Susan Medina and Peter Gomez Contribute to Crain’s Chicago Business

Susan Medina and Peter Gomez of Battalia Winston’s Diversity and Inclusion Practice recently contributed an article to Crain’s Chicago Business.

When Ursula Burns steps down from Xerox later this year, the number of black female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies will shrink to zero. Burns will exit a very homogeneous group of leaders—one that currently has only four black male and nine Hispanic CEOs.

While diversity of the population as a whole is increasing across the country, the representation of people of color in C-suites is decreasing. This is particularly true here in Chicago. According to Chicago United’s Corporate Diversity Profile, minority groups make up only 8 percent of C-level executive positions in the top 50 public Chicago companies; 17 of those companies, or 34 percent, have no ethnic diversity within their executive ranks at all.

Read the full article on Crain’s. 

Frederick Lamster Joins Battalia Winston as Partner in the Retail Practice

NEW YORK, June 2, 2016 – Battalia Winston International announced today that Frederick Lamster has joined the firm as Partner in the Retail Practice.

Fred is a veteran human resources and staffing professional whose career spans more than 25 years. He has worked across all retail apparel and fashion segments, including department and specialty retail, eCommerce, and catalogue retailing.

Fred has used his expertise in organizational design and efficiency to help a number of major retailors through turnarounds, mergers, acquisitions and transitions. Throughout his career, he has transformed HR teams from tactical and transactional departments to strategic and results-oriented teams.

Before joining Battalia Winston, Fred was Chief Human Resources Officer for Orchard Brands, (recently acquired by Bluestem Brands) a $1.1 billion catalog marketer, where he was responsible for making key hires in merchandising, planning and production. He also served as SVP of Human Capital for Body Central, a Florida-based regional retailer that operated more than 250 stores.

As EVP of Human Resources for Charming Shoppes, parent company to plus-sized brands like Lane Bryant and Catherine’s Plus, Fred focused on aligning five disparate HR teams before developing an overarching hiring strategy that led the company to increased profitability and, later, a successful acquisition by Ascena Retail Group.

Fred was VP of Staffing for L Brands (formerly Limited Brands) for 12 years, an international company that operates a number of well-known brand names, including Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works. At L Brands, Fred was responsible a complete overhaul of the leadership teams across the company’s multiple business units. He made strategic hires at every level and spearheaded the rebuilding of the executive team as well as the merchant, design, production and planning teams.

In all of these roles, Fred built high-performing executive teams and developed an internal bench of future leaders. Fred has a keen understanding of creating HR strategies that align with overall business objectives. He takes pride in helping companies build HR programs that will attract key hires while also retaining and cultivating leadership talent.

“My role is not just to fill jobs, but to build better organizations and better executive teams—so they can get better results,” said Lamster. “Even though I’m working on back-of-the-house operations, I’m always focused on the customer. I am always asking, ‘How can we improve internal functions to ensure greater efficiencies and better results?’”

Battalia Winston’s retail practice specializes in recruiting executives and other senior-level leaders across the entire retail spectrum: from chain, department, and specialty stores to restaurants and food services companies.

“We’re thrilled to have Fred join our team,” said Dale Winston, CEO and Chairwoman at Battalia Winston. “His in-house experience at major retail brands will be a valuable asset to our retail practice.”

About Battalia Winston

Battalia Winston was founded in 1963, and today is one of the world’s largest woman-owned executive search firms. The firm is consistently ranked as one of the top fifteen executive search firms. Battalia Winston has offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Woodbridge, NJ and Washington, DC. Over the past 50 years Battalia Winston has conducted executive search assignments and established expertise in virtually every major industry and functional area. Clients range from early stage companies to Fortune 100 global enterprises. Each of Battalia Winston’s partners concentrates in an industry group reflecting his or her individual expertise. These practice groups include: life sciences, healthcare services; technology, media and entertainment, industrial products, professional services, financial services, consumer, legal, risk, compliance, family business, diversity and inclusion, retail, and nonprofit.

