October 7, 2022 – Karen Shnek Lippman, former vice president at Bert Davis Executive Search and managing director for Koller Search Partners, among other roles, has launched her own search firm, Karen Shnek Lippmann Executive Search. Ms. Shnek Lippman, principal and founder, specializes in recruiting director, vice president, and C-level positions.
“I am a retained executive recruiter, hired exclusively by companies to identify, engage, and hire exceptional senior and executive-level talent that matches a company’s business, culture, and revenue goals – present and future,” she said, on her website. “I have recruited for and out of a wide range of companies and industry throughout my 20-plus year career in executive search, including cable TV, cloud, CPG, entertainment, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, luxury, manufacturing, media, mobile, OTT/streaming, professional services like accounting and law, publishing, software, trade associations, and transport logistics.”
Ms. Shnek Lippman has worked directly with hiring leaders at PE-backed and founder-led companies; she has worked with SMBs as well as some of the top companies in the country.
Before becoming a recruiter, she worked in public relations and communications positions at leading brands like Edelman, Tavern on the Green, and Vaseline.
“A career in strategic communications prepared me for a successful career in executive search, as it taught me how to target and engage the right audience (s),” said Ms. Shnek Lippman. “It also sharpened my communications skills – a necessity for working with senior-level talent.”
Ms. Shnek Lippman, who has more than 30,000-plus first-degree LinkedIn connections and an extensive personal and professional network, says she has no interest in volume recruiting. “Unlike many executive search firms and corporate talent acquisition teams that require their recruiters to work on seven-plus searches at one time, I will never work on more than three executive-level searches at once,” she said. “My clients have my attention and focus for the duration of their search (es).”
On her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Shnek Lippman shares a revealing essay about her journey to starting her own firm, which came in the wake of helping to care for her sister who was dying from cancer, a brief stint as a contract recruiter for a Fortune 20 company, and two months working in a front office job at a friend’s summer camp in the Adirondacks. She had job interviews, both before and after her time at the camp, but came away dissatisfied. “Each one, more disappointing than the next,” she said. “Each one, deflating my interest in continuing my career in executive search.”
In the end, however, she had a revelation. “What I decided after my last round of interviews and knowing what I know about the executive search and talent acquisition business having worked at two boutique NYC search firms and in-house at a Fortune 20 is that if all of these people and companies can recruit, hire, and go about executive search and talent acquisition with such limited bandwidth – and sometimes, complete apathy – and make money and be successful – what the heck am I waiting for? People who know me well have been asking me that question for a long time.”
It was fear, she said, that had been holding her back. “Two kids to raise as a single mom,” she said. “Living farther outside NYC than is feasible for a daily commute, pre-pandemic. When someone close to you dies, that same fear, magically disappears. It becomes power. It is liberating.”
For decades, Ms. Shnek Lippman realized, she had been competing with practice leaders at the elite big and boutique search firms and more than held her own. “My kids are grown and almost flown. Unlike what I mastered for the past 20 years, I have all the time in the world now to do research, interview candidates, and travel to where I need to be – on my time,” she said. “Working for myself, I do not need to attend two to three hours of benign team meetings daily – when I can be recruiting and interviewing candidates.”
The positives, and she found there were many, far outweighed the negatives. So it was that she took the plunge. “It is time for me to shine bright – again,” she said.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media