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

The Ampersand – October 2017: Cookin’ the Soup Down Under

October 2, 2017



Who knew that back in October 2009 when I joined Adam on his new little venture that eight years later I would be flying to New Zealand to meet our global partners.   To say that our firm has experienced growth since we first opened our doors would be a flippin’ big understatement, as my new Kiwi friends would say.


How does Pekarsky & Co. go from being a one-man band in Adam’s basement launched during a global economic crisis to an award-winning member of a global partnership with members from the United States, the UK, Brazil, Australia, Germany, India, South Africa, and New Zealand, you ask?  Well, if you’ve checked out our fresh new website you’ll see that we are now proud members of Panorama Search, a professional executive recruitment association of like-minded independent executive search firms from around the world.


The key word (words?) there is (are?) “like-minded”.  All Panorama partners are leading boutique executive search firms in their respective locales. So, it should come as no surprise that working with them has been easy and natural. All the qualities we cherish at Pekarsky & Co., we see in our global partners. They’re passionate about their work and business, and deliver a superior level of service for their clients who genuinely like them. Yet, every firm is unique in their market, their branding, and their expertise. Even though many of these firms are larger and more established it’s the common objective of coming together to leverage business development opportunities, share best practices, and provide support to each other, which makes this association work.  And unlike global firms, we don’t inherit our global partners; we choose them.


As Adam mentioned in our May 2017 post, he and I attended our first Panorama meeting in Atlanta earlier this year where we met with our Americas Partners and passed the first step for membership approval. The recent September meeting in New Zealand was the 2017 global conference where we were officially ratified. Not only did we win the Electoral College, but, as the photos can attest, we clearly won the (most) popular vote.


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Panorama Partners at the All Blacks Rugby Game.

Now comes the hard bit; working together in a way that benefits and provides value to our clients. This partnership, I truly believe, will raise our game in terms of providing our clients with access to candidates globally while still receiving our customized brand of love and affection. The “we would have loved to hire you guys for this one but, you know how the Board gets and all, sort of needed a global firm, you know, cover our…” as(s) an excuse, is no longer.


In fact, while your conventional global search firms dazzle you during the pitch with talk of polycentric, inter-galactic harmony, they are often burdened by conflict issues, internal fee splitting calculus and other family-style dynamics typical of the big shops. There’s the great story (what’s the word for Urban Myth, except when it’s true?) of the national law firm that dispatched two Partners from another office to hole up at a local Calgary hotel to work on a local Calgary deal without telling their Calgary partners for fear of having to share credit.


As Panorama partners, Pekarsky & Co., remain an independent business, and we are unencumbered by geography or industry or sibling rivalry; free of conflict issues working as a member of an actual, truly collaborative team, all of which translates into better value for our clients. By the same token, other local boutique firms wouldn’t dare to share critical business metrics, or operational know-how or fertile candidate hunting grounds; all of which benefits our clients at the end of the day.


Personally, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to far-away places, explore and enjoy Aussie culture Down Under, and hang out with Kiwis in Auckland. One of my trip highlights was the fantastic experience of seeing the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team slaughter (57-0) the South African Springboks – good on ya boys!


Having the opportunity to participate in Panorama meetings and represent Pekarsky & Co. was brilliant, not only for the learnings and knowledge sharing, but also to validate that we are on the right track and that Adam didn’t lie to me 8 years ago when he said, “trust me, we’re going to do great things.”  Turns out we are.  We’re following best practices in a highly competitive industry and, turns out, we’re running a tidy business. It was revealing to see how economic conditions differ around the world, particularly outside of Canada.  Industry sectors differ greatly between countries, as do clients and key business issues including taxation, privacy, cyber-security and trade, to name a few.


Work hard/play hard was also an irrefutable truth both in Sydney and Auckland, both beautiful and vibrant cities. Young multi-cultural professionals pour out of office towers at the end of the work day and every pub or restaurant is filled for Happy Hour which typically extends into late evening hours. It reminded me of Calgary’s heyday and gives you hope of surviving through economic downturns and if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. Learning of our partners’ experiences around the world was comforting and reaffirming that Alberta will emerge, as other far harder hit regions around the globe have done, and we’ll be better for it. Surviving, staying true to yourself, remaining independent and retaining your identity, while maintaining a solid platform for growth is what sets you up for success, and that’s what seems to be the thread through this partnership group that continues to “cook the soup” as our Panorama leader would say.


Meeting Panorama partners face to face is indeed critical because as much as we embrace technology and the virtues of working remotely, we are a partnership of humans and you can’t truly build successful and trusting relationships over email. Nor can you find out how many whiskey’s they can pound back either!  Like us, Kiwis are proud, tough, hard-working people, and as a country, they face the challenges of being viewed as that forgotten about little island out in the bottom corner of the globe. Innovation drives them. They are one of the top ten in the world for per capita of internet users and their Emirates Team New Zealand sailing ship recently pedalled its way to victory in the America’s Cup (despite virtually destroying their ship).


At Pekarsky & Co. I’d like to think we show the same grit and determination when it comes to demonstrating our capabilities and you should know that next time we’re invited to meet you for a pitch, this is how we prepare.


G’day for now!