and I had been thinking how important it is to take care of the needs of the elderly.”
Within 15 minutes of applying, Lynn was invited to interview. Soon afterwards, she was offered the position.
“I interviewed and it felt so right for all of us. Everyone there is someone who wants to help people.”
Lynn has thrown herself into her new job and is excited to put some much-needed new processes into place, including developing an employee handbook and implementing good leave policies. She has found her journey with The Barrett Group to be a fascinating and enjoyable experience.
“I went from having no confidence in conducting a job search to feeling very confident. I wish everyone could do The Barrett Group program. When you’re going through the process, you don’t realize how it will all come together for you. I found it to be worth every penny.”
Maciej Kossowski - Success Study
CCO & CEO
Maciej Kossowski was commercial director for Poland and general manager of franchise operations in the Baltic states for a multinational beverage corporation.
Marketing, Sales, Information Technology, Medical, Virtual Reality
When his company of 19 years undertook a global reorganization, Maciej’s career growth flattened out and he decided to move on.
Learning to exploit the potential of LinkedIn and expand his network opened Maciej’s eyes. He also came to see that his nonlinear career path made him the ideal profile for a startup executive.
Maciej accepted a role as chief commercial officer for a five-year-old, polish-based, medical tech startup with international ambitions.
Maciej Kossowski was commercial director for the Polish affiliate of an American multinational beverage corporation and general manager of franchise operations in the Baltic states. For 19 years he rose through the company’s ranks, working various positions from marketing and sales to revenue growth management, to customer management.
After his company undertook a global reorganization in 2020, however, Maciej foresaw fewer advancement opportunities. Professional growth was very important to him, so he decided to pursue another career path. He sought professional help and contacted The Barrett Group.
“I knew there would be heavy lifting and a lot of uncertainties in my career transition, and I wanted a trusted partner who could lead me and keep me motivated,” said Maciej. “The kinds of services that The Barrett Group (TBG) provides are so useful if you haven’t changed jobs in a long time. I think of job seeking as a muscle – if you haven’t used that muscle in a while, it isn’t as strong as it could be. But you can hire career management professionals who can coach you to do what you need to do faster, better, and more easily.”
Maciej started in the Clarity Program, taking stock of where he was and where he wanted his career to go with his coach, Rebeca Gelencser.
“Rebeca helped me a lot. I did all the assessments. I found the tests – especially DISC – to be very useful for a job transition,” said Maciej. “I liked also that Clarity makes you think about how your career affects other aspects of your life, like your family.”
In the next phase of the program, Maciej worked with Isabelita Castilho, his career consultant, who helped him revise his LinkedIn profile and taught him the benefits of social capital. Building social capital didn’t come naturally, at first. Most of Maciej’s previous efforts to build professional contacts were limited to people at his former company. Developing external contacts, he found, is a completely different exercise.
“I had a LinkedIn profile before I started my job search, but I wasn’t super active. I didn’t nurture my contacts before because I didn’t need to. Then, suddenly, I needed to,” said Maciej. “Isabelita did a really great job coaching me to develop my connections. I’ve met a lot of great people thanks to her, and it’s clear to me now that your network is crucial.”
Maciej was very motivated to tap into the hidden job market. Using techniques he learned from TBG, he lined up interviews with numerous companies in different industries. His experience was sometimes humbling, but he didn’t give up.
“Ideal jobs don’t just drop into your lap. You have to work towards them, and you fail a lot in a job search. Sometimes jobseekers aren’t ready for multiple rejections, but to get a success story, you need to handle rejection. Isabelita was great because she continued to push me. She kept me going.”
In the course of his journey, Maciej recognized the importance of security in his life – financial security, job security, and stability. But he also realized that it was important for him to work with good people and in a business that makes a good impact on the world. Ironically, working at a large, traditional company began to seem less and less appealing.
“I knew I needed a change when I started having discussions with headhunters and thought: Traditional companies are not ticking the box on “making a difference,” and “the significance of ‘why,’” said Maciej.
Shortly after beginning his job search Maciej had gotten a call from an old friend who was co-founder of a startup in Poland that provides remote vision therapy to children. He asked Maciej to join his team.
“It hadn’t occurred to me before that a startup might be right for me. Startups aren’t stable or reliable. There is a huge failure rate. But I came to see that you can have an outsized impact at a startup, you can respond to real needs in an innovative manner, you control the speed of action, and you can reach as far as you want when an opportunity arises.”
Maciej also realized that his nonlinear career path made him the ideal profile for a startup executive.
“Startups need people with varied experiences to manage and grow the business – leaders with a little bit of everything. I have moved diagonally a lot in my career. During my initial job search, people didn’t seem to have a clear idea of what I offered, but my background was perfect for a startup.”
Maciej told his friend that he would think about the offer. Meanwhile, he agreed to do consulting for the company and had a lot of discussions with Isabelita and his family about the sacrifices he (and his family) would face if he accepted a role at a startup.
A few weeks later, Maciej was ready. Not only did he join the team as chief commercial officer, but he also invested some of his own money into the company. He also assumed the role of CEO for a spin-off company.
“It is so much more rewarding being in the driver’s seat – when you move from being an employee to part owner and employer.”
Maciej is now based in Poland but charged with expanding business into the Middle East, India, and the U.S. He continues to lean on Isabelita to help him understand the business culture in the Middle East, where she has a lot of experience.
“If someone had told me six months ago that I’d be in Abu Dhabi meeting with medical doctors, I would have said it’s not possible. But here I am,” said Maciej. “Working for a startup isn’t right for everyone. You carry a lot of weight with you. But it’s a meaningful job, and I feel great that I can both help people and grow the company. It stretches you professionally, but no other job is as rewarding!”