Director, Human Resources
CCO & CEO
Senior Business Consultant
Mark "Sven" Leverson
Senior Project and Construction Manager
Head of Sales & Business Development
Director of Accounting
Senior Patient Experience Role
Corporate Director of Hotel Operations
Chief Commercial Officer
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!”
Jennifer Eagar - Success Study
Senior Business Consultant
Jennifer Eagar was employed as head of marketing and legal assistant for an Arizona-based law firm while working to get her newly launched consulting firm off the ground.
Management Consulting, Business Consulting
Jennifer’s company was stymied by limited experience and few business prospects. She wanted to re-focus her career and find a job where she could learn and grow but she didn’t know how.
Weekly meetings with her consultant helped Jennifer articulate her value proposition, kept her motivated and on task, and instilled her with confidence throughout her job search.
Jennifer parlayed an interview for a senior business analyst position at a private management consulting firm into a higher-level, consulting position that aligned better with her career goals.
Jennifer Eagar developed a passion for consulting as an MBA student at Thunderbird School of Global Management where her capstone project was to visit Piura, one of the largest cities in Peru, and research and recommend to the local government technological innovations to invest in that would boost development in the city’s small businesses. Because of a prior background in fundraising, Jennifer spent several years after graduation, including a two-year stint in New Zealand, working for firms that provide fundraising consulting to nonprofit organizations.
Before long, she was burned out.
“Everyone needs help to raise money, but no one wants to pay for it. It is draining,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer wanted a career change, but she felt lost about what to do and how to get started. After doing some research, she discovered The Barrett Group (TBG) and signed up for the Clarity Program. Jennifer found the focus on self-assessment valuable but, when faced with the inevitable hard work of job seeking in the next chapter of the program, she balked and stepped away from TBG.
“I just wasn’t in the right head space to continue. I was drained and burned out from fundraising, and I just wanted things to be easier. When I realized I had to extend myself, I just checked out mentally. I wasn’t ready to do the work,” said Jennifer.
For the next couple of years, Jennifer dabbled in various roles that were easy, but unfulfilling. Eventually, she determined to return to her passion and established a business consulting company. The problem, however, was that her expertise was in fundraising, not business management. Her lack of confidence impeded her business’s growth and Jennifer knew it was time to get back to work, this time in earnest, with The Barrett Group.
“When I first signed up with The Barrett Group, I just wanted to pay money for someone to find me a job. It took me about two years to realize that The Barrett Group program is designed to be an investment in myself so that I can pursue a fulfilling career – not just find a job. And, to succeed, I would have to do the work myself,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer knew better what she wanted at this point and was in a much better place mentally when she reconnected with TBG. She was thrilled with the career consultant assigned to her, Barbara Limmer.
“Barbara was an amazing coach. I can’t stop singing her praises. She understood where I was coming from and where I wanted to go. As it turns out, she also used to work with Thunderbird, so she knew the culture and how I could leverage the Thunderbird network. That was really awesome.”
With Barbara’s coaching, Jennifer started making five calls per week to people in her network to ask about their lives and to get information about how she might direct her career. She revised her LinkedIn profile, which helped her better identify and articulate her brand and value proposition, she prepared answers to standard interview questions to be well prepared for interviews, and she learned how to write impressive cover letters to accompany her new resume, which was reworked by the TBG team.
Most valuable to Jennifer was the accountability to the TBG process that Barbara coaxed out of her and the burgeoning self-confidence that resulted.
“I really appreciated meeting weekly with Barbara. Meeting less frequently wouldn’t have been enough to keep me motivated and engaged. I needed someone on my tail all the time and Barbara did that. It was perfect!” said Jennifer. “And having someone in my corner rooting for me helped me feel like I wasn’t out of my league.”
Jennifer sought a consulting role where she could help people, and she targeted small- to mid-size companies in her job search, feeling she could make a bigger difference there than at larger companies. She was invited to interview several times, but Jennifer was very selective and suffered little disappointment when the interviews didn’t yield job offers.
One night, Jennifer saw a job description on Indeed.com for a senior business analyst at a private management consulting firm that helps struggling companies turn themselves around and become more profitable. It was an odd job description and didn’t align perfectly with the consulting role she was seeking, but she applied anyway on a whim. Two days later she was interviewing for the role only to learn that the company was also trying fill a consulting position. Jennifer immediately threw her hat in the ring for that position – and landed it. Within about a week of submitting her original application, Jennifer began training for her new job.
“It was really fast! It’s a cool job and I’m grateful for it. This company focuses on small and medium-sized companies, which speaks to my heart. My job is to work with a client for several weeks, review their expenses, their pricing strategy, and other aspects of their business and recommend what they should do to become profitable. I was worried that I wouldn’t be a great consultant because I’d forgotten so much of what I learned in business school, but the training was awesome. I will get a different client every few months, staying longer if necessary, which will keep things interesting.”
Jennifer is thoroughly enjoying her new job. She insists that she couldn’t have gotten it without the help of TBG.
