Operational Efficiency Consultant
Bob Meara - Part 2 of 2
Regional Sales Director
Segment Director Petfood
Vice President K-12 Strategy
Director of Business Development
Business Development Manager
Leading the growth of a marine services company’s underwater technology resources
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.”
Bob Meara - Part 2 of 2 - Success Study
Regional Sales Director
Bob Meara spent 20 years coordinating and developing advertising and marketing needs for New Jersey auto dealers.
Advertising, Digital Retailing, Marketing, Automotive
When new senior leadership made corporate changes Bob disagreed with, he decided to leave. But after 20 years at one company he didn’t know where to start.
Bob prepped his resume to circumvent ATS filters, cultivated new contacts on LinkedIn, and patiently monitored LinkedIn for his ideal position.
Despite the economic toll of the pandemic, Bob hopscotched from one new position to an even better one, now making triple the compensation.
As an automotive account executive in the advertising sales division of a major cable company, Bob Meara coordinated and developed digital marketing needs and video solutions for local automotive advertisers in New Jersey. He managed a team of marketing experts and a portfolio of over 25 clients. He’d spent 20 years with the company, but when changes from new senior leadership were no longer working for him or his clients, he knew it was time to move on.
It wasn’t long after Bob first began looking for new opportunities that he decided to hire a professional.
“I hadn’t written a resume or been on an interview in 20 years,” said Bob. “I wanted help getting my head together and to talk to someone with job market experience.”
Bob was drawn by the breadth of experience offered by the The Barrett Group (TBG). He launched into the program and started networking, even as he continued to work, and quickly saw some promising leads develop.
Then the Covid-19 crisis hit.
“All the people I had talked to went on a hiring freeze,” said Bob.
Consumer purchases for cars plummeted, auto dealers cut their local advertising – in short, the auto industry took a hammering. Bob remained committed to a career change, but he discovered some surprises in the job market.
“Everything is different. People don’t read resumes, computers read them. And computers weed out resumes by key buzz words,” said Bob. “You’re competing with many more people.”
Bob appreciated that TBG was prepared to help him navigate all these challenges, starting with the Clarity program, which confirmed what he wanted to pursue – digital retail marketing. He launched into the TBG process. Bob found his weekly meetings with George Shultz, his personal career consultant, to be the most valuable part of his experience.
“George took the time to understand my current business and circumstances. He made the effort to learn what motives me – what makes me tick,” said Bob. “He told me all about the unpublished market. I never thought about that stuff before. It was very instrumental.”
Bob also found the expert help on rewriting his resume and LinkedIn profile to be very helpful.
“I don’t know what people are looking for in a resume or in a LinkedIn profile, but The Barrett Group showcased my attributes in a way that was very appealing to recruiters,” said Bob.
When it came to interviewing, Bob felt totally prepared.
“They told me all the questions I should expect to be asked so I would never be surprised. Then we rehearsed my answers,” said Bob. “By the time we were done, I had my pitch in my head and nothing felt too hard to answer.”
Five months after beginning the TBG program, Bob responded to a job posting and landed a position in digital retail marketing. At first it seemed like an ideal job. It offered him a great opportunity with potentially limitless compensation, but within a few months he came to feel that his expectations would go unfulfilled.
“The way it was painted for me was different from how it was. There was no upward mobility and I realized I wouldn’t be able to make the income I’d like,” said Bob.
So, Bob reconnected with his TBG career consultant to explore better opportunities.
“George and I reviewed how to utilize LinkedIn to the fullest to be sure that I was running on all cylinders. He also coached me how to explain to another potential employer why I had left a job after only four months.”
One day Bob noticed a position open up at a company that he’d been following for a year on LinkedIn. He had been in talks with them about a position a year earlier, but when the pandemic hit the company froze all hiring. Bob was delighted to see that the new position was even better than the original one. Fortunately, Bob had actively maintained his contacts at the company and called them directly.
“They were impressed that I had continued to follow them throughout the pandemic and said, ‘This is the guy we need – someone who is going to create his own luck!’”
Bob is thrilled to have begun a position as regional sales director for the Northeast for an automotive marketing company – a position at which he now makes three times in compensation what he made a year before.
“I’m so appreciative of George and The Barrett Group for what they’ve done for me,” said Bob. “With their help, I was able to land two jobs within 12 months. Their program works – the proof is in the pudding!”
Lisa - Success Study
Lisa was the office administrator for a regional office of an international law firm and another office that housed all the firm’s back-office support.
For family reasons, Lisa wanted to relocate from the Midwest to the Northeast, but she was unsuccessful in finding a new position on her own during the pandemic.
Lisa benefited most by leveraging her network, which included utilizing new technical skills on LinkedIn and robustly growing her LinkedIn connections.
Lisa took a position as executive director of a law firm in Massachusetts where she oversees the operations of the firm’s five law offices.
Lisa spent five years as office administrator for an international law firm, a role in which she was responsible for managing the operations and facilities of a legal office in Kansas City and a second office that housed the firm’s entire back-office support. Lisa loved her job, but in 2020 she had to leave it. The combined catalysts of her children graduating from college and moving outside of Kansas and her growing concerns about her distance from other family members in Connecticut amidst a pandemic compelled Lisa to relocate to the Northeast. Unfortunately, her firm didn’t have any openings for her there. Lisa knew she would have to find a new job, and her firm graciously allowed her to continue working remotely until she did. Between moving and working full-time, though, Lisa was very busy and had little success with her job search.
