Want a Great Career Just Create It

Where do you turn for leadership insight? A lot of people in media and entertainment turn to Heidrick & Struggles, a global provider of executive search, leadership consulting and culture shaping services.

And more specifically, they turn to Angela Gardner, who rejoined the firm last November as Partner within the global consumer markets practice.

Based in Los Angeles, she's tasked with delivering leadership insight to clients across consumer- and technology-facing industries, including digital platforms, in the firm's Media and Entertainment Practice.

Leadership Insight

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Gardner returned to Heidrick & Struggles from Yahoo, where she led the company's global executive search team and was responsible for talent acquisition across the business functions. She also spent 10 years at Fox Entertainment Group, where she established and led talent acquisition.

CMSWire caught up with Gardner to discuss her new role, as well as her webinar “How to Unlock the Power of You” produced in association with PromaxBDA.

“Many professionals in the marketing, promotion, and design community have mastered the tools and tactics of their trade but they lack the ability to direct those skills to themselves — for networking, cultivating relationships and showcasing their resume and skills in the best possible light," she said.

Sobel: How do you define “The Power of Me?”

Gardner: "The Power of Me" is about recognizing that we each individually control our destiny. When I first started recruiting, resumes looked very different. There was still an expectation that you would spend most of your career with the same company, and that the company was responsible for your career progression.

Now careers are very much driven by the individual. We need to recognize that, welcome it and make sure we manage accordingly. It’s helpful to view ourselves as a product or service, and apply the same rules to our own careers as we would to a business or marketing plan. This takes discipline, objectivity and self-awareness.

In that way we can know ourselves, play to our strengths, improve areas for development and ultimately unleash the power that lies within us all: hence “The Power of Me.”

Sobel: When you established Fox Networks Group’s first in-house recruiting function, you applied the principles of executive search to talent acquisition. Was this new to the media industry?

Gardner: It was certainly new at Fox. Very few media companies at the time had an in-house recruiting function. And those that did have one generally had grown their own talent. Very few had brought in senior level experience from the executive search world. We broke new ground with the level of proactive recruiting and customer service we were able to deliver.

Sobel: What were the challenges of launching a variety of services at Fox, along with a joint venture, Hulu, with NBC Universal?

Gardner: The challenges were varied. The brands were very different, as were the geographies. Some were mature businesses, others completely new concepts. To succeed as a talent acquisition executive, you must be agile, a cultural chameleon. You have to be able to empathize and project manage effectively.

In addition, you have to have a good eye for talent. Decisions are made quickly and results are expected even faster, so you have to be proactive and manage expectations while being completely aligned with the business objectives.

Sobel: How do you see the future of recruitment, both from an individual as well as corporate perspective?

Gardner: The recruitment industry, and more specifically, executive search is a fascinating business.

As our worlds become more digital, we are seeing functional convergence of skills across industries globally at a rate never seen before. Since I returned to Heidrick, I have been blown away by our ability to bring together collaborative teams to help our clients strategize and build for the future.

For me personally, this is the best business in the world. We are in a very privileged position, helping our clients build world-class teams that enable them to drive their businesses to growth and success. The individuals we place are able to realize their personal career goals and help change the world.