Valor Partners Recruits Head of Talent Acquisition for Starburst Data

August 4, 2020 – Doug Johnson of Roanoke, VA-based executive search firm Valor Partners has placed former Datastax executive Jenna Connell as head of talent acquisition for analytics company Starburst Data in Boston.

Mr. Johnson said that his client wasn’t necessarily looking for someone with Ms. Connell’s qualifications to fill the role. “They were looking for someone at a lower level who could come in and play the role of recruiter, a tactical recruiter to manage the day-in and day-out work of postings, resume review, screening conversations, etc.,” he said. “What they got was someone who was so much more and someone who was really the ideal fit for the strategic growth of the company. To the credit of Justin Borgman (CEO of Starburst), he realized exactly the caliber of person he was interviewing when he met Jenna and made the strategic decision to level up the role so he could add her to the team.”

Ms. Connell joins Starburst from Datastax, which she helped grow from 60 people to over 700 while both expanding U.S. operations and helping to hire talent and open offices in 17 countries around the world. Ms. Connell also gained HR experience with Mozilla Corp., Solum Inc., Electric Cloud, Extreme Networks, Cisco Systems and Time Warner.

“Two things made Jenna a great fit,” said Mr. Johnson. “First, the alignment and chemistry with Justin Borgman. That was key. Second, Jenna knows the space cold. She spent six years with Datastax, building their teams around the world. Her network in the space is extensive – she knows people in all functions, at all levels, across the U.S. and around the world.”

“Further, she lived through and helped to create the rapid growth at Datastax,” Mr. Johnson said. “She brings a level of experience to the team at Starburst few people have. She will bring the ability to see around corners that most people aren’t even aware exist. The ability to anticipate potential challenges will be high value as the company continues to grow and acquire people.”

Starburst is on a mission to power analytics anywhere. It helps companies quickly unlock the value of their data by making it easy to access. Starburst does this with Presto, an open source SQL query engine that enables data consumers to access any data where it lies. Starburst Enterprise Presto is purpose-built to ensure Presto security and performance at scale. Starburst also provides enterprise-grade features and 24×7 support from the Presto experts. The company’s clients include Zalando, Slack, Grubhub, Comcast and FINRA.

Serving Technology Companies

Valor Partners is an executive search firm focused on the technology industry. Over the last decade the firm has completed over 600 searches for its clients, ranging from the C-suite to individual contributors. Valor Partners’ typical search time is less than three weeks from start to short-list of qualified candidates. In many cases, the firm has recruited candidates ready to interview within the first week.

Mr. Johnson founded Valor in 2002. He has been working with enterprise software executives to identify and recruit executive leaders and to build best-in-class sales and marketing teams for over 20 years. In his role, Mr. Johnson focuses on enterprise/SaaS software. His executive focus is helping clients with the challenges of building the revenue side of their businesses — sales, marketing and customer success — primarily with a particular focus on female leaders in tech.

Recruiting HR Leaders During COVID-19

“In the COVID age, I would describe the demand for HR people as stable and dependent on the company’s growth plans,” Mr. Johnson said. “Unfortunately, HR in many cases is viewed as a cost center and as companies continue to look for ways to save money as business continues to be slow to return, I expect HR to be viewed as one of those areas that will be viewed as expendable.”

“Now, while I also see internal recruiting largely viewed similarly, I do think that talented recruiters will be in high demand once things start to thaw out,” said Mr. Johnson. “However, I will not be surprised to see the way internal recruiters are paid to be radically different.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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