Executive Search For Start Up, VC And Private Equity Funded Medical Device, Life Science, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology Companies
From Generalist to Specialist
My career in executive recruiting began in the 1980s as a researcher for one of the large national firms at the time BF&E. Researcher as it was defined then was a junior associate with the task of being the unicorn hunter—finding the best fit for the partner assignments.
I was fortunate to be exposed to a broad range of search assignments in that role due to the fact that in the era the tier 1 search firms in Chicago were generalists in nature. This meant that we took on projects across all industry sectors such as manufacturing, automotive, banking, not-for-profit, telecommunications, healthcare insurance to name a few.
Being the “wing man” for the senior partners exposed me to a wide variety of clients which demanded a high level of professional versatility.
As such I would be the go-to person to dig up and screen talent for the partners for their executive level positions. This was my boot camp to learn at the side of top professionals at an early phase of my career growth.
By the year 2000, I saw the executive recruiting industry change. With the influences of personal computing, the internet, cellular communications and the expansion of the use of executive recruiting for early stage companies, I recognized the need to adapt to the dynamically changing demands of clients.
Demands for Specialization
In order to adapt quickly, I formed JP Boyle & Associates with the focus on health technology companies. Health technology has evolved to include medical device firms in all their variations, digital health, mHealth, eHealth, and nanothech.
Why having roots in a broad range of industries from my generalist days becomes relevant is because it affords a perspective that is not easy to attain if one is only working within one industry culture.
As more and more clients within medtech required greater subject matter expertise, building deep background and experience aligned with what clients are concerned about when working with a recruitment professional.
Clients inevitably want to know how large your network is. In other words, what is the depth, breadth and scope of one’s network in their market?
This is of course where specialization becomes valuable. To build a large network today is not as challenging as it was back when I began. Since the inception of the firm it was always a priority to leverage all the latest technology available to mine the internet and social media to its maximum potential. In fact, today if no one can hide from our reach with 21st century tools.
Mission Critical Search Experience
However, the development of large networks is not the key value that this experience brings to bear. Rather, specialization—the years of working in the health technology space—hones one’s ability to assess talent and make judgments that impact clients.
Working with investors, boards and the C-suite, it becomes abundantly clear that when we are asked to undertake an executive search, these projects are often times mission critical. A poor hiring choice could be a make/break decision for the company–particularly for growth stage companies. Indeed, careers are on the line.
Thus, I am mindful of gravity that these projects have when clients need the help I can provide.
So, it has been an interesting journey from the generalist to the last 18+ years as a specialist. What I can say is that I am indebted to all the clients who have placed their faith in me to help when the called upon to do so.