“I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own,” said Lisa. “After three months I decided to hire someone to help me.”
She researched professional coaches online and found The Barrett Group (TBG). She liked the company’s unique approach. Its programming seemed extensive, introspective, and educational, services which promised to be relevant both immediately and in the future.
“I thought Clarity was super interesting,” said Lisa. “I learned a lot about the way I handle things in business, what kind of professional personality I have, and where I best fit culture-wise. (It has to be fast-paced and organized!)”
In her career transition, Lisa was open to considering a different sized firm, a new industry, and other changes. For her, the most important factor was location – it had to be close to her family.
When Lisa began working with her career consultant, they reworked her resume and went through other elements of the TBG program. But the area where Lisa had the most to gain was in building up and using her network.
“I had a lot to learn there. For me, that was the hardest task,” said Lisa. “Julie told me to call this person and that person. She coached me to ask them for advice, not a job. I’m not shy, but I thought it was all nonsense at first. I didn’t think networking would work. But it does. I finally came to that realization as I started talking to people. I thought, Wow! This person knows another person who has a job opening that he thinks I should apply for. The seven degrees of separation thing is amazing!”
Lisa ultimately became convinced about the merits of having a good network.
“In the beginning, I kept fighting it, but I finally learned to just follow the program. When I did do the work, I was asked to do, the program worked!” said Lisa.
Lisa’s coach also taught her a lot about how to utilize LinkedIn.
“I hadn’t really used LinkedIn a lot and it was a good education,” said Lisa. “I learned a lot about searching for people and positions, and how to connect with people I didn’t already know. When I started, I had only 20 people in my LinkedIn network; now I have over 300 people. I now recognize that LinkedIn is a great career tool – one I can use going forward.”
Three months after signing on with The Barrett Group, Lisa’s job search bore fruit, thanks partly to her newfound skills in building and leveraging her network, and partly to aggressively pursuing a job opening that seemed to be a stretch position.
“I saw a role advertised online for an executive director at a law firm in Massachusetts and I started working it. My resume didn’t match the job description, but I know law firms and what they are looking for. I knew I could do that job,” said Lisa.
As luck would have it, Lisa discovered that she had two solid connections to the firm in her network. The first was a friend at a different law firm who knew the person vacating the advertised role. The second was her cousin, whose boss knew the hiring manager for the open position. In both cases, she was able to garner a good word made on her behalf to the company when she submitted her resume and cover letter.
“Those connections helped me get the job,” said Lisa.
For Lisa, the new job checks a lot of her boxes, including great salary and benefits, having a decision-making role, advancing from office administrator to an executive director title – an admirable promotion – and, most importantly, the ability to relocate closer to family.
“Those are all huge. I didn’t believe in the usefulness of networks before, but that is what helped me get in the door. Knowing how to network is now one of my skills, and I feel 100% certain that it will be helpful going forward.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Martha Anderson - Success Study
Martha (Marti) Anderson was senior manager for HR Learning and Development at a large management and IT consulting firm.
Consulting, Human Resources, Change Management
Marti’s skills were poorly employed at her firm and her efforts to advance were unsuccessful, so she sought a better job and wanted professional guidance to optimize her efforts.
Marti reassessed the direction she wanted to go, maximized LinkedIn tools to job search, and utilized her career coach as a sounding board as she fielded opportunities that arose.
Marti landed as a senior consultant at a small consulting firm where her work and compensation properly reflect the value she offers the organization
As senior manager of human resources learning and development at a large management and IT consulting company, Martha (Marti) Anderson spent two years leading ethics, security, and compliance training. Although her tenure in the position was short, Marti had a long history at the company, having worked eight years at the company earlier in her career. Her second tour, however, proved to be unsatisfying. Marti found that the job she was hired to do was different from advertised and sought an internal transfer within months of starting it. She applied for a position with the firm’s leadership team and got it. Just then, however, the pandemic hit, and the firm froze all internal transfers. When it was clear that leadership was not going to honor the original transfer position, which she had competitively landed, Marti decided ten months later to apply for another position in leadership development. The second time, she did not get the position, a decision that Marti found unacceptable.
Marti resolved to find another job that would better align with her talents and ambitions. She started job searching and, this time, decided to enlist professional help.
“I was not energized about any aspect of my work. I started wondering why I had taken the role in the first place. I wanted to find a new job where I could thrive, do great work for clients, and see an impact,” said Marti. “At the same time, I also had a lot on my plate personally and professionally and wanted help. As we all know, it’s a lot of work to job search.”
Marti had never used a career coach before, but she knew others did to great success. So, why not her? She felt she’d sold herself short during her two previous job transitions and wanted to find her true value. She also wanted help reassessing which direction to go. After some research, she hired The Barrett Group (TBG) and was immediately gratified at their willingness to rearrange the standard program for her specific needs.
“My experience was a little different. When I signed on with The Barrett Group I had already been looking for jobs and had an interview lined up,” said Marti. “So, before I started the Clarity Program I requested a coach to help me prepare for that interview. TBG’s responsiveness and flexibility to go out of order from their normal processes to accommodate me was great.”
Soon afterwards, Marti followed up with her assigned Clarity Coach, Justin Hellman, and was equally impressed by the grounding he gave her.