“I knew what I wanted from my career, but I didn’t know how to get there. TBG put me on the right path. It is thanks to the help TBG gave me with my resume, my cover letters, the interview prep, and all of Barbara’s support and encouragement, that I landed this job. The TBG team gave me confidence that, despite being underemployed for three-years, I could bounce back and get a job that I really enjoy.”
Mark "Sven" Leverson - Success Study
Senior Project and Construction Manager
Sven Leverson was a long-time, independent consultant for high-end Project and Construction management projects across multiple industries (Banking, Healthcare, Pulp and Paper, Power Industry, etc.)
Power & Energy
Sven wrapped up a four-year project with a large client just as the pandemic began making headlines, and finding another gig became impossible.
After deciding to find a salaried position, Sven revamped his resume and LinkedIn profile and leveraged his network of contacts to seek unpublished job opportunities.
Sven was hired as the senior project and construction manager for an exciting endeavor to build the world’s largest hydrogen production facility.
For twenty years Sven Leverson ran a high-end consulting and project and construction management firm for clients needing improvements in engineering, construction, technology, and business processes. Typically engaging one client at a time, Sven had always navigated from one gig to the next by word of mouth. In December 2019 he wrapped up a four-year job with an industry-leading power generation and energy storage solutions provider and began looking for his next opportunity. Within weeks, however, the Covid-19 pandemic was surging, and Sven struggled to find any work at all.
“I had quite a dry spell after my last consulting position. I did not work at all during 2020 or the better part of 2021,” said Sven.
Sven spent ten months job hunting on his own, flooding the job market with his resume. Using numerous job-seeking sources, from LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, he sought both consulting gigs and permanent positions. Although he managed to line up quite a few interviews, none of them resulted in a position. Finally, in October 2020 Sven decided he needed professional help and hired The Barrett Group.
“By then I had made up my mind to shut down my business and look for a permanent role with a company. My reasons were a combination of factors, including my age and because I wanted to take advantage of company benefits. As a consultant, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid,” said Sven.
Sven was immediately impressed with The Barrett Group program’s range of offerings.
“The number of offerings and the training provided by The Barrett Group was so helpful. I’m a process type of guy, and I really enjoyed this process,” said Sven. “I wanted to know what I was doing wrong in my search and, lo and behold, I found out that coming in through the back door to land a job is the recipe for success. I had never done that in the past. I was just sending out resumes and hoping!”
The Clarity Program, which comprised only two weeks of Sven’s overall TBG experience, turned out to be a highlight.
“My Clarity coach, Scott Brown, was great. I had never done anything like it before. He had me thinking of all the various areas that I should focus on to achieve success, like health, family, and career, and then he pointed me in the right direction,” said Sven. “He also had a way of presenting all the material in an engaging way. I really enjoyed working with him.”
Sven found that the Clarity experience motivated him to pursue subsequent processes within the TBG Program with excitement.
In the next chapter of his journey, Sven was open to working anywhere in the country and in any industry, but because of his familiarity with the power industry, that’s where he focused his job search. He started by overhauling his resume.
“I was ecstatic with the way my resume turned out. We reformatted it, developed definitions for my roles that made sense to employers, and assigned metrics to my activities over the years,” said Sven.
He was also delighted with the updates to his LinkedIn profile.
“I thought it turned out exceptionally well. I had been active on LinkedIn before starting with The Barrett Group, but my profile dramatically changed with their help. They also taught me how to use LinkedIn Analytics to search for employment opportunities. That was all new to me. I didn’t realize you could do so much within LinkedIn.”
As a man who has made a career helping others improve their processes, Sven was particularly cognizant of TBG’s processes.
“All of The Barrett Group’s processes are exceptional, and they build upon each other. They pointed me in the direction for success. They are well-documented and easy to follow,” said Sven.
Being task-oriented, he also appreciated the weekly schedule of ‘To-Dos’ he was assigned by his career consultant.
“Greg Emslie assigned me things to read and tasks to complete. The approach was extremely helpful. He had a knack for moving things along expeditiously in a way that fitted my background and experience.”
The task of building social capital turned out to be a particularly positive aspect of the overall process for Sven – and the key to landing his new job.
“It was a great experience developing my social capital. I communicated with a plethora of people that I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. It was thanks to someone from my network that I landed my new job. A man I used to work with called me out of the blue. He said he had been thinking of me and asked me if I was interested in a new opportunity.”
The opportunity in question was for a senior project and construction manager charged with overseeing the building of an underground salt cavern in the Utah desert to store hydrogen, the construction of a 220-megawatt electrolysis facility – the largest in the world – that would produce hydrogen to store in the underground salt caverns, and, ultimately, to build a power plant to utilize a blend of hydrogen and natural gas to power the combustion turbines. And, yes, Sven was very interested.
“We had some aggressive negotiations over the compensation package. Dan Resendes coached me on these and came up with some unique and very helpful questions to ask about the offer letter. I ended up having a very successful negotiation. Dan did a phenomenal job. My benefits at this company are awesome.”
It took Sven a full year to land his job after joining The Barrett Group, but he is incredibly appreciative of the journey that he has had.
