Jamie Ward, Sales & Marketing Director – Gradwell Communications
"I’ve been with my current business for nine years and it’s been a highly successful period in a market that hasn’t seen much growth. As a consequence I’ve been approached by head-hunters pretty regularly, on behalf of competitors, but none of them were of interest until Chris called. The fit was great with my experience and Gradwell sounded exactly what I was looking for in a next move.
Looking back, I can see how accurately Chris described the role to me – and me to Gradwell. He didn’t oversell me or them – and that’s central to the way Chris operates. He’s honest, engaging and he manages expectations extremely well. To the extent that, after we’d met, he told me very honestly that I might not make the shortlist as they were looking for somebody with more board-level experience, which I was disappointed at. The prospect of it going no further told me this was something I would like to pursue if I could.
Having tested the market with a couple of candidates, it became clear that within the brief, the priorities Gradwell had given Chris wouldn’t deliver what they needed and actually seniority was less desirable than strategic skills and market understanding. Gradwell needed somebody who would roll their sleeves up and build a sales and marketing function from scratch. Having helped them reshape the brief, Chris came straight back to me and said I was a great match and arranged for me to meet them.
It was a long process, with five stages, and Chris prepared me well for each stage – making sure I was fully brief ahead of interviews and introducing me to a colleague who knew Gradwell’s chairman better than he did to make sure we’d left nothing to chance. He’s also kept in touch throughout the transition period, checking in to make sure all is well as I prepare to join the business, which is really useful."