“All of the Clarity Program resonated with me. Doing the personality assessments and crafting a strategic plan was extremely useful in helping me articulate what opportunities would fulfill me and how I could bring value to an organization. My experience is of especial note because I have a background in leadership development coaching and am usually the person administering assessments. It was really nice to be on the receiving side of the benefits for a change.”
When Marti began working with her career coach, she found the experience even more valuable.
“Sue [Mitchell] taught me about LinkedIn filtering – there is so much more to it than I had realized! She also helped me improve my LinkedIn profile, how to get endorsements and recommendation stories on my page. I thought my LinkedIn profile was already good, but we definitely elevated it.” said Marti. “We did practice interviews, which were terrific. She coached me to rephrase things in a way that tied in buzz words from a job posting.”
Marti was delighted with the revisions the TBG team made on her resume, too.
“We restructured my resume in a way that made my top skills clear and easy to tailor to whatever job I applied for. It was an efficient way to market myself and I definitely noticed an uptick in responses to my applications afterwards,” said Marti.
Above all, Marti valued the relationship she developed with Sue – who was an excellent resource on Marti’s job search journey.
“Sue was phenomenal! Extremely helpful! She never led me to a decision, but it was a relief to have her there as a sounding board. I was grateful to be able to talk to her during the recruitment process for one particular role that was right in my strike zone, but my intuition was telling me that the company’s culture would not be a good fit,” said Marti. (She ultimately withdrew from the process.)
After three months of constant interviewing and job searching, Marti found the opportunity that she had been looking for when she connected with a former colleague at a webinar. The colleague recommended her to a small, women-owned consulting firm that specialized in change management. Intrigued, Marti reached out directly to the CEO of the firm and was immediately struck by the achievements of the company and by the CEO’s warmth and approachability.
“It was so apparent from our initial conversations that I belonged and that I could thrive. It was a place where I sensed I could feel joy and reward and know that I could add value for clients.”
Within two and a half weeks, Marti was hired as a senior consultant in change management with a government contract where she could build a leadership effectiveness program directly with and for their executives. The compensation is a significant raise, and Marti was assigned to lead a 5-year federal contract in Organizational Effectiveness.
“I never thought I’d want to do contract work again, but it was an easy decision to accept this job offer. I love the work I’m doing now. Within my first two weeks I designed a whole new leadership program that was approved by the CIO.”
Marti says the job is a strong resume builder, too, so if she wants to jump back into a salaried position in the future, she will be able to do so at an executive level.
“It was worth every penny I paid to The Barrett Group to have someone look out for me, help me with my search, and finetune what matters to me. I knew a job like this could exist and Barrett Group helped me find it.”
Mike - Success Study
Mike was managing director for a management consulting firm that specialized in helping companies innovate.
Management Consulting, Financial Services
When business dried up at Mike’s firm in the wake of the pandemic, he needed to find another opportunity and wanted help navigating the challenging job market.
Mike focused his goals, rewrote his resume, built up his LinkedIn network, and sharpened his interview skills.
After a long job search with few leads, Mike was offered an incredible opportunity at an exciting startup as CFO – a role he’d never undertaken before.
Mike was managing director overseeing the entire Americas region for a small, UK-based innovation advisory firm. He started working there less than a year before the pandemic began. The role of Mike and his team was to find large corporations with areas of strategic need and pair them up with startups that had emerging technologies that could meet those needs. He loved his job, but the business couldn’t weather the pandemic shutdown – innovation programs moved to the backburner for many corporations and Mike saw business dry up. Mike’s job became tenuous, so, even as he soldiered on in his role, he started looking to transition to something else.
“I thought 2020 was going to be my year. We had a pipeline of clients and then Covid came and it was like a bomb exploded,” said Mike. “I continued working through 2020, but I had realized in March that I’d need a Plan B.”
Before he’d taken this job, Mike worked for a large financial services firm, where he’d worked for 18 years. So, he decided, to do his job search right, his best course was to hire a coach. He chose The Barrett Group because it offered the two-pronged approach he wanted: 1) Help with reflecting on the best roles and companies for him, and 2) Help with tapping into the unpublished job market.
“The Clarity Program was good. Everyone should go through this experience as a checkpoint in their career. I really wanted to find a job that I could stay with for the rest of my career. It made me dig deep and think about what would excite me and what I might want to avoid in a new employer,” said Mike.
For Mike, Clarity confirmed some things. He really liked working with innovative programs, and he wanted to continue that. In addition, he no longer wanted to work for a big company; he’d rather be at a small or mid-size company because they are nimbler. Naturally, there are risks associated with that, but Mike also realized that he is a calculated risk-taker.
Mike transitioned to his career consultant next, and worked through all the steps of TBG’s program, starting with reworking his resume, refining his LinkedIn profile, and strengthening his network of contacts.
“It was a lot of work, but George was wonderful. He is very seasoned, has a lot of war stories and gave me great advice. George was a great mentor. He was very detail-oriented, kept me on track, and was very patient whenever I got caught up with something and took time to follow up with him,” said Mike. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Mike particularly appreciated the help George gave him in preparing for interviews.
“In the practice questions, George made me realize that I needed to change my answers. He helped me prepare better responses for what a hiring manager would want to hear and put my best foot forward.”
