December 13, 2017 – Recruiters in the search industry continue to climb the ladder within their respective firms. The latest: Los Angeles-based executive search firm The Hawkins Company has promoted Brett Byers to executive vice president. She will continue to provide executive search services to clients in the corporate, government, non-profits and education sectors.
“Brett is a proven leader who has the experience and the track record to prove it,” said Bill Hawkins, president and CEO. “Her broad understanding of the firm, from having worked in various capacities, has made her a key asset for the senior leadership team. The board of directors and I are confident that Brett will execute the firm’s strategies and provide more value to our clients.”
Ms. Byers joined the firm in 2010 as a search consultant and was subsequently promoted to managing director. She has been instrumental in leading some of the firm’s most important search engagements and is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences and workshops nationally. Ms. Byers has been a key contributor to new city administrations with recent placements of several executive team members for the cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Santa Monica, all in California. She has also led the expansion of the firm’s practice into the New Orleans and Detroit markets.
“I am honored to serve as the executive vice president for The Hawkins Company,” said Ms. Byers. “I believe in the firm’s values and the direction that it is heading. I am committed to the strategies, team and look forward to the opportunity to drive growth and performance.”
Before joining The Hawkins Company, Ms. Byers worked at international staffing company Adecco. She began her career with INROADS.
The Hawkins Company is an African American led boutique executive search firm established in 1984 and has conducted over 700 executive recruitments for senior corporate, government and non-profit organizations nationally.
Ms. Byers recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media and discussed her new role and what she expects for 2018.
Brett, take us inside your role at The Hawkins Company.
As EVP, I oversee various functions within the company which include the operations of our recruiting teams, business development, client engagement, strategic planning and technology development. Strategic planning and execution involves identifying which new markets to enter, which more recently for us have been Detroit and New Orleans. In business development, I lead our Northern California practice along with managing existing client search engagements and identifying prospective clients. Under client engagement, I am regularly checking in with our clients to make sure they are happy, advising them on organizational and talent management strategies and ensuring that their experience working with us is positive. To keep pace with current trends in the executive search industry, I also have played an active role in adding new technology and systems to our business, with a heavy focus on social media. Our social media presence is meant to make sure that our brand and work product are aligned and that people are aware of the type of talent we are placing.
What are some of your keys to finding top talent?
Creative thinking about where to look for talent and leveraging relationships are both key skills when it comes to finding best in class talent. Much of finding the right candidate relies on our understanding of clients’ needs, the executive position they are identifying talent for, what the company’s core values are, what the key priorities the new executive will need to accomplish and the core competencies the candidate will need in order to be successful in their new role. I use that information to begin to source candidates who embody those core competencies and traits. Many times, the best talent is not always readily available or apparent. This requires me to be a true headhunter by plugging into industry networks, going where the talent is and digging into organizations to find the right candidate. It also requires me to find the ‘circles of influence’ and industry leaders who will often recommend ideal candidates. So I am continuously expanding, building, maintaining and leveraging professional networks to develop a top-notch candidate talent pool.
“Creative thinking about where to look for talent and leveraging relationships are both key skills when it comes to finding best in class talent.”
Can you share some of your past search work with us?
I have completed the following searches: CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California, COO for The City of Santa Monica, CEO of the State Bar of California, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, and executive directors for both the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Authority and Detroit Future City.
What do you see in store for 2018?
We’re currently experiencing an employees’ market. With the anticipated expansion and growth of the overall economy, there are more jobs available than a few years ago. We see this as a great opportunity to partner with private, public and non-profit organizations as they look to fill these roles. We also have seen a mass exodus of Baby Boomers as they begin to retire from their high-ranking positions. So, we are working to prepare these companies to welcome a new generation, including Millennials, to their teams and prepare them for the shift in thinking they will bring. We also see now more than ever some of the toxic working conditions some employees are dealing with, more specifically among women and people of color. The value behind having women and people of color on senior teams is invaluable and an ongoing conversation. Many companies that are doing this are seeing success not just in their bottom line, but in other areas including a healthy corporate culture and work environment.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media