Michelle Reed is a senior executive who was previously the Chief Marketing Officer for Ellucian, and most recently took a Chief Marketing Officer position with SkillSurvey, Inc.
How did you learn about Kelleher Associates and why did you select them for your career transition services?
When I first entered my transition, I called upon a handful of people who I trust. They are individuals who have either been through a transition themselves or work in the executive search industry. Kelleher Associates was the common thread among firms suggested.
What were the most challenging aspects of your search?
Where to start! First, I had no resume. After nearly 22 years of employment with the same firm, I was very remiss in not maintaining an updated resume. The SARS (Situation-Action-Result) exercise employed by Kelleher was incredibly helpful in thinking through my accomplishments which not only drove resume development, but became a good tool for me to review in advance of interviews to remind me of my key accomplishments and allow me to engage with confidence.
My second challenge was to look more broadly than the industry in which I had spent the last 20+ years given my non-compete with my former employer. The process of targeting companies that meet the profile of what I was looking for was a wonderful eye-opener for me. It took me a while to get comfortable extending my reach outside of my comfort zone, but I found my way through the process and met some wonderful people in doing so.
What tools did you obtain and techniques did you learn from Kelleher Associates that proved to be essential to conducting a successful search?
The reminder to network, network, network. And how to conduct a networking meeting. I will admit it was not my favorite part of the process, but I worked my network and reached deep to connect and reconnect with people I know. Reaching out to pretty well everyone and talking to them about your search, what your ideal position and company look like is essential. I have to admit I probably had more Starbucks and Panera food than any one person should consume in a year's time, but these meetings and just getting 'out there' is a critical part of the process. And being clear about what you are 'asking for' in the meeting is also important. In most cases you are not asking for a job, but further connections and contacts to broaden your search. And your friends, neighbors and colleagues are going to be willing to help you broaden your net.
What did you learn during the search process that you didn't know before you started that became a critical part of your process?
Networking. I hadn't conducted a job search since I was in my 20's. And back then the focus was job postings. Twenty plus years later and in an executive role, the rules of the game are completely different. Jobs that are a fit for me are rarely posted; you need to meet as many people as possible to shake out opportunities.
What did you learn about the importance of networking through your work with Kelleher Associates and were they helpful to you in this area?
Kelleher Associates was incredibly helpful in teaching me how to use LinkedIn to find paths to network into companies. In addition, Kelleher Associates team members are well networked and willing to help connect clients with individuals in their respective networks.
How did you become aware of the SkillsSurvey opportunity?
I first met Ray the CEO at SkillSurvey a year before I landed the opportunity. I met Ray through a networking connection. A former colleague introduced me to a recruiter she knew. I reached out to the recruiter; he did his homework and discovered he knew a handful of people who knew me (the power of LinkedIn). After checking in with mutual contacts and meeting me in person, he was willing to set up a networking meeting with the CEO of one of his clients. He didn't think I would be a precise match for the role they were looking to fill for the organization, but thought I'd have a very interesting conversation with the CEO about their direction and entry into a market where I have expertise. We had a great conversation, but agreed it didn't seem like it was 'right' for either of us. Fast forward 10 months later and the same CEO checks in to see what I've been up to. We met for coffee and the rest is history!
You also had another opportunity besides SkillsSurvey? What was it and how did Kelleher help you navigate the decision process between both offers?
I did have another offer for senior vice president role within a higher education company – the industry in which I had spent the lion's share of my career. It was with a really fascinating company that is working to expand access to quality education to all citizens. The company has wonderful purpose and I am passionate about their mission. The company needed to significantly increase their market presence, reinforce their leadership position and get noisy in the higher education and consumer markets. Kelleher Associates (particularly, my coach Mitch Wienick) helped me think though a list of pros and cons about each opportunity, and asked me many questions about what was of interest with both opportunities, what I was thinking about them, what worried me, etc. There was a fair amount of probing to help me surface my thoughts, questions and concerns about both opportunities.
How was Kelleher Associates helpful to you during the interview process and offer package negotiations?
Kelleher Associates were incredibly helpful with the package negotiations. From initial review of what was offered, to a broad discussion of my requirements, request and goals they were insightful in providing suggested areas to negotiate. Questions were asked that focused on what was most important to me. My coach also provided clear guidelines and language to use during the negotiation discussion. The guidance provided gave me the confidence I needed to enter the negotiation conversations well prepared for both of the offers I was extended.
What advice would you give to others who are embarking on a process to find their next position and haven't had to do it on their own previously?
I strongly suggest working with a professional if you are in transition or embarking on a search process. If you needed work done on your home or your car you'd call a professional for help, correct? You really need to do the same when it comes to working on your next great career opportunity.
Would you recommend Kelleher Associates to others and, if so, why?
Absolutely. Your next career move is critical. And it's essential to have a team of professionals helping you every step of the way.