“I used to think I could do anything on my own – that I didn’t need help to successfully advance my career, but I had a rude awakening. Through The Barrett Group’s process, I learned a different approach – something I should have been doing all along.”
Hugo Vereeken - Success Study
Head of Sales & Business Development
Hugo Vereeken was global OEM segment manager for a large multinational provider of power and industrial automation technologies.
Manufacturing, Industrial Engineering, Electronics, Sales
When Covid hit, Hugo’s employer shut down his department and terminated many senior executives, leaving Hugo unemployed after more than a decade with the company.
Learning how to handle third-party recruiters and building up his social capital helped Hugo overcome the stigma he faced from being a 60-something year old job seeker.
Hugo ultimately received three job offers and opted for a position as regional sales manager for a private manufacturer of industrial connectors and power distributors that seemed made for him.
For 11 years Hugo Vereeken was global OEM segment manager for a large multinational provider of power and industrial automation technologies based in Zurich. He managed a portfolio of 22 global accounts and business development efforts for international OEMs in three segments: cooling and ventilation, food and beverage, and diverse machinery, and he oversaw 15 global key account managers and a multimillion-dollar sales budget. When Covid swept the globe in early 2020, however, the company, anticipating decreasing market demand, shut down the entire business unit and laid off many of the senior executives, including Hugo.
Hugo was very motivated to find a new job and immediately started looking for a position with responsibilities and compensation commensurate with the decades of experience he brought to the table. He had every reason to feel confident about his prospects.
“I thought, ‘I have 38 years of professional experience as an engineer, program manager, business development manager, general manager and global sales leader. I have 24 years of direct exposure to customers. I have a master’s degree in electrical engineering, an MBA, a killer CV, international experience, and I speak five languages. Let the jobs come!’” said Hugo.
But the jobs didn’t come.
For nearly a year he scoured online job boards, sending hundreds of applications. Despite casting the net widely across most of Europe, responses were scarce, and interviews were even more scarce.
“In the rare interview I got, which was usually with a third-party recruiter, I didn’t get past the first stage,” said Hugo.
The easy reason to finger for his struggle was Covid. Everyone was reluctant to hire. But Hugo, age 62, saw something more pernicious at work: The silent rejection of people of a certain age.
“Age discrimination is against the law, but they never say you’re too old. They say, ‘Are you digital enough? Will you fit in with our dynamic team? Are you aware of the latest technological developments?’ These are all hidden reasons for rejections on the basis of age,” said Hugo. “I heard 25 different ways to say, “Hugo, you’re too old! Go and retire!’ That’s when I decided there has to be another way.”
Soon after, Hugo stumbled across The Barrett Group during a LinkedIn search and enlisted their help in his career change.
Hugo moved through the Clarity program quickly. The results of his self-assessments confirmed that he was on the right path in his pursuit of a customer-oriented job that required strength in math, creativity, and technical sales.
In the next chapter of his program, with the help of several career consultants, Hugo overhauled his CV and LinkedIn profile to garner more attention among hiring managers.
“My original CV was everything it should NOT be: chronological, long, and boring. With Greg Emslie and The Barrett Group writing team, we made a wonderful new version,” said Hugo. “My LinkedIn profile was also boring and incomplete, but with the help of Greg and Dan Resendes, my new profile attracted a lot more people, sometimes over 20-30 people per week. I started getting calls from people that were not even looking to hire, even some CEOs. That gave me hope!”
Even more valuable to Hugo were the techniques he learned for managing his career change and the perspective he got from his career consultants about navigating the modern job market.
“Greg taught me a lot of things. He told me about social capital – how to increase it and leverage it – and news ways to approach people. All these techniques were very handy,” said Hugo. “And the conversations I had with Greg and Anne Lipsitz helped me see through the attitudes and behaviors of third-party recruiters. I learned that third-party recruiters aren’t there to give me a job. Their money comes from the company that wants to fill a position, and recruiters couldn’t care less whether it’s you or someone else that gets hired.”
“I will no longer let a third-party recruiter tell me what to do and what not to do. It’s my job search. The direction I got from my Barrett Group consultants gave me strength to face the daily job search and never lose confidence in myself.”
As Hugo worked through TBG’s processes he increasingly succeeded in getting past third-party recruiters to land second interviews within the hiring organization.
“That’s where you want to be because then you’re talking to an HR person or the manager responsible for hiring,” said Hugo.
Although many of these interviews were unsuccessful, Hugo saw progress in his job search campaign. By mid-summer, three of his leads had turned into solid job offers with companies based in France, Quebec, and Germany, and Hugo found himself in the enviable position of being able to choose from three options.
In the end, Hugo accepted the position of regional sales manager and business development for the German company, a private manufacturer of industrial connectors and power distributors. It was a job requiring someone with many of Hugo’s strengths and talents.
“The opportunity came about from a job ad I’d responded to several weeks earlier. I had almost forgotten about them by the time the CEO contacted me,” said Hugo. “They wanted someone with a tech background, with lots of sales experience, and who speaks German, to manage their French subsidiary and oversee sales in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It seemed like it was made for me!”