When it came time for Mike to focus on pursuing leads in the unpublished market, he became a little overwhelmed by the long list of leads he was offered.
He discussed the situation with his career consultant, who worked with Mike to tighten the focus of his target companies and produce a more manageable list.
Despite his efforts, Mike didn’t have an easy job search. For months, he had no interviews. Mike was shooting for a VP or C-level role in a small to mid-level organization and, although he understood that the higher the level of the role, the fewer the positions there are available, he began to worry.
“I started to wonder whether there was something wrong with my resume or with my candidacy,” said Mike. “George kept telling me to keep doing what I was doing and I would land.”
Things got really quiet during the holidays. But in January 2021 Mike got a text from a former colleague who sat on the board of a financial services startup that needed a CFO. She wanted to chat.
“At first I thought she was asking whether I knew someone else who would be good for the role because I’d never been a CFO before. She laughed and told me that she knew that I had a lot of experience in financial services, I know financial rules and legislations, and I understand how things should operate from a customer’s standpoint. She thought I’d be a great fit,” said Mike.
After that conversation Mike met with the company’s founder. The two discussed candidly that Mike would not be a “traditional CFO.” After meeting a few more times, however, the founder grew to feel that the range of Mike’s experience was exactly what his company would need a few years down the road and that Mike was the best person to scale the organization as it grew.
Within about a month of the initial text, Mike was hired.
“I really like my new job. I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked, but I think we are building something really special, and a lot of people are excited about the product we are developing,” said Mike. “We are hoping to go public soon. I think this could be really big!”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Robert Hukshorn - Success Study
Segment Director Petfood
Robert Hukshorn was interim general manager for a Dutch innovator of diagnostic and analytical tools for the beauty industry.
High Tech, Beauty, Cosmetics, Sales, Packaging
When his interim position ended, Robert sought a new job, but Covid had changed the job market, and he knew he had to learn to job search differently from how he’d done it in the past.
Robert boosted his network and strategically leveraged his contacts to slip in the backdoor of a company for a position that was a perfect fit for his skills, experience, and long-term goals.
Robert is the new segment director petfood of a global leader in metal packaging, a position that satisfies nearly every aspect of his 5-year goals.
Robert Hukshorn was interim general manager of a Dutch innovator of high-tech, diagnostic and analytical tools for the beauty industry. An experienced change manager, Robert succeeded in achieving some aggressive organizational improvements at the company, including reducing working capital, growing sales, and reducing default rates. It was his first taste of being managing director of a company – something to which he’d always aspired. When he stepped down, he took a short break before looking for another position.
His timing, unfortunately, coincided precisely with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t consider my next move before I left the company because I needed to clear my head. In February 2020 I did what I always had; I lined up some interviews. Then Covid happened. One day I had three or four opportunities cooking; the next day they all stopped,” said Robert.
Robert continued his job search for several more months without results. By May, he knew he needed to do something different.
“What had worked before wasn’t working anymore,” said Robert.
As Robert sat googling recruiters, he began to wonder if there weren’t a better way for job seekers to get the help they need.
“Headhunters and recruiters work for the company, and I thought: Isn’t there someone that does it the other way around? Then I stumbled on The Barrett Group and thought: This is it! They are doing something different!”
Robert had never used an executive coach before, so he did his homework.
“I asked a few people I knew in the recruitment world if they’d heard of The Barrett Group. Only a few had, but none had worked with them. I filled in the form and within a few days I was talking to a company representative. Obviously, I asked for a reference. I feel that I got a really honest portrait of what the process entails. There is no magic wand and you get a dream job. You need to do the work,” said Robert. “In the end, I took a leap of faith because it was a method I’d never tried before.”
In signing on with TBG, Robert wanted guidance on honing his job search and building his network.
“I can sell any product, but I found it hard to sell myself,” said Robert. “Once I get to the table, I get my strengths across. But how do I get to the table?”
Robert’s first “Aha!” moment came during the Clarity Program.
“It was really good – way better than I expected!” said Robert. “I expected everything to be focused on the career path, but you also focus on personal goals, like work-life balance, health and fitness, and 5-year targets.”
The greatest benefit Robert got from Clarity (including the motivation to lose 25 kilos) was that it became very clear that a position of general manager, impressive though the title may be, was not for him.
“I realize that I derive my energy from the commercial and technical side of business and less so from the operational side,” he said. “That focused my job search. I put that and other goals on my wall so every day it would remind me: These are my 5-year goals!”
He also narrowed his search to the high tech and packaging industries. As Robert began working with his career consultant, he found himself reflecting on that “dot on the horizon” often during his job search, which helped him stay on track.
“The next step of the program is totally different from Clarity – it’s business!” said Robert. “Working with Greg Emslie, I really came to understand how the job market works.”
Robert had used both the published and unpublished markets in previous job searches, but he found this time was a very different experience because he learned how to be strategic.
“It’s a sales funnel! When you understand what influences a company to hire you, you can consciously take steps to increase your chances of success,” said Robert.
Robert doggedly followed TBG’s program. He updated his resume, built up his social capital, and leveraged LinkedIn to search for new opportunities. Before he had enlisted TBG, he had searched for people in the packaging industry in the Netherlands and invited them to connect. Many did, but until he joined The Barrett Group, he didn’t know how to make those connections useful. With his newfound education, though, he created a spreadsheet of his new contacts and wrote each one requesting a 15-minute conversation to get to know them. This turned out to be the key to his landing success.
