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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Pekarsky & Co. April 1 Newsletter

April 2, 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I recently rediscovered Dr. Suess. Not for myself, necessarily, but in the course of reading a bedtime story to my 7 year old. It started with The Lorax but over the subsequent nights involved working through most of my, err, his extensive collection. Revisit some of those classics as an adult and it becomes less about Thing One and Thing Two and more about learning a thing or two.
You may recall that last Fall we gathered as a firm to review our value proposition statement; that promise of value to be delivered; the primary reason a prospect should buy from us; an explanation of how our product solves our customers’ problems or improves their situations and delivers specific benefits. You might think that’s a fairly straightforward exercise. But you throw a few lawyers, an English lit major, a Masters in Communications, a biologist, an accountant, a Bachelor of Administration (with a focus on organizational effectiveness, no less) and a theatre major (!) in a room together and, well, it tends to bog down a tad. Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!  
We know search.  We know that while there isn’t much a science to finding people, there is an absolute art to building real relationships.  We know process, but we also know when to colour outside the lines.  We know that hospitality and hard work and a handshake still matter.  We know our clients, care about our candidates, and give back to our community.
Above all, we know people.

The Founding Fathers probably whipped up ‘We The People’ quicker but let’s be honest, ‘We Know People’ is bound to have a bigger impact on the future of the free world so we were entitled to take a bit more time on it.

But all kidding aside, it’s tough out there. I’d bet if you are reading this in Calgary you or someone you know has been directly impacted by the recent downturn. Amidst the heartache of layoffs, however, lies a once-in-a-cycle buying opportunity for talent. The caliber of individual, whether mid-management or C-Suite executive, that can be sought out, pried loose and incented to perform in a new home is far greater at times like this.  Let’s face it: most of us could look like a genius at $100 oil.Whether it’s oil, gas or even the lowly art of professional services, we are all working in a revenue-constrained environment. Happily, even in times like this, people retire, spouses relocate, promotions become available and new enterprises spring up, all of which results in ongoing hiring. In fact, many of our clients see this as a very bullish hiring market. Still, as hard as we are working to maintain the revenue side of the balance sheet, we, like you, are taking a hard look at the expense side too; that, at least we can control. One of the benefits of leaner times is that it forces you to actually manage your business. I’m not proud of this, but in the course of a recent belt-tightening exercise led by our all star Office Manager, Sinead O’Connor (nothing compares to her), we discovered that Telus had been charging us for a fax line at $135/month. Half the employees in my office don’t even know what a fax is. They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!Shaw has stepped up and, after some shaming by our crack squad of I.T. studs at Berti Group, agreed to reduce phone and Internet charges significantly. We also fired the Culligan man, reverting to a tasteful Costco lemon water filter thing and we ditched our fancy postage meter in favour of old fashioned stamps (seeing as we send mail only slightly more frequently than faxes).You’re in pretty good shape, for the shape you are in. Just in the past week we have been retained by the Canadian Propane Association seeking a Senior Director for the Propane Training Institute; a Director, Philanthropy for the CNIB and we have just pitched for a very interesting CEO search with a great company based in Calgary and Edmonton. We continue to go cross-country for a Senior Regulatory Lawyer for a major pipeline company and we’re at short list for Alberta’s Chief Crown Prosecutor. We also successfully closed a search for Ivanhoé Cambridge as well as finding three new board members for Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.  All things considered, not bad.To fill the void created by losing the fax machine and postage meter, we stumbled upon The Twitter. Though this newsletter is seen by over 15,000 people/month, we currently have a woeful 358 followers on Twitter.  To boost our Twittership I will personally donate $1 to my own Gordie Howie Alzheimer’s fundraising efforts for every new follower between now and April 15th or 1000 followers, whichever happens first. You can follow us here; it’s basically our newsletter put in the dryer along with a few reTweets from our personal Twitterverses…one of the joys of owning your own business? Head Office is fine with this (likely because we’re really not that interesting in real life). Oh, the tweets you can tweet.

In Edmonton, Rick Vogel once again spoke at the Municipal Internship Program, an initiative offered by Alberta Municipal Affairs to help build the management capacity of Alberta’s municipal governments. Rick has been speaking at this program for the past 5 years, discussing resume writing, interview skills and preparation, professional networking and the overall municipal industry.
And, for something completely different, Edmonton Associate, Jane Voloboeva, had the honour of performing the Polonaise and Viennese Waltz at the 40th Anniversary of the Johann Strauss Ball. Jane sits on the Johann Strauss Foundation Committee along with her fiancé, Oleg Bogatyrevich. They performed before the Austrian Diplomat, Ambassador of Latvia, Mayor of Edmonton and Lieutenant Governor of Canada. (sounds like the beginning to a bad joke…so the Austrian Diplomat, Latvian Ambassador, Mayor of Edmonton and the Lieutenant Governor walk into a bar…). But seriously, the Ball is not only a one-of-a-kind event complete with live ballroom accompaniment, tails and full length ball gowns but also serves as a fundraiser for the scholarship that is awarded to two talented musicians to study in Austria. Meanwhile, back in Calgary the team spent a fun and valuable morning volunteering with Calgary Emergency Women’s Shelter to help sort through christmas gift donations from around the City. As you’ll see from the images, they really ‘threw’ themselves into it. If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.One more community related announcement before services adjourn. As mentioned above, consider this a final plea to support me as I try to raise another $25,000 for Alzheimer’s research. Since 2010 our firm has helped raise over $300,000 for this amazing cause. To support the Pekarsky & Co. Pro Bonos’ fundraising efforts kindly donate generously by clicking here. We know these are difficult times in which to raise money but every little bit helps. Even a simple Twitter follow puts another Loonie to the cause. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. Finally, you’ll have to keep watching this space for some very exciting upcoming news. If I told you about it now, you’d think I was playing an April Fool’s joke.  Clue?  You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know.  And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. You’ll have to wait until later this spring, people. Sinead will pen our mid-month edition and I’ll be back to you May 1.Until then, I meant what I said and I said what I meant.Regards,

Adam
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