Visit us at:

In The Know
A Human Resources Industry Newsletter

Valerie Frederickson & Company 

A Letter from Valerie

That Sleep Thing

Dear Friends,

Now that the Harlem Shake has passed, the two topics of conversation I hear most are “is the economy going to fall apart because of the Sequester,” and “how much sleep do you get or not get.” After explaining to my parents in detail why I’m not worried about the economy falling like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, even in Italy, and that businesses are resilient enough to weather the storm, I’m left with the second topic du jour. Personally, I’d rather hear people talk about sleep than politics any day, although political infighting on CSPAN is enough to make anyone go to sleep.

Any conversation about sleep is much more fun than a discussion on the current state of the economy, and it is definitely a topic everyone can relate to. The melodies and riffs are endless: how much you need, how little you get, and what heroes HR executives are with their late night Asia calls and early morning Europe ones. And, for the parents, the bragging rights about how well their kids sleep, or in my case, telling horror stories about how poorly mine do. There’s also the demographic and health discussions: middle-aged people going on vacation and doing nothing but sleeping, young people going on vacation and never sleeping, employees not sleeping well because of being sick or getting sick because of not sleeping well. I listen because I think I fall into almost all those categories and right now, sleep, or the lack of it, is a major issue in my life.

I heard a funny story about sleep last week from a retired global money manager friend. He’d been asked to manage money a couple of times and always turned it down because he’d have to travel to New York City on a moments’ notice and work really long hours. The last opportunity he turned down spooked him when a Senior Partner said, “Son, we’ve got a deal except for one thing. You can stop doing that ‘sleep’ thing.” As my friend explained, this guy made a big deal about how he always had breakfast and dinner with his family when he was in town, except that he was almost never in town. After dinner, he did emails from around 10 pm to 2 am, and then again from 5 to 7:30 am. So he slept around two or three hours a night. The end of the story is that he died at the age of 49. My friend is still alive and sleeping through the night. He doesn’t even send emails after hours. He does this old-fashioned thing called using the phone.

What’s your deal with sleep? And do you remember that 90’s question corporate salesmen would always ask: “What’s keeping you up at night?” That got squashed the first time a macho executive responded back with “nothing.”

This month I’d like to thank Jeff Ryan, SVP of HR at CBS Interactive for his friendship and referrals. Merci beaucoup, Jeff.

Back to top

Ask Valerie

To submit your most daunting HR questions, email us at or visit us on Quora.

QWhat is the single most important factor that you think makes or breaks a job interview?

For candidates, leaning in with eye contact and asking great questions, showing that you are really interested. For employers, coming across as professional and well organized.

QHow can anyone keep track of hiring practices in multiple countries simultaneously? It seems impossible.

It’s a memory game and you focus on memorizing the most relevant countries and then have online resources, manuals from law firms, and country-specific vendors you can go to for the rest.

Back to top

Current Executive Searches

HR Executive Searches

Featured Executive Search

The world's most important social media employer is taking things to the next level and hiring their first Head of Diversity to lead global diversity efforts including having the chance to create the overall vision and evolve the diversity and inclusion strategies. Ideal candidates have 10+ years of experience in HR, strategy consulting, or employment branding/advertising along with experience in full spectrum recruitment and general management. This is a global position based at the client's beautiful headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. Submit Your Profile

Recently public, rapidly growing clean tech company needs a VPHR to partner with the CEO and executive team on the human resources strategy. This person will be an expert at organizational design and development, leadership development and total rewards. This role will oversee and further develop a small team of high performing HR professionals. The ideal candidate will have worked in large, global tech companies as well as small organizations going through major change. Previous board experience is required. Submit Your Profile