The company offered Hugo an attractive salary, healthcare and pension plan, and a brand-new company car.
“It’s exciting! I have had strategic marketing and sales meetings with the company heads in Germany and will be doing product training over the next few weeks.”
Hugo credits The Barrett Group with infusing his job search with crucial practical as well as emotional support.
“Before I began working with The Barrett Group, I had been out of a job for ten months with nothing to show for it except frustrating experiences and a feeling that I was too old. I learned a lot from Greg and Anne. Thanks to them, I felt better able to handle recruiters, and I developed the confidence that, even at my age, I can expect great opportunities.”
Ray Cleary - Success Study
Ray Cleary was vice president of risk management, transaction underwriting, and portfolio management for a large airline leasing and financing company, overseeing business in the Middle East and CIS region.
Finance, Financial Services, Airlines, Aerospace & Aviation
Not long after Ray relocated to Dubai, his company announced a merger that would shutter his office, forcing Ray to rethink his long-term career goals.
After deciding to make a bold shift in job function and to live in a specific geography, Ray leveraged his network of contacts to help him achieve his goals.
Within four months, Ray was offered the position of general manager of fleet management of another large airline in his target geography – a transformative pivot in his career.
Ray Cleary was vice president of risk management, transaction underwriting, and portfolio management for a large airline leasing and financing company. Located in Dubai, Ray oversaw a $2 billion portfolio in Russia, Turkey, CIS, and the Middle East region. He had assumed the position a year earlier, transferring within his company after eight-years doing similar work in a different region and market.
Two years after Ray moved to Dubai, however, his company announced a merger that would result in the closure of his office. It triggered Ray to reflect on his career goals – specifically, the kind of work he wanted to do and where to do it – and whether those goals aligned with the prospects available to him in his soon-to-be merged company.
Ray wasn’t ready to leave the Middle East, however, his time to make new contacts in the region had been short-lived, then stymied by the pandemic, such that he had few good work options there. So, he hired The Barrett Group to help him source opportunities.
Ray began his TBG experience with the Clarity program. To his surprise, it was life changing. In addition to confirming that he wanted to pursue employment in the Middle East, he realized that he wanted to redirect his career.
“The counseling process pushed me to deeply consider what I value in life,” said Ray. “I was at a stage in my career that I wanted to move away from risk management and the transaction writing piece of the airline industry and move towards a commercial role, like fleet and relationship management. Clarity crystalized for me that I had two options: I could stay comfortable and continue to do what I was doing – but somewhere else, or I could step out of my comfort zone and achieve what I wanted to achieve.”
Other pieces of the Clarity Program that Ray found very valuable were seeing his “strengths and shortcomings” in a structured report, learning what triggers him, and learning how to manage different personality types to get the results he needs.
“I found that really useful,” said Ray. “I came to understand what I want, what my flashpoints are, and how to navigate various situations and conversations. It really helped me when it came time to interview with the person I work for now.”
In the next phase of his TBG program, Ray worked on his personal branding campaign. He was delighted with the changes the TBG team made to his CV and LinkedIn profile, and his consultant coached him on how to pivot from talking about hard skills to talking about how he could add value to an organization.
“Isabelita really brought value to the program. She was a great sounding board, and everything was prepped before I went to the market to look for a job,” said Ray. “Isabelita then challenged me to reach out to lots of people and follow up on various opportunities.”
Ray came to realize that his network of contacts is like an ecosystem.
“I hadn’t kept up my LinkedIn connections, so Isabelita had me doing searches, finding second and third level connections, then sending them a message. The success rate of my effort to connect with someone turning into an exchange was remarkably high.”
That ecosystem turned out to be Ray’s golden ticket to his dream job.
Ray first came to know about the position that he ultimately landed thanks to the thesis supervisor of the executive MBA program that Ray was pursuing, who had seen the job posting in LinkedIn. By coincidence, one of the people on the adjudication panel for a group MBA project Ray was working on was also a senior member of the consultancy firm that had advertised the job opening. Ray later discovered that a former boss of his now worked at that consultancy firm, too.
“Lo and behold, the connections from past, future, and current were all involved in this role coming together. The need to maintain a good network was evident to me!”
Ray was thrilled to find such a great job opportunity, however, he still had to prove himself in the interview process. As it turned out, it all hinged on a 90-minute phone conversation.
One Saturday morning in early July Ray connected with the hiring manager for the position, who asked whether he was available for a group interview later that evening. He was. The evening interview turned out to be intense but, essentially, all it took for Ray to secure the position. Despite the challenge, Ray felt fully prepared.
“I faced off with four to five people on the call. It was a tough 90 minutes! I had to think on my feet, and the whole process brought home to me that you need to be well-prepared when a good opportunity comes to you,” said Ray.
Ray credits The Barrett Group for his successful performance in that interview.
“There was a significant amount of work that I put in during the three months leading up to that interview. From reflecting on what I wanted to do, to recognizing my skills, to building up contacts – I was prepped for that interview. That is due to The Barrett Group, no question about it!”