4 Qualities All Successful CEOs Have in Common, and Why They Matter

Terry Gallagher recently contributed the following article to Chief Executive. You can read the full article here

Most successful leaders—those who have consistently increased the size of their businesses and reached the upper echelons of their industries—have similar personality traits, definitions of success and daily habits. Here are 4 qualities all successful CEOs have in common.

1. Their definition of success has evolved with their leadership.

To continuously push themselves to become better leaders, top-performing CEOs reevaluate and revise their metrics for success throughout their career. “Initially, the definition of success for me was focused on my results, my promotions and my increase in compensation,” said Ned Hunter, CEO of Harrington Hoists, a $250 million subsidiary of Kito Group Company. “ As I have matured and evolved in my 30 years of business, my definition now is more about the people in my business…If my people succeed, then I have done my job.”

2. They are committed to intellectual curiosity.

Many CEOs credit their intellectual curiosity for their long-term success. A drive to learn, to improve, and to never become comfortable has propelled their businesses forward. Leading CEOs schedule time each day to read industry news. Jim Reavey, CEO and President of Vixxo, an asset management and business insight company, prioritizes continuous learning: “Self-development is key: never give up learning. Arrogance starts to take over when you think you know everything. You never know where your greatest lesson will come from.”

3. They acknowledge the contributions of others, and they want to return the favor.

Successful CEOs recognize that their mentors, colleagues and employees have bolstered or accelerated their success. “An individual’s success is usually tied to the contributions of others. Forgetting this is a mistake,” said Greg Ergenbright, President of Schindler Elevation Corporation. Many CEOs see “paying it forward” as part of their new mission, especially CEOs who are well into their careers. In the words of Jim Reavey: “I feel a sense of obligation to develop others because of the leadership guidance and coaching I received in my life. Sharing my knowledge, empowering others, and creating deeper relationships is at the forefront of everything I do.”

4. They do what they love, and they encourage others to do the same.

While “passion” has become somewhat of a buzzword, successful CEOs faithfully follow their passion and believe that doing so is the key to their success and happiness. Alan McKim, Chairman and CEO of Clean Harbors, a $3 billion environmental services company, advises young people to make pursuing their passion the first priority.

“My advice for any young person is to determine what you enjoy,” stated McKim. “It’s important to go beyond the paycheck. Where do your passions lie? What will spur you to bring the most energy to your job every day? When you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to define what success means to you and how you can best achieve it.”

Dr. Hanh Cao Yu Joins The California Endowment as Chief Learning Officer

Los Angeles (May 10, 2016) – The California Endowment announced today the appointment of Dr. Hanh Cao Yu as its Chief Learning Officer, an executive position responsible for leading The Endowment’s learning and evaluation activities. The Chief Learning Officer is responsible for learning, evaluation, and impact activities, and ensures that local communities, local and state grantees, board and staff understand the results and lessons of the Foundation’s investments. Ellen Romberg, Partner at Battalia Winston, completed the search.

A nationally-recognized researcher and evaluator, Yu has more than 20 years of leading projects, providing oversight of multi-million dollar budgets and leading cross disciplinary teams. She has partnered with over 40 philanthropic and nonprofit organizations to bring intellectual rigor and strategic recommendations to transform organizations, systems, policies, and communities.

“Dr. Yu has a stellar record leading large-scale evaluations of complex philanthropic initiatives, along with creating and facilitating strong learning communities and knowledge sharing among boards, staff, grantee partners and diverse community members,” said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of The California Endowment. “We are honored to have her join our executive leadership team, as she brings a combination of brilliance and commitment that will benefit our entire organization.”

Prior to her appointment at The California Endowment, Yu served as Vice President at Social Policy Research Associates in Oakland where her responsibilities included setting strategic and budget priorities, developing an organizational learning agenda, providing oversight of external strategic digital communications, staff development and diversity action plan. During her 20-year tenure at Social Policy Research Associates she also served as the Division Director of Philanthropy, Equity and Youth. Yu earned her doctorate at Stanford University in Education Administration and Policy Analysis.

