Mars Susas has accepted the position of VP-Business Development and Strategy at NRG Energy. This Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Company owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios and has ~2 million electricity customers.
How did you come to choose Kelleher Associates for your recent transition?
I was presented with a few options during my transition and after talking to some former colleagues I was concerned with the level of support I would receive from some of the national executive transition firms. I was looking for more of a personal approach to the search process.
Kelleher was recommended to me by a former manager, who is now a CEO of a building materials company. He described Kelleher as a local executive transition firm that offered a process that would be very helpful to anyone going through a transition and found that the coaches there offered personal support. It was exactly what I was looking for and it turned out to be a great decision.
We understand that you continued with an active consulting assignment while conducting your job search. What issues did that pose and what would you advise other job seekers trying to simultaneously manage these two activities?
The biggest issue is carving out enough time for the job search. I knew a search was going to look like another job, so it definitely felt like I was juggling several clients at once.
What worked for me was blocking specific days for search activities; it forced me to spend time on my job search and to finish any consulting assignments in their allotted time. I also made sure not to take on a full time consulting assignment, essentially prioritizing my search over any consulting work.
What was the most frustrating part of your search and how did you get through the rough patches?
The search process has many ups and downs; getting started was the toughest part for me. Early on I made a list of all the folks I wanted to contact. Jim Miller was very helpful by suggesting I look at it like any other business result by measuring my results. I started with measuring emails and phone calls. This transitioned to phone calls and coffee networking sessions. Finally, I started tracking interviews. I think focusing on the outputs helped drive me to keep pushing and keeping the “search funnel” full – which was a key part in finding the roles I did.
We congratulate you for obtaining multiple offers in this challenging market. Explain how you maneuvered into a position where you were able to make a decision with all of them in front of you at the same time. How did Jim Miller, your coach, assist you in this process?
Jim was key in helping me think through my criteria for the roles I wanted to consider. Then when the interviews progressed, Jim and I spent a lot of time on the phone –he talked to me on his vacation, while he was traveling - anytime I needed to have a conversation Jim was available. My biggest concern was that one of the offers would come early, relative to the others. Jim suggested that I talk to the recruiters to ensure they understood my time frame - in some cases the recruiters helped speed up the process, in other cases they helped slow it down. Finally, when I received the offers I was able to ask clarifying questions to each company, allowing me to get the final offers all at the same time. There is no way I could have managed that by myself, Jim’s experience was the key, and that enabled me to negotiate the best role for myself and family.
What Kelleher services and concepts did you find especially valuable?
There were two things that I thought really made a difference. First, Kelleher offered a program that focused on the search as a marketing opportunity. Thinking of my search as a “go to market” plan helped me develop the right tools. Second, the personal interaction I had with Jim Miller was exceptional and his experience helped guide me through a successful strategy.
Would you recommend Kelleher Associates? If so, why?
I would not trust anyone else other than Kelleher, especially if you are in the metro Philly area. Kelleher accelerates the search process and gets you noticed. They then balance this with personal service/ attention, which I don’t believe you’ll get with the larger executive transition firms. It was a great experience!