PE-funded financial software company with an admirable customer list of top players, needs its first VP of HR to lead global people strategies as it continues its growth trajectory. This new executive will partner with a multi-nationally-based C-level team to refine corporate culture, assist with strategic planning and org design, and build scalable HR infrastructure. The ideal candidate has a background in growth, experience with taking a startup (or several) through IPO's, European expertise, and is excited to get in on the ground floor of one of the most talked-about companies at the forefront of the financial software revolution. Headquartered in Paris and New York. Fluency in French preferred. Submit Your Profile

A very hot mobile gaming company is seeking a VPHR to lead the entire HR function including working with the board of directors (company is public), partnering with and supporting the executive team, and taking the responsibility for all facets of HR, including talent acquisition and talent management, total rewards, leadership development, and communications. Candidates can be either very experienced or first time VPHR's. A love of gaming plus experience working with a youthful employee base in desired. Submit Your Profile

A VC-funded online e-commerce company, lauded by magazines worldwide, needs their first VPHR to lead HR for their 400-strong mix of creative staff and technical engineers. Partnering closely with one of the most well-recognized young entrepreneur/CEO's, this role will play an integral part in creating the foundation for a strategic HR function and leading the company through a cultural transformation. The ideal candidate should have extensive experience in all HR with particular strengths in OD, talent management, and C-level leadership coaching and mentoring. Submit Your Profile

A leading digital media advertising software company needs their first Head of Human Resources to build scalable HR systems as they embark on a rapid global expansion, most notably into the European and Asian markets. This role will assess the current HR infrastructure and revamp or rebuild systems and processes to handle a dramatic increase in headcount over the next 18 months. The ideal candidate has led HR for a company with international presence (specifically, India), enjoys tackling the challenges that arise from a chaotic startup environment, and is super hands-on with a very young HR team. Prefer someone who has experience and models for building a one-culture company where engineering and media are the major groups. Experience leading a company through its IPO a major plus. Submit Your Profile

An extremely successful leader in the SaaS, enterprise, cloud space, specializing in business phone systems for the mobile world, needs their first VPHR to lead them through an IPO. Partnering closely with the driven, caring, and highly-entrepreneurial founder and leadership team, this individual will create a scalable talent management strategy and implement all required systems to support future growth. The ideal candidate is a confident, collaborative, thoughtful and direct leader who can build and manage the company's first strategic HR function to support 1,300+ employees globally. Prior experience with implementing recruiting, compensation, strategic planning, and performance management initiatives at tech companies is a huge plus. Prefer successful ramp-up at leading software company, including through an IPO. Submit Your Profile

Publicly-held, highly innovative B2B SaaS company needs a VPHR who will further develop the HR function into a scalable, global, best-in-class organization. With their recent IPO, this HR leader will be able to plan the talent, cultural, and organizational challenges the company will face during this time of transformation and growth, and create a work environment that is both appealing and market-competitive to potential new hires. In addition to helping to develop a hard driving, fun culture, the person in this role will continue to develop a proactive talent acquisition function as well as robust talent management systems and programs. The ideal candidate will be a highly professional, ethical, and energetic leader who has the ability to communicate effectively to every board member, executive, and employee. Submit Your Profile

One of the most-talked-about social media companies in the world needs a Head of Talent Acquisition to come in with fresh ideas on recruiting top engineering talent in the "tight" San Francisco/Silicon Valley market. Reporting into the SVPHR, managing an existing high functioning team, and partnering closely with hiring managers across the functions, this role will essentially "rethink" the entire talent acquisition function, with a focus on developing solid pipelines to augment the current bench strength. The ideal candidate will be an experienced TA executive, ready to take the next step in their career, with a background in talent acquisition design and strategic planning for a tech startup or having led a strategic TA function for an engineering division within a larger corporation. International experience is strongly preferred. Submit Your Profile

A rapidly-growing, VC-funded human capital internet services company with approximately 350 RFT and contract employees needs its first Head of HR to partner with the highly sophisticated and evolved executive team. This company's CEO is a huge fan of HR and is very empowering and engaging. The role will build out scalable HR infrastructure for continued growth with an eye towards an IPO in the next year. The ideal candidate will be an up-and-coming HR superstar with hands-on experience creating HR from scratch at a startup tech company. Submit Your Profile