Yu will join The Endowment on July 5, 2016 and will work in the Oakland Office. She will report to Dr. Ross and serve on his Executive Team.


New White Paper – Closing the Gender Gap: How Companies Can Retain Women Engineers

women_in_engineering_white_paper_coverThere’s been a surge in recent press about the lack of women in Engineering/Technology. While many media outlets are exploring this problem, few seem to be going to the source—women in engineering and technology—and asking them for their insight. Understanding this issue at the ground level is the key to improving the representation of women in engineering overall.

We went out into the marketplace and did just that: surveyed women to better understand why women engineers stay with (or leave) their employers. We developed the results of this anonymous survey  into a white paper to help Fortune 1000 companies understand the needs and drivers of women engineers to better attract and retain them.

To read and download the white paper, fill out the form below.

Closing the Gender Gap: How Companies Can Retain Women Engineers

Please provide the following information for instant access to the white paper.

Frank Davidson Joins Peerless Industrial Group as Director of Operations

We are pleased to announce that Frank Davidson has joined Peerless Industrial Group as of January 4, 2016 as Director of Operations. The successful candidate was identified in 9 days and the search was completed in 73 days. The search was conducted by Terry Gallagher, President of Battalia Winston.

Peerless Industrial Group is a $115 million subsidiary of Kito Corporation, which is the largest producer of chain and wire rope hoists in the world with $600 million in global revenues. As Director of Operations, Mr. Davidson reports directly to the President and oversees a staff of 352 employees.

Mr. Davidson has 23 years of progressively responsible global operational leadership success within Aerospace, Semiconductor, and Industrial Capital Equipment manufacturing environments. He has had responsibility for business administration, financial planning, customer service, global supply chain, and logistics management. Most recently, Mr. Davidson was Senior Operations Director at Despatch Industries, a $42 million global leader in high performance industrial ovens and other thermal products, responsible for integrating post-acquisition cultural changes to achieve increased profitability through LEAN production initiatives, sourcing initiatives and 3rd party integration.

Prior to that, Mr. Davidson was VP North America Operations for a $110 million capital equipment manufacturing division of Illinois Tool Works where he established two Regional Centers of Excellence and improved operating income by 12% in 18 months.

Mr. Davidson earned a Masters degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree in Operations Management at Troy State University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude for both degrees.

The Value of a Consensus-Based Search Process for Nonprofits

The following article, authored by Battalia Winston’s CEO and Chairwoman Dale Winston, was originally published in Philanthropy News Digest. 

If the leadership of a nonprofit or association is not on the same page prior to launching a search for a new team member, there’s a high probability the search will go awry. Therefore, it’s essential that everyone involved in the search — directors, members of the search committee, key management expected to work with or report to the new person, etc. — begins the process with an agreed-upon set of requirements and qualifications for the position, general agreement as to prior experience needed for the job, and first-year deliverables.

Recently, my firm, Battalia Winston, was working with a client that found itself in this very predicament. The organization — a nonprofit focused on supporting the arts — had recently hired a CFO who was failing to meet expectations. His failure to deliver as expected was frustrating for everyone across the organization. As soon as my firm was brought in, I realized the newly hired CFO wasn’t meeting the organization’s objectives for the position simply because they had never been clearly established or communicated to him.

I see this a great deal when recruiting new leadership for mature nonprofit organizations. In many cases, the incumbent leader has been with the organization for many years, even decades. When a long-time leader retires, the role he or she has been playing may be dramatically different than what the organization now requires. Or, the incumbent’s position may have evolved so much over time that it is difficult for anyone but the incumbent to fully describe it, much less be able to wear all those hats. Without a clear understanding of the role as it has been performed, each person involved in the search process tends to develop his or her own opinion about the ideal candidate and vets candidates against those criteria.

To help nonprofits avoid such situations, Battalia Winston has developed a unique service, the Consensus Based Search Process, that eliminates potential roadblocks to a successful search process, establishes clear expectations for all parties, and helps to ensure a smoother recruitment effort.