“I saw a position for ‘segment director petfood’ of a packaging company that was so close to my 5-year target. I submitted my resume and a PowerPoint presentation that laid out all my qualifications through their website, but there was no hiring manager’s name associated with the position. I felt like I was throwing my resume into a black box,” said Robert. “So I leveraged the unpublished market as I’d learned.”
Robert noticed that one of his new contacts had recently worked at the company. He reached out for more information. Before long, he had the private cell phone number of the hiring manager in hand and was able to reach out directly to the decision maker. They had a great conversation.
“He told me that he knew in the first 30 minutes that I was the guy for the job,” said Robert. I entered the game just in time – even two to three weeks later would have been too late!”
Robert signed a contract two months later and is elated to have had such a successful landing.
“It’s absolutely fantastic! I wake up with a big smile in the morning and I go to work singing,” said Robert. My new colleagues have been extremely welcoming. It’s been one of the best onboarding experiences I’ve ever had.”
Robert truly valued the help he got from his coach.
“Greg was a critical co-thinker during my job search. He is someone I can brainstorm with and has been an extremely good sparring partner for me – asking the right questions, like, How will this opportunity help my long-term goals?” said Robert. “With the help of Greg and The Barrett Group, I didn’t get nervous. I stayed focused on my goals and made a conscious choice about where I wanted to be. All this has been tremendous value.”
Elfreda - Success Study
Vice President K-12 Strategy
Elfreda was a distinguished faculty member and national facilitator for a non-profit that researches the world’s best educational systems and shares its findings with America’s education leaders.
Education, Non-profit, EdTech, Software
Elfreda had risen as high as she could go in her organization and wanted new challenges, however, she wanted to be thoughtful and intentional before making her next career move.
Quantifying her accomplishments, using social media to leverage her rich network, and artfully messaging her job search were key to Elfreda’s success.
Elfreda connected with a former colleague who wanted her expertise in building out his EdTech startup and offered her an exciting executive role with a very attractive compensation package.
Elfreda was a national facilitator at a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that studies the world’s best educational systems and provides coaching for school superintendents, principals, and other U.S. education leaders on educational system designs and best practices. Her tenure at this organization capped a long career in education, education administration, and professional development, but after six years of piloting and driving various leadership development, performance, and system change initiatives, and earning the highest possible honor of “distinguished faculty member,” Elfreda felt that she’d maxed out her professional opportunities there. She wanted greater challenges.
The challenge Elfreda had was that she had always been recruited organically for new career opportunities and had little experience launching a job search. She also wanted to step back and carefully consider the direction of her career.
“I was so busy working that I never spent time getting clarity on what to do next in my career or reflecting on what I brought to a position. There came a point in my sixth year when I felt strongly that there was more that I wanted to do,” said Elfreda.
She also wanted a compensation package that was commensurate with her background and experience.
“I knew I had more value. I’m known in the education space and I’ve not had trouble supplementing my income with consulting work,” said Elfreda. “But I wanted to work with an organization where I would feel like a partner on a team and be excited about the work I was doing.”
A leadership coach, herself, Elfreda was a big advocate of coaching in career development, but she’d never hired one before. She knew the time had come to do so.
"I needed an executive coach to help me be really clear about what I wanted. I am near the end of my career and wanted to be very intentional about my career change,” said Elfreda. “Mentors have helped me throughout my career, but I knew a professional coach would help me develop a formal strategy. Coaches also bring a greater level of accountability, so the likelihood was greater that I would follow through on my strategy. I saw this as an investment in me – a gift to myself.”
Elfreda started with TBG’s Clarity Program, finding it to be a great way to reassess her goals and priorities.
“With my Clarity coach, Stuart Bailey, I realized that I had goals that I wasn’t prioritizing, like spending more time with family and exercising on a regular basis. I learned that salary is not the most important thing in my job search, rather, trust, respect, flexibility in my schedule, and working with open-minded people. Stuart also helped to reinforce some of my positive traits that I wasn’t highlighting,” said Elfreda.
“That first phase of the program was really helpful to me. I didn’t expect it to be as helpful as it was,” said Elfreda.
Elfreda got even greater benefit from the relationship she built next with her career consultant.
“Julie Mathern really pushed me. She taught me to do stuff on social media that I didn’t know how to do. That was a priority for me. I like systems to track things and she brought them to me. Julie really encouraged me. I felt we had a really good connection,” said Elfreda.
Although she had a great personal network already, Elfreda welcomed Julie’s coaching on how to leverage it and how to communicate to people that she was job hunting. She also felt that the work she did on quantifying her accomplishments added a lot to her resume and interviewing skills.
Elfreda’s job search had barely gotten started when the pandemic went into full swing. At first, she lamented her poor timing, but she came to see a silver lining.
“I was still working at my former job and, because of the pandemic, I wasn’t traveling as much. My work went online, and that shift meant less time in airports and more time at home to focus on my job priorities,” said Elfreda.
Her job search moved more slowly, but Elfreda trusted the process. She credits her consultant with keeping her on target. In the coming months, three or four opportunities arose, proving to her that her new strategies were beginning to work.
