red line  THE AMPERSAND  red line

Bringing people together in a more personal, authentic way
than an ‘and’ could ever do.

Everything Old is New Again – The Pekarsky & Co. Newsletter June 2015

June 10, 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you may know, our firm has been growing steadily since we opened our doors in 2009.  Through thick times and thin, we have been taking on increasingly senior and high-profile mandates across a much broader range of roles and industries than we could ever have imagined when we first hung our shingle. The pudding: we recently concluded a very successful search for the EVP & General Counsel of one of Canada’s largest public energy companies and we find ourselves on the preferred search vendor list for some of Canada’s most respected companies. Not bad for the proverbial (ok, actual) basement start-up. In fact, we have successfully executed over 350 searches and expanded our footprint well beyond our roots in the legal space. Six years in, we have touched virtually every senior role type under the corporate services sun for companies large and small, public and private, local and national.

In addition, we have written 74 newsletters, read by over 300,000 people (or at least by 300 people, 1000 times); we have raised or directly donated more than $600,000 to dozens of local charities and worthy causes…oh, and we’ve changed our name three times.  But, as Churchill said, “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

In twin moves that speak to our evolution and our success, one of our named Partners, Terry Stein, recently retired from the firm, while our longest-serving employee-turned-partner, Ranju Shergill, took on an even greater equity stake in the enterprise.  Up the QE2, Rick Vogel continues to provide great leadership to our rapidly expanding Edmonton office, now three members strong and making a huge impact in the Capital Region. Not wishing to sound like one of those old law firms that changes its name with every retirement, departure or death, we are embracing all of the change and growth we’ve seen in the last few months (and the past six years) by proudly taking on the name Pekarsky & Co. as we move ahead. The same superb core team remains in place, as does the unyielding prairie work ethic, the constant commitment to community and the unparalleled ability to faithfully serve a broad range of clients across a wide spectrum of positions.

It’s very humbling and gratifying, too, that the team around me seemed more intent on the name than I was.  My ambivalence atop the marquee stemming from a deeply-held view that this firm has never been about me as much as the team around me. But you will see as we unveil our new website (new version going live on June 22, 2015) and collateral material in the weeks ahead that the new name is as much about the Pekarsky as it is about the & and the Co. and for this reason, I am thrilled with the direction we’re heading. Having shown you a little leg these last few months, here’s the Full Monty:

Last month I explained, in detail, our decision to go red. Having flogged that horse to within an inch of its life, let me briefly provide the Reader’s Digest essence of the new us: The use of the & puts emphasis on the idea of what we do here every day: which is to bring two entities together.  Whether it is our client & candidate, our firm & our community, the people we know & those we want them to meet, or simply our passion & our purpose. Using the ampersand symbol signifies an intimate relationship with every one of our stakeholders and that is the hallmark of our uniquely boutique offering.

Not just our name is changing for the better. We continue to expand our work in the “C-Suite,” the not-for-profit sector and we are also growing our Board search practice.  Frankly, we feel there is a tendency on Boards to recycle a fairly finite list of ‘usual suspects’—often ‘pale, male and stale’—for these increasingly important and demanding roles. In light of new ‘comply-or-explain’ rules requiring certain companies to provide annual disclosure on the number of women on their boards and in executive officer positions, a fresh approach to Board and executive search is more than just good governance, in our view. It also happens to be something our clients keep asking us about so…who are we to disappoint?

The final piece, or at the least the most recent, of our ongoing evolution involves a friendly little strategic alliance between Pekarsky & Co. and Rosenzweig & Company, a like-minded firm based out of Toronto and Montreal. We have collaborated with Jay’s firm over the years on an ad hoc and informal basis, always with great results for our client.  Yes, math is hard but we see this as 1 + 1 equaling 3. Pekarsky & Co. will now have full access to Rosenzweig’s existing international partnerships with other boutique executive search firms in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Our two firms will work together on mandates where it makes sense for our clients, reinforcing our long-stated view that boutique is beautiful by allowing us to continue competing against the leading global search firms in breadth of reach, access to resources and depth of talent. Taken together, our two firms have led some of the most high-profile and complex executive search mandates across virtually every sector of the economy and every functional discipline in corporate Canada. Pekarsky & Co. is in good company, indeed.

Now, in case you’re worried that our success has gone to our head and we’re no longer any fun, worry not; we still throw the best rooftop Stampede party in Calgary and enjoy showing our lighter side through this newsletter and our Twitter account. We even have a dog – Gus, of September 2014 newsletter fame – in our office (just don’t tell the landlord). We have also been known to book off early in search of a good margarita, an extra long ski weekend in Fernie, or an occasional stealth Vegas run. We seem to have found that illusive balance between taking our work very seriously not necessarily ourselves.

But on a more serious note, over 75 years ago my grandpa, Henry Singer, put his name on the door and started what remains one of Canada’s most respected retailers, now led by the third generation of Henry’s lineage, my cousin Jordan.  We at Pekarsky & Co. are only on year six, but it is our hope that we can follow in Henry’s footsteps and build something bigger than ourselves and hopefully just as long lasting.  Tellingly, when we were reviewing options for the new firm name, my 11 year old suggested “Pekarsky & Sons.” Is it a coincidence his middle name is Henry? Well, yes, it is but I do expect the firm is safe at least to the second generation and hopefully beyond.

Of course, we would be nowhere without you and the support you have given us these past six years; by dutifully reading our newsletter, by faithfully retaining us on all manner of searches, by referring us, confiding in us, and trusting in us. For that and for so much more we thank you. And we so look forward to sharing this next exciting chapter with you.

In the weeks and months ahead, you will start to see and hear more about us. Rumour has it we’ve even been nominated for a prestigious business leaders award. More on that later this month. For now, all we ask is that you kindly spread the word to others whom you feel may have an interest in hearing more about the new, yet not so new, Pekarsky & Co.



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