First, we gather all decision makers together for a facilitation meeting. The sixty- to ninety-minute meeting is designed to help the group come to an agreement on the critical requirements of the search. (Even if your organization is not using an executive search firm, it is important that a third party leads the process to ensure its objectivity and neutrality.)

During the facilitation meeting, we ask each committee member to write down his or her understanding of:

  • day-to-day responsibilities of the position;
  • key qualifications candidates must have to be considered; and
  • year-one objectives and deliverables.

Then, each team member is asked to read his or her responses aloud. We write all the responses on a white board so that everyone can see the common themes. The session allows search committee members to express their thoughts and concerns while moving toward common ground regarding the essential criteria for a successful candidate.

The process is simple and highly effective. We focus the group on the three most important elements of the position, thereby avoiding meandering conversations that may or may not lead to consensus. The process also quickly identifies outlier opinions and serves to encourage dialogue between members of the group so that each member understands the perspective of the others.

After discussing common themes and excising the outlier opinions, we evaluate and prioritize the remaining metrics.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a clear, agreed-upon set of specifications has been established for the search. This is helpful to us, the recruiters, because it provides a clear mandate. For the search committee, it provides a clear set of criteria by which to evaluate candidates as they move through the interview process. And for the candidates, it provides clarity regarding expectations and deliverables.

There are many risks associated with a misdirected search effort. Without clearly defined expectations and benchmarks, nonprofits risk losing qualified candidates. Internal conflict and a lack of agreement and understanding between search committee members also can lead to unnecessary rounds of interviews and drawn-out searches — an incredibly frustrating process for candidates that can hurt an organization’s reputation. To protect your organization’s brand and ensure that it is positioned to secure top talent, you should begin with a consensus-building process.


Mark Livingston, CPA Joins Harrington Hoists

Battalia Winston is pleased to announce that Mark Livingstong, CPA has joined Harrington Hoists as of January 4, 2016. Terry Gallagher completed the search.

Harrington Hoists, Inc., a $250 million subsidiary of Kito Group Company, which is the largest producer of chain and wire rope hoists in the world with $600 million in revenues is located in Manheim, PA and Corona, CA.

 Mr. Livingston has over 15 years of financial management experience including Big 4 public accounting background. For the first 10 years of his career, Mr. Livingston worked for E&Y and Harsco, a $3 billion global industry company.

Prior to accepting this Corporate Controller role, Mr. Livingston was the VP of Finance / Controller at Cooper-Booth Wholesale, a $500 million wholesale distributor, where he led a team of 7, engaged in collections, A/R, A/P, payroll, G/GL, accounting and reporting services. He also served as Finance Manager at Rentokil North America, a $500 million + pest control service company, for seven years, managing the annual budgets and the monthly forecasts for 200 branches and cost centers.

Mr. Livingston earned an MBA from Pennsylvania State University and an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Economics at Shippensburg University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He has an active C.P.A. license, is a Member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

Battalia Winston Completes Search for W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Battalia Winston Executive Search is proud to announce that Dr. Anitra N. Manning was selected and has started her new position at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation as Talent and Human Resources Manager, Talent Development. Battalia Winston Partner Ellen Romberg completed the search.

Anitra has served as a leadership development executive across sectors for over 15 years. She has led fortune 500 and non-profit organizations in conceptualizing and implementing leadership and learning programs through the integration of innovative solutions, platforms and on the job sustainability approaches. She was most recently the first vice president and business learning strategist lead for SunTrust Banks, Inc. in Atlanta. Prior to this she was a leadership development consultant with Bayer CropScience, director, strategic partnerships at the YWCA of the Greater Triangle, founding director for Meredith College’s Institute for Women’s Leadership and leadership development consultant with Girl Scouts of the USA, National Learning Services.

Anitra received her Doctorate of Education in higher education management from the University of Pittsburgh, her master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampton University.