The leading global Electronics Manufacturing Services provider with approximately 200,000 employees seeks an experienced compensation executive to lead the US compensation function, reporting into the Vice President of Total Rewards. This position is open due to internal promotion. Manage and lead the Company's compensation philosophies within the US aligning pay-for-performance philosophy with business objectives. Design plans that are aligned with the business objectives and talent strategy, while ensuring the achievement of consistent and market-driven levels of compensation. Experience with global compensation is a plus, along with the drive and ambition to succeed and be promoted. Submit Your Profile

The leading global Electronics Manufacturing Services provider with approximately 200,000 employees seeks an experienced benefits executive to manage programs contributing to the attraction, retention, and welfare of the employee population. This position is open due to internal promotion. Manage and lead Benefits programs and initiatives with a team of experienced professionals. Design programs to enhance the Company's overall employee-facing initiatives. Experience with global benefits a plus. Submit Your Profile

The largest social networking company needs a business-focused HR leader to support the deeply-technical, business-minded engineers that make up two critical, rapidly-growing groups within their infrastructure team. The ideal candidate is a strategic-minded up-and-comer with a strong business focus and an intuitive knack at empathizing and building genuine, trust-based relationships with senior leaders, managers, and engineers alike. This role will focus on coaching and leadership development, talent management and retention, and employee relations. Financial acumen and exposure to a global environment a plus! Submit Your Profile

The largest social networking company needs an up-and-coming business leader to support their cutting-edge legal and global marketing teams in HR and team dynamics. The ideal candidate is flexible, creative and proactive, with the ability to roll up their sleeves to handle the day-to-day challenges that arise in a fast-paced environment geared towards innovation. This role will partner directly with several high-profile, influential members of the leadership team in global organizational assessment and design, talent management, succession planning, and first-time manager coaching. Prior experience in sales and marketing preferred. Submit Your Profile

Internal VF&Co Searches

HR Contract Opportunities

We are looking for strong HR generalists and BP's who have prior start-up experience (or are just super tech savvy) to provide interim and consulting help to the portfolio companies of our VC clients. Submit Your Profile

As companies make business changes, the need to be able to make rapid, humane changes to the workforce continues. We're looking for experienced, empathic, results-oriented career transition consultants who are ICCI-certified and have the bandwidth for additional clientele. Submit Your Profile

We are looking for consultants who are super strategic but can also roll up their sleeves and dive in, respond quickly and concisely to client inquiries, think proactively, know when to push back, and are all-around authoritative yet super easy to work with. Submit Your Profile

As companies look to expand their leadership development initiatives, we are adding to our internal executive coaching team. Prior experience working with multi-cultural teams a plus! Submit Your Profile

With the world economy picking up, many companies are looking to expand into new markets, particularly in Asia and South America. And, thus, we are looking for executives who have prior experience working in and who are interested in consulting to companies who are building their presence in these locations. Submit Your Profile

Back to top

HR Consultant & Contractor's Corner

Our hottest global HR contracting and consulting assignments include:

  • Interim Head of HR assignments with pre-IPO companies in software analytics and digital advertising
  • Providing Venture Capital and Private Equity firms with on-demand HR and compensation consulting for their portfolio companies
  • Complete revamp of the talent acquisition function for one of the fastest-growing financial services companies in the U.S.
  • Comprehensive review of compensation programs for hot post-IPO tech companies, including benchmarking and redesigning of short and long-term incentive plans (multiple)
  • Upgrading the HR function for a private, billion-dollar EMEA company planning a headquarter shift to the United States
  • Working an executive team through a strategic planning process which will end with a major shift in market and a physical move
  • Executive leadership mentoring and “on call” support for HR managers at multiple start-up companies in tech hubs that include San Francisco, Silicon Valley and New York
  • Customized outplacement projects for several companies in the midst of restructuring or integrating acquisitions to include planning, take-out notifications, coaching, job development, mock interviews, and resume consultation

Back to top

HR Events

GOHR West 2013
April 22-23, 2013 – Oakland Convention Centre, Oakland, CA

GOHR Star LA 2013
March 20, 2013 – LA Convention Centre, Los Angeles, CA

Back to top

Spotlight on...