When Ray received the initial job offer, his career consultant provided critical assistance in the compensation negotiations, resulting in a much more attractive package.
“This is where TBG really earned its fee. Thanks to Isabelita, I was able to understand quickly what should be in the package and, so, negotiate a better one,” said Ray.
Three weeks in, Ray is thrilled with his new job.
“I am quite happy! This has been a very smooth process for what has been a very significant life event. I foresee growth on so many levels – and it’s all thanks to TBG for preparing me for it. As for my new role – it will truly transform my career. Whether I spend four or six years doing it, my career now goes on a different road from where it was headed before.”
Hans Wessel - Success Study
Director of Accounting
Hans Wessel was director of EMEA accounting at an international IT company based in Silicon Valley.
Accounting, Business Services, Information Technology
Hans spent 18 years helping the company build up its shared service center, but when new management moved the back office to India, Hans found himself out of a job in a market he no longer recognized.
By building his network of contacts, Hans saw opportunities materialize in the unpublished market that didn’t exist in the published market.
Hans landed as director of accounting for another international, California-based, IT company where he looks forward to a great, long career.
Hans Wessel was director of EMEA accounting for an international company based in Silicon Valley that provides a wide range of printing solutions for signage, packaging, textiles, and ceramic tiles. An 18-year veteran, Hans worked his way up to his position from accounting manager by helping the company build up and out its shared service center and he loved his job. As the company quickly grew from $350 million to a $1 billion, Hans oversaw the European general ledger and the European payroll from his office in the Netherlands. In 2019, however, trouble hit, resulting in the company’s being acquired by a private equity firm. To make the company profitable again, the new management transferred all the back-office jobs from the Netherlands to India. Hans was asked to help with the transition with the understanding that he should also seek other employment.
“For two years I worked hard to get them up to speed, the whole time preparing myself for a job change,” said Hans. “It was a tough challenge. The job market had dramatically changed in 18 years. I felt like I’d been living under a stone.”
The prevalence of LinkedIn in a modern job search was his first eye-opener.
“I had a LinkedIn profile, but I’d never spent much time developing my profile or relationships within it. That turns out to be very important. You can’t get a job if you don’t have good contacts,” said Hans.
With his level of experience, Hans hadn’t thought he’d need help finding a new job. But as his old job wound down, Hans searched with little success. After a year of no opportunities, Hans started to worry; his confidence waned. One day he stumbled across The Barrett Group on LinkedIn and decided to enlist their help.
“I kicked things off with the Clarity Program. My coach, Stacey Ballinger, had me do various personality tests. I had done tests before, but not like these. You learn a lot about yourself in a different context than in a working environment. The Clarity Program is very serious because your life depends on it! It forces you to take a step back and examine everything about your life,” said Hans.
Hans really valued his Clarity experience. It made him realize that he was happy with his career path and would be happy to do more of the same kind of work, and he was also open to change. His only requirement was to continue to work in an international environment.
After Clarity Hans was handed off to his career consultant, Rebeca Gelencser, who taught him how to maximize the potential of LinkedIn. She also helped him overcome his discomfort with reaching out to people and cultivating relationships.
“Rebeca had me build up my network and made me aware of all the benefits of using LinkedIn. That was good because if you casually use LinkedIn, you don’t see all the possibilities,” said Hans. “It turned out great. By the time my old job ended, people in my network were already reaching out to tell me that they knew of opportunities for me.”
The TBG writing team re-wrote Han’s CV, and Hans learned the importance of tweaking his CV for each job application to ensure it contained the key words in the job description.
“I reworded my CV for every application because your CV is alive, so to speak. You have to tailor it to the job post.”
Hans found it very helpful to work on his interview skills with his coach, too, because, while he had conducted plenty of interviews, he had little experience sitting in the interviewee’s chair.
“The interview practice helped me be prepared for strange questions and understand better what goes through the head of an HR person,” said Hans.
In the beginning, it was tough going for Hans during his job search. He did a lot of applying and not a lot of interviewing. He tried not to let the lack of responses from companies get him down.
“The most challenging thing about a job search is when the company doesn’t acknowledge your application. You start to doubt yourself, but you have to accept that during a job search you will interact with impolite people and try not to be too hard on yourself.”
For Hans, the published market yielded few opportunities. The unpublished market, however, was very successful. To his delight, as Hans built up his social capital two great leads materialized.
“There were two people, a tax advisor and a lawyer, that I had worked with at my old company. When my job ended, my relationship with them essentially ended, too,” said Hans. “After I joined The Barrett Group, however, I reconnected with them. They each told me about an opportunity that they knew of at a company where they did business. These were opportunities where there weren’t even job descriptions!”
Hans followed up on the opportunities and, after five interviews that happened very quickly over the summer, ended up with an offer to become the new accounting director of another international IT firm based in California.
“I have been in my new role for two months already and I like it very much! It’s just what I was looking for. Some aspects are similar to my old job, but there are also different responsibilities and opportunities to learn new things. All in all, it is a good fit!”
