Near the end of my IE Executive MBA I decided to leave CHC Helicopters after over 6 years. Immediately after graduation I received several consulting gigs and embraced the opportunity. Consulting was exciting and lucrative however too sporadic. I consulted for some of the big firms including BCG and McKinsey and several prominent financial firms in New York and London. I also did a large scale transformation for Vector Aerospace a subsidiary of Airbus in the UK. With over 20 years of experience in aviation I landed a consulting gig with a biotech company called Stemcell Technologies where I led a joint project with GE Healthcare to effectively cure cancer with a new technology called CAR-T. Landing this contract proved to me that my skills and leadership experience are in fact transferable. Throughout my journey several people warned me that when it rains it pours and for me this was certainly true. Shortly after landing the biotech contract I managed to land an excellent senior executive role with a unique airline in my home town of Vancouver, Canada called the Harbour Air Group. Harbour Air has an excellent culture, a unique product, over 50 aircraft and has won the “top 50 best managed companies in Canada” several years in a row. When the Royals came to Canada we flew them around on their tour.
"As I reflect, I believe my networking evolved, it became targeted and focused on exactly what I was looking for. My networking included people I knew in my past while others were pure cold contacting via email or phone."
Frequently I hear people say that to be successful you need to work hard. I agree with this and have certainly been working hard my whole life. While working hard is a big part I believe it is also about learning from experiences and improving on them quickly. During my search I sent out targeted CV’s globally for roles that fit my experience. After less than stellar results I changed things up by modifying my resume and my search areas which sadly had the same result. I also did some networking during this period however it did not result into much either. I changed my game plan yet again and started to dig deep and reached out to people I had not seen or spoken to in years. As I reflect, I believe my networking evolved, it became targeted and focused on exactly what I was looking for. My networking included people I knew in my past while others were pure cold contacting via email or phone. This new tactic were a direct result in 100% of my consulting gig’s and my recent executive appointment.
The big lesson learned for me during this time is that the CV is dead especially for more senior roles. Of the hundreds of CV’s I sent out, not one resulted in anything while on the other hand 100% of my consulting and recent executive appointment ended up coming from networking. It is interesting to reflect that prior to the EMBA 100% of my roles were a result of my CV and thus I did not need to network. In hindsight my foolish plan was that people would recognize my work and find me through reputation. This worked for me in the past however I have found this strategy no longer works today. The world has changed and so has the level of trust or lack thereof. This -I believe- is the key reason why networking is so important, because the level of trust is already established. The key to networking is to establish a professional relationship and building that trust. I recommend parking your CV during your search and only pull it out for your first interview upon request. Note, for some of my gig’s I did not even need a CV. I believe building relationships, aka networking will result with you ending up with a role you want rather than a job you think you need.
I would like to thank everyone at IE and my classmates for all your advice and coaching on searching for an executive role, all of the advice certainly helped. I am really enjoying my new appointment and excited to lead exciting growth and change.
IE Executive MBA 2013
VP Maintenance Operations | Harbour Air Group
Harbour Air was founded in British Columbia (Canada) in 1982. With two small Dehavilland Beaver seaplanes and a plan to service the forest industry, we began offering private charters. With growing success the company quickly expanded, adding scheduled flights between Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and Whistler.
Today, with over 31 years in business and more than 50 aircraft, the Harbour Air Group consisting of Harbour Air Seaplanes, Whistler Air and Saltspring Air have become the largest all-seaplane company in the world. Services now include frequent flights connecting downtown Vancouver, downtown Victoria, Nanaimo, South Vancouver (YVR), Sechelt, Comox, Pitt Meadows the Gulf Islands and Whistler along with a wide selection of scenic adventure tours and private charters.
Discover the high-towering Olympic Mountains, rugged shorelines of Vancouver Island or almost anywhere you want to go in spectacular British Columbia with Harbour Air Seaplanes.
Our commitment to service, comfort and safety is our number one priority. With your support, Harbour Air Seaplanes, Whistler Air and Saltspring Air continue to grow and we appreciate your business.
Source: Harbour Air