The Do-It-Yourself Outplacement Guide

Updated February 2013

Email for your free copy.

Back to top

About VF&Co

Valerie Frederickson & Company (VF&Co) is a human resource executive search, HR consulting and corporate outplacement firm known for helping clients build and sustain winning teams in today´s rapidly changing marketplace. Since 1995, VF&Co specializes in creating customized solutions to meet an organization´s human resource needs at every stage and size from start–up to Global 500.

Outplacement Practice

Re–evaluating your outplacement vendors? Require a higher utilization rate for your outplacement dollar? Need higher touch services and consistency across all markets? Since 1995, VF&Co is the outplacement firm of choice for sophisticated corporate buyers. Join the numerous Fortune 500 employers and small firms who have selected us over their previous vendor and are now enjoying the best of both worlds: each employee well taken care of, and consistency in every city.

Price shopping or need to customize a program? Contact our Corporate Outplacement Team at 650-614-0220 or email them at for more information on our outplacement services.

HR Consulting Practice

With the dramatic increase of global technology outsourcing and the continued geographic dispersion of corporate teams, the need for international human resources strategy, design, and project implementation has increased. Our global team of HR consultants has the specialized skills and breadth of expertise to develop and lead your initiatives—saving you time, money, and resources. We can manage the international recruiting function, help you hire key local managers or an entire startup team in an overseas market, and establish HR systems for global expansion.

Why clients choose VF&Co:

  • Results-driven, value-oriented. To keep your HR programs in line with your corporate direction, we provide HR strategy, cost-effective HR infrastructure, and pragmatic HR advice across all critical areas of human resource management.
  • Any size, any stage. We draw upon years of experience with startups, midsize firms and large global enterprises to guide our clients strategically through any stage of growth.
  • Work smarter, not harder. In survey after survey, CEO's say the number-one issue keeping them up at night is "people problems." We help you solve them so that you can get back to focusing on your business.

Contact our HR Consulting Team at 650.614.0220 or email them at for more information on our HR consulting services

Executive Search Practice

Why clients choose VF&Co as their human resources-specialized executive search firm:

  • Prompt results. The average time from start of search to presentation of the winning HR candidate is 21 days. 50% of HR searches are completed in less than 45 days.
  • Superior results. More than 95% of HR executives placed by VF&Co are still with their companies five years following placement.
  • High client satisfaction. More than 90% of the firm's work is either repeat business or from referrals. A number of clients have been with VF&Co for more than a decade.

You get:

  • Access to the best global human resources executive talent available through extensive networks built upon long–term relationships with U.S. and global executives
  • Customized HR executive search solutions that fit your goals, budget and timeline
  • Interim HR management during the search process, followed by an assimilation period to ensure a smooth transition

Interim HR management during the search process, followed by an assimilation period to ensure a smooth transition Contact our human resources executive search team at 650.614.0220 or email us at to learn how your organization can reap the benefits VF&Co can deliver: Improved performance and greater success through your most valuable asset—your people.

Diversity Statement

VF&Co welcomes and encourages all diversity candidates to contact us directly. We highly value the diversity of our VF&Co team, placement of diverse executives into our client companies and our diverse clients, candidates, and supplier partnerships. We want to help swing the pendulum the other way.

About Our Newsletter

The VF&Co newsletter, "VF&Co In the Know," and VF&Co Executive Search Update are the intellectual property of Valerie Frederickson & Company. They are a free resource to business professionals. To subscribe to this newsletter, email

Back to top