Small Business Award winner spotlight: Pekarsky & Co.
This October, during Small Business Week presented by TELUS Business, Pekarsky & Co. took home the top prize. After nearly 15 years in business, and now expanding across Canada, the independently owned executive search firm won the connectFIRST Credit Union Small Business of the Year Award. The team at Pekarsky & Co. has learned that storytelling and building community are the keys to their success and their clients’ success.
Building brand and building community
Ranju Shergill, Partner and Executive Recruiter for Pekarsky & Co. in Calgary, believes the organization stands out from other recruitment firms for a few reasons.
“Our work is all about building strong organizations with exceptional leaders. That means we work with our clients to really understand their business, culture and workforce,” says Ranju. “Understanding their objectives and recruitment needs allows us to go out into the market to find those exceptional candidates who will continue to provide value in their roles for years to come. It’s not just a transactional business; it’s building relationships with our community.”
“These placements that we work on are for executive teams, board positions and across all industries. It’s all about building stronger teams which enables organizations to grow and develop stronger culture, which leads to stronger communities,” notes Ranju. “At the end of the day, you could say we are connectors and, ultimately, we are making our communitywhere we work, a better place to live and prosper.”
“Our tagline is ‘we know people,’ people who make Calgary their home and contribute towards Alberta’s economic growth,” she adds.
Cameron McDonald, who recently celebrated becoming an equity partner at Pekarsky & Co., also shared some ideas on what makes the company unique.
“We have a commitment to and immense pride in supporting and giving back to our community. While we serve clients across the country, including from our office in Toronto, we are deeply rooted in the community here in Calgary,” he says. “Our team collectively brings about 100 years of experience in executive search. Above all else, we all give back relentlessly to the community in which we all take pride in, both as a firm and as individuals. I truly believe the firm and its people exemplify what it means to be Calgarian.”
Stumbling into executive search
When beginning a career in executive recruitment, Ranju says “there is no Bachelor of Executive Search.”
“Everyone comes from it, usually from a different career. People who switch over to executive search really want to help people and, for me, the inspiration I get out of my work is the satisfaction that I’ve helped people in their careers,” says Ranju. “Whether it’s listening to a client about what they need and getting them to think outside the box and consider great candidates who may not be right on spec, but will bring great value to their business, or finding the perfect candidate for clients, I love playing a part in making the lives of people better and helping them in their careers and organizations.”
Cameron echoes Ranju’s idea that most people do not choose executive search or recruitment as a career, using his own experience as an example.
“I started in the industry by chance. I sought a career that blended people, sales, business and advising and I stumbled into search, but I am one of the few who has been in search for my entire career,” he says. “Frankly, I love search. It’s challenging. There is a stigma that it’s just about coffees and luncheons, but there is a lot more time spent researching clients and candidates and developing that trusted advisor relationship to truly make an impact on individuals and the success of an organization.”
“The work is never dull. There is always something new and always something different to look forward to,” he adds.
Contributing to Calgary’s ecosystem
Pekarsky & Co. is expanding as their revenues grow, along with their clients across the country. Ranju noted that Cameron recently becoming the third equity partner at the firm is an exciting milestone for the firm and its future growth plans, which are created to follow the trends of the business economy in Calgary.
“Right now, we are experiencing some positive economic energy in Calgary and we are well positioned for that,” says Ranju. “We have a strong team in Calgary and Toronto, we remain one of Alberta’s largest local independent firms and we’re proud to remain a leader through all the economic cycles Calgary faces, good or bad.”
The company’s growth is not just focused on the short-term. “We intend to continue to grow, just as we help our clients do and we are fortunate enough to expand our work across Canada,” she adds. “As long as we feel that we are helping people, communities and businesses, we will continue to build our networks and expand into new markets. It’s all a function of the work we do and what our clients need.”
When it comes to taking home the connectFIRST Credit Union Small Business of the Year Award, Cameron says the recognition feels terrific.
“We know that Calgary is a city of leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and pioneers, so to be recognized as a contributor to this strong fabric is truly amazing,” he says. “It was truly humbling and exciting—a very proud moment in the history of our firm.”
“It’s an achievement for what we value, which is the importance of community,” adds Ranju.
“This recognition means that our community gets what really matters to us,” she says. “We don’t advertise widely; we keep our heads down and do good work to maintain good relationships in the community. This award is very meaningful to our team as it shows that our work is being noticed and it’s respected more broadly in Calgary’s business community.”
“We are a strong team with great clients and great supporters. We are in a strong position in Calgary’s business community because of our network and partnership in the community,” says Ranju. “We give back to the community through sponsorships, donations, volunteering on boards and spending in the community—it’s all to build Calgary’s economic growth. We feel we are a true partner and that’s why this award is so meaningful to us because it shows that our community gets what we are all about.”