“Julie reminded me that I didn’t have to accept the first offer. She encouraged me to stay true to my priorities and wait for the right opportunity to come along,” said Elfreda. “I really valued that relationship. I didn’t want to let her down!”
Her consultant predicted that Elfreda’s network is what would bear fruit – not job postings, and she was right. Nearly a year after beginning her TBG program, Elfreda saw on LinkedIn that a former colleague was building out an EdTech startup. She initiated a conversation and, not long afterwards, the colleague said he needed her as a thought partner and would love to have her on his team.
Elfreda’s career consultant coached her through the hiring negotiations, including title, compensation package, and reporting channels. In the end, Elfreda got a job offer that delighted her and she is now thoroughly enjoying her new job helping to build learning tools for virtual education.
“I’m contributing a great deal and helping to grow the company,” said Elfreda. “I’m energized by my new job.”
Elfreda is grateful to The Barrett Group for helping her navigate this career transition.
“Having a consistent coach was really helpful,” said Elfreda. “And it was clear to me that all the people at The Barrett Group really wanted me to succeed.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Lindsay - Success Study
Director of Business Development
Lindsay was senior territory sales manager for south Florida for a global manufacturer of dental and orthodontic solutions.
Health Care, Medical Devices, Hospitals, Pharmaceuticals, Sales
After 13 years in the industry, Lindsay aspired to new challenges that were unreachable without making major career changes and enlisting professional help.
The interconnection of various job search activities, plus a strong coach keeping the process moving forward, was the perfect recipe for Lindsay’s success.
Lindsay is director of business development for a startup dental management company, an opportunity that marries the career advancement she sought with her dental industry experience.
As the south Florida senior territory manager for a global manufacturer of dental and orthodontic solutions, Lindsay was responsible for sales and strategic planning for a $2.9 million, top North American territory. She worked with existing customers, sought new business, and streamlined workflow efficiencies – in short, she was the “CEO of the territory.” After 13 years in the industry, she was ready to take her career to the next level. The problem was that her company offered no opportunities for career advancement to people in her position, even top performers like her. Lindsay had little hope that other companies in the industry would offer her them, either.
“Two years ago, I asked about internal programs to cross-train for other job opportunities, but they had nothing in place and weren’t willing to help me grow. It was clear there were few options for advancement there and, frankly, it would have been the same situation at another company. To move out of sales and make a big career change I knew I would need to advance my skills,” said Lindsay.
That’s when Lindsay decided to get an MBA. Continuing at her job full time, she spent 18 months taking classes. Driven with ambition to kickstart her new career, Lindsay enlisted The Barrett Group to start job hunting even before she’d completed her MBA program.
“Going back to school for my MBA is the best decision I ever made. You learn so many different aspects of business, how to think like an executive, and how everything connects together,” said Lindsay. “It’s also how I found The Barrett Group. One of the guys in my cohort recommended them to me.”
Lindsay’s MBA program contracted the services of a well-known recruitment firm, but after six months she realized that they were too narrow in scope for her needs. She hoped The Barrett Group (TBG) would provide her more support and help her create a solid career strategy.
“I needed help with all aspects of a job search, including rebuilding my resume, using LinkedIn, interview prep, as well as sorting out what it is I wanted to do,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay knew she wanted change, more challenges and better compensation, but she didn’t have a clear idea of what her ideal job looked like. She considered leaving the healthcare industry entirely but saw the difficulty of shifting job type and industry simultaneously.
Lindsay spent the first few weeks of the TBG Program working with Scott Henderson, her Clarity coach.
“He was very, very good! We had great conversations. We really clicked and he really helped me work through a lot when I was reeling from Covid stuff,” said Lindsay. “Scott gave me confidence in knowing what my strengths are, the management style and culture of the company I’m looking for, and that I need opportunities for leadership and stretch projects. He brought it all together.”
When Lindsay, who was the first client to use TBG’s new service delivery system, Asana, started working with her career consultant, Julie Mathern, she found it a seamless shifting of gears from the internal work of figuring out what she wants to finding a job.
“Reworking my resume was the first thing to tackle. Julie had me start by putting numbers to my achievements. Working with her and TBG’s resume writers took my resume to a whole new level. The way they word or position something I did in my job was really thoughtful and creative,” said Lindsay.
The next task was to redo Lindsay’s LinkedIn profile.
“We worked on reaching out to people and building up my social capital. I’m pretty good at networking already, but Julie challenged me to do more and get out of my comfort zone. You never know what will lead to a job opportunity. If nothing else, it’s great practice!” said Lindsay.
Lindsay already felt confident with interviewing, but the work she did on her resume improved her interviewing skills, too.
“I had to get very specific about the metrics I wrote on my resume, which I then used in my interviews,” said Lindsay. “Julie also helped me prepare for the types of questions I might get.”
The pandemic created some challenges in Lindsay’s job search – she was hard pressed to find companies that were hiring – but an unanticipated benefit was that it gave Lindsay time to finish her MBA and work on her career strategy.
“Covid was actually the best thing to happen to me because I focused,” said Lindsay. “I never lost my job, but all my clients shut down for two months. I spent that time working with The Barrett Group. No one was hiring between October and December, but people were willing to talk. I had great exploratory conversations. Julie helped me with that.”
When companies started hiring in January, Lindsay knew it was just a matter of time before opportunities would emerge for her. And they did.
