The Courage to Create a New Path

Confidential Client*

The Courage to Create a New Path

An executive in a unique role, specifically an executive and CSuite officer of a large professional services and IT firm, wanted more from their career but was having difficulty defining the ideal next steps.  While remaining in their current role, a search began for resources that would appreciate and understand the unique nature of a combined role and how that could apply to opportunities outside of the traditional marketplace.

This executive came to know Summit Executive Resources through the introduction of another client of the firm while participating in that client’s reference validation set.  Following the reference validation call with Melissa Henderson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Summit, the executive requested a confidential meeting with Melissa with the agenda of exploring possible next steps.

During their meeting, it became clear that the executive had more to offer outside of the traditional sector and function than originally thought.  With an interest in a different CSuite role as well as corporate board participation, Summit and the executive began to craft an engagement customized in the interest of achieving both.  What they did not know was which would come first – the CSuite role or the board seat.  To further vet and validate this unique approach, Melissa met with the executive’s Executive Coach. The result was a new client for Summit.  Given the complexity of the circumstances, Melissa enlisted Summit’s Managing Director, Tom Soha, as partner in the engagement.     

Summit’s Unique Process

Using their customary subjective and analytic assessment methods, as well as their unique reference validation process, Summit developed a custom strategy for the new client that targeted CSuite opportunities outside of the client’s mainline industry.  The team agreed that the new client could easily land at another like organization and would not need Summit’s help if that were the strategy.  Instead, the team agreed to take a different approach.  Summit identified and targeted mid-sized growth oriented technology companies considered highly innovative and disruptive in their industries.

At the same time, Summit mapped targets where the client would be of tremendous value to the board.  On the list landed an organization similar to the client’s current firm.  Summit’s Market Research Analyst, Peg Hulbert, identified and captured contact details for the organization’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, General Counsel and Chair of the Nominating Committee.  In addition, Peg reviewed Summit’s network connections.  During this process, Melissa and Tom realized a trusted friend of the firm was currently serving on the board of this organization.  Summit quickly contacted their source to gain insight. 

Tapping and Leveraging Summit’s Network

As discussions began with their contact, it became clear that the board was in fact seeking a very unique skill set to help fill a pending rotation on the horizon.  The source shared with Summit, that they had retained a top-tier firm to conduct their search for a viable candidate.  Where one would think the board was seeking directly linked industry expertise, they were actually seeking something very different.  Their specification required an executive who could bring a very deep technical and innovation-oriented skill set to the board.  The candidate also needed to be in a current CSuite position with P&L experience.  At that moment, Summit knew they had the organization’s successful candidate sitting in their portfolio.

Following a review of the client’s background and credentials, Summit packaged their value proposition and presented their client’s resume and bio to their source.  The response was positive and immediate…they were interested. Summit made the introduction of their client and the interview process began in October 2014. 

Summit’s Extended Tools Focus and Pave the Way

Following the first round of interviews, Summit contacted their source and gathered feedback.  The interview did not resonate fully with all the key decision makers.  There were areas where the organization needed more information and gaps in perception they wanted to address.  By using Summit’s unique subjective and analytic assessments and reference validation, the organization was able to address these perceptions.  The interview process moved forward and propelled Summit’s client as their candidate of choice.       

Following further rounds of interviews with key stakeholders involved with the organization’s board and an additional vetting process through the retained search firm, it became clear Summit’s client was going to be extended an offer to join the board.  Now Summit’s client had a very difficult and personal decision to make if the offer would be accepted – that of resigning their current position. 

The Courage to Take the Leap

As Summit worked with the client in weighing their options, it became apparent the new organization would become the cornerstone of the client’s board portfolio.  It was with great confidence instilled by Summit’s team that the client resigned their current role and accepted the offer to join the board of the new organization. 

Now that this milestone was celebrated, Summit’s client and team have regrouped and refocused the search effort.  Ensuring they are clear on conflicts with other potential targets, Summit re-entered the market for potential CSuite roles and/or additional board seats.  Just three months after landing the first board seat, Summit’s client was appointed to a second board.    

*Names of individuals and companies have been withheld due to the sensitive nature of this case study.