Hans sees himself at his new company for a long time and feels very gratified with his TBG experience.
“The program really works. It quickly got me from no responses to many responses – and all in the unpublished market. This job was published nowhere,” said Hans. “Once I started with The Barrett Group it was a smooth process. I’m very happy in my new role.”
Elizabeth - Success Study
Senior Patient Experience Role
Elizabeth was national director of patient experience for the healthcare division of a global provider of food and facilities management services.
Hospitality, Healthcare, Hospitals
After working more than a decade with the same employer, Elizabeth wanted a change, but her job search was not yielding results.
Elizabeth overhauled her resume and LinkedIn profile, built up social capital among her contacts, and capitalized on interview opportunities to highlight her professional successes.
Elizabeth accepted a senior patient experience role with a large, private healthcare system that enables her to directly impact patient experience.
Elizabeth was a national director of patient experience for the healthcare division of a global provider of food and facilities management. Her job was to standardize programs across the enterprise that would improve patient experience and drive improved patient satisfaction in food and housekeeping services.
After nearly 11 years with the company, Elizabeth was ready for a change. Specifically, she wanted a position that would allow her to have a greater influence on the patient community that she serves.
“As a service provider, I felt a part of the healthcare community, but also not part of it. I feel passionate about the service I provide to patients, and I wanted to find a job where I could have a more direct impact on their experience.”
In early 2020, Elizabeth began looking at job postings and getting the word out about her interest in a career transition. Although she got some interviews, they didn’t go anywhere. Then, when the pandemic hit, her job search took a backseat to new demands within her current role. It wasn’t until the new year that she decided to accelerate her job search efforts. She found The Barrett Group (TBG) and allowed them to guide her career search.
“I know how to work and drive results in my field, but I didn’t know the job market or how to market myself,” said Elizabeth. “I had been out of the job market for 10 years, and I felt like I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to structure my resume and have my competencies stand out or create a value proposition for myself.”
Elizabeth began with the Clarity component of TBG’s program, finding it fun and helpful, but it was working with her career consultant, Julie Mathern, in the next stage that she reaped the biggest rewards, beginning with revamping her resume and LinkedIn profile.
“My LinkedIn profile has never gotten so many views since Julie and I reworked it. At every interview I was told that my resume looks great. The metrics just popped from the page!” said Elizabeth. “I was impressed with the results even before the revision was complete. I used a draft resume to apply for a job in Philadelphia and landed an interview. Wow! And when the final draft was finished, the interviews starting rolling in.”
Elizabeth’s branding campaign electrified her confidence and affirmed her belief that good self-marketing was essential in drawing attention to her candidacy.
“Rebranding myself made my expertise in patient experiences much more visible. It was a real self-esteem booster to see employer interest in me grow after that,” said Elizabeth.
Next, Elizabeth’s career consultant had Elizabeth develop her network of contacts.
“It was challenging to reach out to people because I didn’t think they would want to talk to me. But I came to realize how important it is. Julie impressed on me how crucial relationships are – not just now while I’m job seeking, but throughout my career. The resources that The Barrett Group provided me were really helpful. They detailed the standard things to do and say when engaging with people, which made me feel less awkward.”
When it came to interviewing, Elizabeth credits her career consultant and the resume team with making the process easier.
“Because my resume spoke for itself, I didn’t have to exert myself a lot during the interview process. All I had to do was give examples of how the metrics tied to my professional experience.”
Still, Elizabeth was well-prepared for interviews.
“Julie and I spent time going through sample questions and we laughed when, in one of my first interviews, I was asked four questions from TBG’s guide,” said Elizabeth. “I give a gold star to The Barrett Group for preparing me so well for interviews.”
When Elizabeth received a rejection one day, her consultant coached her to send a gracious response back to the hiring manager. To Elizabeth’s surprise, the hiring manager followed up with a different opportunity that turned into a job offer.
“I ended up turning that job down, but I give The Barrett Group another gold star for coaching me to reply to a rejection email that yielded a job offer!” said Elizabeth.
Throughout the program, Elizabeth valued very much how comprehensive TBG’s approach is to job seeking.
“The TBG program doesn’t just target job postings, it shows clients how to leverage a resume and LinkedIn profile to create a brand and market themselves, it teaches them to create new contacts and develop relationships so that hiring managers know what they bring to the table.”
Most valuable for Elizabeth were the discipline acquired via the career consultant weekly meetings, and the support rendered by her consultant that pushed Elizabeth beyond her comfort zone.
“Julie told me to get in touch with an executive that I’d formerly worked with who is now the CEO of a company. I was nervous, but I did it. He then connected me with someone who is now serving as my mentor. I’m not sure I would have done that on my own. Julie was the push I needed.”
When it comes to landing her new job, Elizabeth gives significant credit to her career consultant, too.
“During the initial screening, I learned that the job’s salary range was significantly lower than my minimum requirements. Julie counseled me to continue the process, saying that ‘everything is negotiable.’ In the end, they offered me the job at the compensation level I wanted. I even asked for relocation assistance, and they were happy to do it.”