In quick succession, Lindsay found herself interviewing with four different companies, all in the dental/healthcare space.
“People told me all along to stick within dental, but, at first, I didn’t want to hear that. Julie never told me that. She just kept guiding me so I could realize my own path,” said Lindsay. “Had the hiring manager of the job I took approached me last summer, I probably wouldn’t have responded. Since then, however, my thinking has evolved, and I am very glad it did!”
Lindsay’s great opportunity found her thanks to her revamped LinkedIn profile – and a bit of good timing.
“My new company is a dental management startup that provides nonclinical support to dental practices and wants to expand into Florida. I’ll be the director of business development handling the M&A new market development work in Florida, and leveraging the relationships I’ve built with dental owners to help them make their businesses more efficient. It is a brand-new business role for me in an industry where I have 13 years of experience. This is a perfect fit for me! The stars have aligned!”
Lindsay has no doubt that she will be successful in her new position and credits The Barrett Group a lot for her successful landing.
“The services The Barrett Group provided were so thorough, and Julie helped keep it all together and moving forward,” said Lindsay. “I’m a very motivated person, but it was the interconnection of all these services that helped me get the job. I realize how important it is to work with experts sometimes!”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
David - Success Study
Business Development Manager
David was a senior account manager and a 13-year veteran at a family-operated specialty food distributor.
Sales, Logistics, Food & Beverage, Food Distribution
When management changed the company’s commission structure, David decided to explore opportunities with better earning and advancement potential.
David needed The Barrett Group’s full range of services to sharpen his job search readiness, but his interview preparation and LinkedIn Analysis training were critical to landing his new role.
Within seven weeks, David accepted a job as business development manager at a company in a similar industry making double the base salary, plus commissions.
David began working for a specialty food distribution company straight out of college, wearing many hats, and growing with this family business even through an acquisition. After 13 years, he had risen to senior account manager, driving direct-to-retail sales, developing new business, and writing record revenue, but he was beginning to feel that he’d hit a ceiling on upward mobility. When management then changed the company’s sales commission structure, David decided it was time to explore other opportunities that would allow him to leverage his experience and connections.
“My compensation changed dramatically,” said David. “I am in the best earning years of my life and I needed to make a decision that was best for me and my family, so I decided to see what else is out there.”
Because David had never worked for another company, he opted to enlist professional help early on in his job search. He began by researching executive recruiters, but when he came across The Barrett Group and learned about the fuller range of services it offered, he felt that an executive coaching firm would be a better fit for his needs.
“I had never been on a job interview. I needed to update my resume, my LinkedIn profile, prepare for interviews, and do a lot of other work to get ready for a job search. I saw that The Barrett Group had great results and knew I’d be in good hands,” said David.
David didn’t resign immediately, rather he started The Barrett Group’s Clarity Program while he continued with his job.
“It was great! I got a lot out of the different personality assessments. They were so impressive and really put things in perspective – they made me reflect on the ‘why’ of my drive to make a career transition as much as the ‘how,’” said David.
David was pressed to write down his goals in a clear, conscientious, measurable way, keeping in mind the skills he has. His goals included more responsibility, having a leadership role at a company, stepping outside of his comfort zone, and getting an opportunity to convert his weaknesses into strengths.
After the Clarity Program, David began working with career consultant, Paula Nordhoff. She helped David revamp his resume, develop his reference list, build up his connections on LinkedIn, and learn how to use LinkedIn Analytics.
“Paula was awesome! We had a great rapport. She really helped me in every facet of her responsibility. She was very professional and very willing to jump on a call at any time to work through a problem. I’m very happy with Paula,” said David.
What David valued most about Paula was her help with interview preparation.
“More than anything, Paula was really, really helpful with the interview process. She prepped me on what questions to expect and how to answer them,” said David. “I’d never done interviews outside of college and that was 13 years ago. Paula helped me to be as prepared as possible for them.”
David spent a lot of time beefing up his LinkedIn connections and he credits that effort, along with his newfound interview skills, for his job search success. In the weeks after starting with TBG, David interviewed with five or six different companies, but the lead that panned out successfully was at a company with which he’d unsuccessfully interviewed months before starting with The Barrett Group.
“In October, I connected with one employee at a company that manufactures and distributes ice products. I applied for a position as national account manager, but it faded away,” said David. “In December, after I began working with The Barrett Group, I connected with someone who knows someone who knows someone else at the company I had interviewed with. Thanks to all these new connections, the company decided to take another look at me. They thought I’d be a good fit as a business development manager and that I could grow the team.”
Soon after, a hiring manager reached out to David to set up an interview. One month and four interviews later, she became David’s direct boss.
“Paula, my career consultant, coached me through the entire interview process,” said David. “She was tremendous. She was very accessible – always there when I needed her. Everything she did was great. I couldn’t have done this process without her. And the information the TBG research team provided really helped me impress people during my interviews.”
David’s new position is to develop new territories, win new accounts, and grow ice sales in the Philly metro and South Jersey area.
“I love it! I don’t take orders with this job, I am focused on getting new business, which I love. This is new and exciting, and I have more responsibility than before, which I welcome,” said David.
David is thrilled that his base salary doubled, but the growth opportunity at the organization is what truly drew him in.
“They’re quickly growing and want to add levels to their team. I feel like I fit in well with the team and am looking forward to proving myself as a leader,” said David.
