Viewpoint: Serving the Canadian Market for Over 25 Years

February 17, 2022 – Winnipeg-headquartered executive search firm Waterford Global specializes in recruiting mid-to-senior professional and executive level talent domestically and internationally. Since its founding in 2006, the firm has found and placed candidates in business sectors including: healthcare, construction, financial and professional services, agribusiness, retail, communications, energy, manufacturing and real-estate.

Waterford Global’s longtime presence in the global agriculture and agribusiness sector is driven by its “belief that the strength of this sector is critical to world health.” The firm has recruited mid-to-senior level talent within: agriculture equipment companies; agriculture financing and insurance organizations; grain marketing agencies; seed and commodity companies; technology companies; terminal and transport companies; animal feed organizations; agriculture chemical companies; precision-agriculture technology companies; ag-bio processing companies; grain handling companies; farm inputs companies (crop protection and nutrition); and agribusiness buying groups. Waterford Global’s agriculture clients include Canadian and international industry leaders, operating domestically and/or globally, and whose search requirements are consistently national or international in scope.

With more than 25 years of experience in executive search and recruitment, Karen Swystun is the CEO of Waterford Global. She has concluded search engagements for all levels of technical, managerial, executive, physician and board positions. She works domestically and internationally in the private and public sectors.

Ms. Swystun recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss her firm and what she is seeing across the executive search industry.

Karen, how are business conditions across Canada?
Canadian businesses are actively focused on their game plan and in managing their organizations through talent shortages and supply chain disruptions that they have encountered in the early days of the pandemic. The healthcare and biosciences sector continues to demonstrate global investment activity and consequent search activity, including in specialized marketing, safety, and regulatory roles. Small and medium enterprises play a significant role in Canada’s economic recovery with a strong need for leadership talent in the foodtech, food delivery and logistics sectors. The financial services sector has witnessed demand for leaders that blend technical and managerial expertise in the Payment Services space and in other specialized areas.

How do you think COVID will continue to affect businesses in 2022?
While the pandemic continues to create uncertainty, Canadian businesses are likely to focus on acquiring strategic talent and accessing new technologies to compete actively for market share in 2022. Industry reports indicate that Canadian private market investments and business acquisitions are likely to remain high in 2022 and will continue to support stability and growth for small and medium enterprises.

Does COVID-19 continue to impact your business?
In the last two years, several clients across key industry sectors have deepened their partnerships with Waterford Global to acquire strategic talent and navigate change with confidence. Our firm has seamlessly transitioned to a work model blending both offline and online processes to deliver search services. As a trusted talent partner and advisor to clients driving the economy in key Canadian industry sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and private equity, Waterford Global has experienced year-on-year growth with a very successful 2021.

Are virtual meeting still being used by the firm?
Virtual search processes have been utilized more prominently during the pandemic as in-person executive search and recruitment activities continue to be restricted for safety reasons.

What positions are you seeing most in demand? Which sectors are hiring the most?
We are currently seeing a lot of demand for senior talent having skills related to food production (including food manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution), B2B business technologies (particularly in the financial sector) and digital transformation. The sectors in which we are currently seeing the most activity include the agriculture and food manufacturing/processing sector; the life sciences sector (including telemedicine, pharmaceuticals, healthcare delivery, biotech, biopharma, medical device manufacturing and vaccine development); the IT sector (including IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, information/data processing, and digital transformation), and related sectors that currently rely heavily on IT support (such as the communications, B2B technology, E-commerce, E-logistics, and E-education sectors); and the financial services sector (particularly, insurance and credit).

Can you share some recent search work completed by your firm or any ongoing assignments?
Within the healthcare sector, Waterford Global has made the following placements: chief of research and chief of corporate operations at CancerCare Manitoba; CEO at Cerebra Health Inc.; executive director for St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre; research scientist (bacteriology), Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac); and research scientist (immunology), Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac). Within the manufacturing sector Waterford Global recruited a board director for Exchange Income Corp. We also placed within the utilities sector a VP digital and transformation for Manitoba Hydro as well as a VP customer solutions and experience for Manitoba Hydro.

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