Elizabeth is now the System Director of Patient Experience at a large, private healthcare system where she will oversee the entire patient experience for 24 hospitals and 200 satellite sites. In this role, she will have a direct impact on patient experience.
“I’m excited to have more of an influence. At this point in my career, it was time to make an investment in myself – and this was an investment well worth making. I felt that the coaching was so directed. I don’t mind telling anyone that The Barrett Group got me results!”
Most clients give TBG permission to use their first and last names and their photo with their success study. In some cases, however, clients are not at liberty to disclose this information publicly, therefore, some identifying details must be omitted or changed to protect the privacy of the client and/or their organization.
Ashley Turner - Success Study
Corporate Director of Hotel Operations
Ashley Turner was regional director of operations for an Indiana-based, health care company providing autism therapy.
Hospitality & Leisure, Healthcare, Hospitals
After working 11 years in her family business, Ashley left for a job that was a poor fit, but she lacked the job seeking skills and confidence in her business credentials to find a more suitable one.
After identifying her goals, Ashley built her confidence by reaching out to her network and learned how to parry awkward interview questions about her reasons for leaving her family business.
Ashley accepted a job as corporate director of hotel operations for an international firm that offered her more money, flexibility on her home base, and a great team of colleagues.
Ashley Turner was regional director of operations for a health care company providing autism therapy to children. She came to the job less than a year earlier after deciding to step away from her father’s hotel management and development business in Indiana where she had worked for 11 years – her entire post-college career. Working for her father, Ashley developed great experience in every position, from sales to vice president. So, when her father expressed an interest in stepping back from his business, Ashley was ready and began assuming his responsibilities. But then Ashley’s father changed his mind.
It got challenging to have two people with two different visions leading the company, and Ashley concluded that it was time for her to leave. She took a director position overseeing autism centers, thinking that it might stimulate other professional interests, but it was not a good fit.
“I thought I’d love working with kids with disabilities, but I didn’t like the business structure of the new organization. It wasn’t a financially-driven model, and it didn’t play to my strengths,” said Ashley.
Ashley’s strengths, she knew, were overall business perspective and creating a guest experience – namely, hotel management. She was dissatisfied in her new job but felt that returning to hotel management was not an option. The hotel world in Indiana is small, and Ashley didn’t think her dad’s competitors would ever hire her. At the same time, getting a job outside the state didn’t seem feasible either because family commitments tied her to Indiana.
Feeling directionless, Ashley hired The Barrett Group.
“I had never thought about looking for another job until I left my father’s company. I hadn’t written a resume since I was 22,” said Ashley. “I needed professional guidance to get my head straight, and I needed help job searching.”
For the next four to six weeks, Ashley worked with her Clarity coach to think through the industry and job function she wanted to pursue, the size of company she preferred, and to understand the value that she offered employers.
“I had a great experience with Clarity. I was feeling insecure about whether I was truly good at things or just thought I was because my dad had made work easy for me. But here was an unbiased person telling me what she saw as my strengths based on various assessments and our personal interactions. It was great validation to me.”
After Clarity, Ashley began working with Julie Mathern, her career consultant, which she valued very much.
“It was really good working with Julie. Not only was she a great sounding board, she gave me accountability. We had a call every week, and I would make sure to do the things she asked me to do before the call. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t want to disappoint her. She kept me on track more than I would have done on my own.”
The first thing Ashley tackled was her resume and cover letter. Next, she updated her LinkedIn profile.
“Julie showed me how to find first-, second-, and third-degree LinkedIn connections and properly use them. Then I set up references,” said Ashley.
Setting up references required Ashley to reach out to her network, a task she found uniquely uncomfortable.
“It was very hard to contact people because everyone knows my dad and we have always been a package deal. I knew it would be difficult to talk to them about us splitting up,” said Ashley.
To her surprise, Ashley found that her contacts were quite receptive to her and had a high regard for her as a businesswoman. Many were quite happy to provide a good reference for her. The more people she spoke to, the more comfortable she became, and the exercise proved to be a valuable means of building confidence.
Looking for a job in hotel management was particularly hard during Covid – the industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Ashley had reasonable expectations, though.
“The folks at TBG said it normally takes six to twelve months to find a job, and during Covid it might be longer. In the beginning, the hotel industry was dead. My job search produced no interviews in January or February of 2021. In March, however, I saw a job post for corporate director of hotel operations in my inbox. I was pumped because it was a lot faster than I had anticipated!”
The position appealed to Ashley because it was similar to the role she’d had at her father’s company, but this time for a global company with different levels of luxury than she was used to. She’d be visiting properties around the country. Best of all, it was a remote job, so Indiana could be her home base.
“I was very excited because my experience with hotels is mostly in the Midwest,” said Ashley.
Ashley started with a phone screening and ended with flying to Atlanta for two days of in-person interviews. Within 30 days, she had the job. She credits her career consultant with many aspects of her successful search.
“Julie’s help on the back end is a huge part of why I got this job. She set me up with a great resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, and she is the one who showed me how to navigate Indeed and set up the alerts. If she hadn’t, I would never have seen that job posting.”