David found his interactions with his consultant, Paula, and his use of LinkedIn to be the most valuable aspect of his TBG experience, but he also recognizes the great benefit he got from all of TBG’s services.
“The whole staff was super helpful during the whole process. Everything helped put me in contact with the right people at my new company. Getting a base of understanding and putting my best profile together on LinkedIn really helped secure the job for me,” said David. “I’m very happy with the preparation I got from The Barrett Group. It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Alisa Preston - Success Study
Leading the growth of a marine services company’s underwater technology resources
Alisa Preston simultaneously juggled two careers: manager and engineer at a Canadian electric utility and COO and co-owner of a family-owned, adventure tourism diving business.
As a result of family circumstances, Alisa felt compelled to resign from her salaried job and her family-owned diving business and start fresh elsewhere, but she wasn’t sure how to get started.
Finding her dream job felt like finding a unicorn, so Alisa leveraged her network to set up dozens of informational interviews with various entities to explore her options.
One company that offered guidance to Alisa grew enamored with her ideas and invited her to pitch, and ultimately to run, a new program for them as director of marine technology.
For several years Alisa Preston maintained two demanding, full-time jobs. Her “day job,” where she worked as a high-level engineer and manager at a Canadian utility company, provided her a paycheck. Her “fun job,” at which she was chief operating officer for a family-owned diving business, was an acclaimed, educational, diving expedition business that fulfilled her personal and professional passions. Alisa ended both jobs, however, when a family emergency arose that threatened the diving business.
“I was burning myself out. My “day job” didn’t excite me and my entrepreneurial business, which could have been a success, was stymied by family circumstances,” said Alisa.
Still passionate about operating a diving business, Alisa partnered with a colleague to explore starting a brand new one.
“The concept wasn’t just dive travel, it was integrated with education, science, conservation, environmentalism, and tourism,” said Alisa. “We planned trips to Fiji, Cuba, and Kenya…it had the potential to be amazing. Unfortunately, we could not have launched the business at a worse time. The pandemic hit and we had to postpone all our trips until it was safe.
Alisa found herself at a crossroads. She wanted a fresh start and was focusing on opportunities in the United States but didn’t know where to start. She had a wealth of experience in so many unique fields and wanted to find a job that allowed her to combine all her expertise into one position that was also intellectually challenging, but she didn’t know what it would be. After her challenging year, she also wrestled with serious self-doubts about her ability to take a professional leap successfully.
“It seemed like a fantasy. I wanted to pursue a job in a different country that I didn’t think even existed,” said Alisa.
In late 2019, on the recommendation of a good friend, Alisa began working with The Barrett Group. It was exactly the catalyst she needed to start an exciting next chapter of her career.
“Finding a position that aligned perfectly with me felt like a pipedream, but the people at The Barrett Group seemed to recognize the unique package of skills I have,” said Alisa. “I realized that sometimes you have to invest in something to move forward. That’s true in education, so why not in your professional life?”
With her Clarity coach, Stacy, Alisa considered her long-term vision, evaluated her value proposition, and explored her options. She learned that, in addition to using her engineering, diving, robotics, science, tech and research backgrounds, she wanted to be in the Pacific Northwest near the ocean.
Next, with Lori, her career consultant, Alisa learned to rework her LinkedIn profile, leverage her network and social media, and tailor her resume in different ways.
“Applications were the hard part because of the complexity of my resume. I leaned heavily on Lori initially, but eventually I became more independent in my job search.”
Alisa appreciated all that she learned from Lori.
“Signing on with The Barrett Group didn’t mean letting someone else find me a job. It meant acquiring the tools to do the work myself,” said Alisa. “Sure, it’s nice to have someone else do the work, but I think we all know that the easy path is not usually the best path.”
When Alisa launched her job search, she initially got a huge response from recruiters, but the pandemic soon hit its peak and things went quiet. Ironically, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“I was really nervous, and I probably would have jumped at the first job offer I got instead of waiting for the best job for me,” said Alisa. “Lori encouraged me to hold off and fine tune my search,” said Alisa.
Alisa narrowed her focus and resolved to find to a job that would marry all her talents. If not, she would pursue a PhD that would do the same and then start a company to realize her dream job. Using what she called “the TBG approach,” Alisa reached out to companies that seemed out of her league to get guidance on industry trends and how to design a practicable PhD program.
It was the perfect strategy.
“I had over 30 informational interviews with a number of companies,” said Alisa. “What started as a request for guidance on an educational program at one of those companies, a commercial diving and salvage company based in Seattle, became the initial steps in creating the job that I now have.”
“They gave me a blank slate and asked me to make a proposal out of high-level ideas and needs they had that incorporated technology into diving. I was invited to present it to senior executives at the parent company and, ultimately, to design the job I’ve been hired into.”
Alisa is thrilled with her new career.
“The job I have now includes everything I wanted – every aspect! The diversity of what they do is top-notch, and their integrity aligns with mine. I found the unicorn!” said Alisa.
For Alisa, the most valuable part of the TBG program was learning to believe in herself and seeing the value that she brought to the table.
“The incredible support of Stacy, my Clarity coach, and Lori, my career consultant, really helped me. They made me realize that my dreams were possible,” said Alisa. “There wasn’t a single meeting that I didn’t walk away from feeling uplifted. This wasn’t just career coaching; it was so much more.”