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The Ampersand January 2018 – When Opportunity Knocks

December 22, 2017

As the newest member of the Pekarsky & Co. family, I was recently told about an amazing opportunity…also known as the rookie hazing ritual of writing your first newsletter post. Under the circumstances, I thought it appropriate to write about ‘opportunity’. Opportunity presents itself in many forms: economically, professionally, personally, to name a few. It can be driven by uncertainty, change, technology, demand, hardship or plain luck. Usually, though, opportunity is perched in plain sight and can often be easily missed if we choose not to take notice. Fortunately for me, I recently took notice.


I joined Pekarsky & Co. in 2017 after more than six years with a competing national executive search firm here in Calgary. At my former employer, I had worked hard to establish my brand internally and externally, develop my technical skills, and I liked the people I worked with.  As a proud Aussie, I even felt that people finally understood what I meant by bloke, footy, swimming costume and sausage sizzle. Honestly, I hadn’t given much thought to going anywhere else; I was content. The problem with contentment is that it can lead to complacency. Comfortable and uncritically satisfied, though I was, in my day-to-day role, I had my blinders on as it related to opportunities to better myself, my career and overall well being.


Unbeknown to me was that opportunity to break the chains of complacency existed two and a half blocks away at a well established, boutique and uniquely Alberta-based executive search firm. I had known about the Pekarsky brand for some time; we competed after all. We even begrudgingly read this very newsletter, quietly admitting it was not bad though never imagining I’d one day be writing it.


I felt I had a good understanding of the competitive landscape within my chosen profession, had decent insight into who was doing which search and in what geographic areas they operated etc. but what I hadn’t bothered to think about was what the firm offered that was truly different. Not so much from a competitive stand point — after all, there are only so many ways to slice bread — but more so from a personal one.  The chance to be an entrepreneur, to think like a small ‘o’ owner yet have line of sight on becoming a capital ‘O’ owner.  The opportunity to be true to my own brand and truly lead — peers and clients alike — when, to date, I had only followed. All it took was taking the time to notice what existed in plain view, engaging in a conversation, hearing a story, envisioning the opportunity and taking the leap.


I like to think of the search industry as an active contributor in the area of opportunity realization. In 2017, Pekarsky & Co successfully completed over 80 searches across the country, in most cases inspiring those successful candidates to take a leap of faith and engage in a conversation that would otherwise not have taken place. Similarly, clients chose to realize opportunity through engaging us to identify and place critical talent within their organizations.


With a new year upon us, now is the time to take a step back and notice what’s around you, you never know what opportunities may be hiding just down the street.


Cam McDonald is a Principal at Pekarsky & Co. and the other half of the firm’s international search team. After 8 years in Calgary and despite being one of the few Australians to have not worked in Banff, he has fully integrated into the Canadian way of life. That being said, he holds an undying love for all things Australian and to that end, feels that it is perfectly reasonable that a 5-day cricket match still end in a draw.