Ashley also thanks Julie for the excellent interview prep she received.
“Julie coached me to discuss leaving my family’s business. I didn’t want to overexplain. Her help was important because it was one of the first questions I got. My boss told me later that I’d answered that question really well.”
When the offer was in hand, Julie also coached Ashley to negotiate a higher compensation, resulting in $10,000 more in base salary.
“I was nervous to ask for more money, but I knew Julie would be disappointed if I didn’t try. My boss just said, “Sure!”
Ashley loves her new job, and she couldn’t be happier with her TBG experience.
“Your mental state is so important when you’re looking for a job because you’re putting yourself out there. Julie gave me the tools I needed to reflect who I am and what I can do and the confidence to go out and get the job I deserve.”
Most clients give TBG permission to use their first and last names and their photo with their success study. In some cases, however, clients are not at liberty to disclose this information publicly, therefore, some identifying details must be omitted or changed to protect the privacy of the client and/or their organization. Photo: 123rf.com
Peter Witke - Success Study
Chief Commercial Officer
Peter Witke was head of international sales at a medical supply company in northern Europe.
Medical Devices & Equipment
When an executive-level disagreement about management structure forced him to seek other employment in the middle of the Covid crisis, Peter knew he needed help.
Reeling from an unanticipated severance, Peter benefited greatly from the Clarity program, which helped him better understand himself and his ideal work environment.
In two months, Peter landed a role as chief commercial officer at a company with a great need for someone with his skillset.
As head of international sales for a spinal device medical supply company in Germany, Peter Witke oversaw distribution to 37 countries around the world. He designed local strategies for business partners, managed the corporate sales structure, and set organizational goals. He racked up many impressive achievements, including 39% growth in Europe. Despite his accomplishments, however, a disagreement with company leadership about management structure evolved into an untenable work environment, and Peter left the company.
Peter had always managed his job searches and knew what to do. He contacted recruiters, reached out to his network, and signed up for LinkedIn Premium for premium job access resources. But this time was different – the Coronavirus had just begun sweeping across Europe.
“At the start of Covid all the responses I got from recruiters and hiring managers were a variation of ‘We aren’t hiring now because of Covid,’” said Peter. “I also learned that, nowadays, the majority of CVs are run through an algorithm that easily filters you out if you don’t tick a certain box. I hadn’t run into that before.”
As a homeowner and a father of four over age 50, Peter felt a high level of stress about his financial situation. He knew he matched the profile of someone who can expect high hurdles to a successful job search. So, when he learned about The Barrett Group (TBG) and the robust professional support they offer jobseekers to leverage the unpublished market to find their dream jobs, Peter was intrigued.
“I found The Barrett Group’s story appealing. When I heard from The Barrett Group that 75% of all jobs are found in the unpublished market and they can help me access it, I became very curious to find out what they do differently from what I have always done,” said Peter.
Peter first talked to Tomasz Lisewski and was impressed by TBG’s sales offerings. He remained skeptical, however, until he interviewed TBG CEO, Peter Irish, too.
“I became convinced that TBG could open doors to me that were currently closed – even in a completely different industry,” said Peter.
Peter signed on with TBG and began the Clarity program, which to his surprise, turned out to be the most valuable aspect of his entire experience.
“The Clarity program was a real eyeopener for me, especially the DISC profile exercise,” said Peter. “It was the scariest experience in my life to answer 24 questions and have it yield a 20-page analytical report about my skills and personality that was spot on! The report included what other people say about me. It wasn’t all positive, but it also made me better understand why my last job failed.”
Peter learned a lot about himself, including the kinds of management structure that fit and don’t fit his personality and skills. The coaching that followed built on that understanding.
“My Clarity coach, Julie Holifield, really helped me process my situation and figure out a reasonable next job. She was very compassionate at a time when I felt vulnerable,” said Peter.
Next, Peter was assigned an Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager, Paula Nordhoff, who gave him various tasks and guided him on how best to benefit from LinkedIn, leverage his network, get in front of hiring managers, and represent himself on his CV. Peter threw himself into the work, meeting twice per week with Paula.
“It was obvious that Paula was very experienced. She realized that I was in a difficult state of mind. I wasn’t just looking for a job, I was surviving life. She kept me very active, which was important to me psychologically,” said Peter.
Peter’s ultimate landing stemmed from a contact he’d made months earlier at a medical exhibition. The head of another medical device company desperately needed someone with Peter’s skills and experience to commercialize his products. He was thrilled to consider hiring Peter as soon as sales in medical devices recovered from the Covid downturn.
With Paula’s help, Peter nursed the relationship for several months, offering the CEO ideas and a proposal for a corporate strategic plan. Peter was finally offered an employment contract as chief commercial officer of this exciting company – and at a compensation level exceeding that of his previous position.
He couldn’t be happier.
“This has been a great learning experience,” said Peter. “I greatly appreciate the compassion shown to me by my two coaches, and their willingness to support me in getting to my next role. This coaching can really make a difference in how you approach the job market.”